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Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Joint Strike Fighter aircraft his Department plans to purchase in the next five years. (279936)

The procurement process for the Joint Strike Fighter remains at a very early stage. We have not taken the final investment decision and at this stage cannot, therefore, confirm overall numbers or the in-service date. The first investment decision was announced by the Secretary of State on 18 March 2009, Official Report, column 53WS. The decision enables the UK to conduct, alongside the US, a joint Initial Operational Test and Evaluation programme and entails the acquisition of three aircraft, provision of training equipment and support during the trials and a further two years contributions to the Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2006. Subject to successful testing, we plan to buy further production aircraft incrementally to build up to Initial and then Full Operating Capability.