asked Her Majesty's Government:
What impact the proposed changes in the way the prime contractor charges the F-35 joint programme office are expected to have upon (a) the United Kingdom contribution to the programme; and (b) the unit cost of F-35B aircraft for the Armed Forces. [HL5317]
The UK position is that we have an incremental acquisition strategy where we will seek approval to purchase Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) at key points in the JSF programme consistent with technical maturity and affordability. The next decision for the purchase of three aircraft to facilitate participation in the operational test and evaluation of JSF in the USA is currently planned for January 2009. Unit production costs for JSF are dependent on the number and timing of aircraft purchases for all partner nations and the delivery profile.