RUSI JournalVolume 157Issue 6members only

The Future of UK Carrier Strike: The Strategic Implications of the F-35 Variant Decision


The UK's decision to choose the F-35B variant of the Lightning II may have saddled the military with a more expensive, less effective platform.

The British government’s decision to re-adopt the short take-off, vertical landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II (the F-35B) was justified on the basis that it would provide sufficient capability and a through-life cost saving over the other variants. Fresh analysis of the evidence reveals that, in fact, the adoption of the F-35B carries with it significant risks of increased lifetime costs, decreased capability, operational difficulties and, in the long term, saddling the

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