FARNBOROUGH, England, 15 July 2014. The F-35 Lightning II’s presence at Farnborough International Airshow 2014 (FIA14) marks a unique aviation first with the aircraft’s Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) predecessor, the Sea Harrier, also present at the show.
“The Harrier has played a distinct role in modern aviation history, a hero of the Falklands War and a superb example of aviation technology,” says Farnborough International Ltd. Chief Executive Shaun Ormrod. “The opportunity to see the last and next generation of vertical thrust aircraft at the same venue marks a milestone in aviation history.”
The F-35 Lightning II made its international debut in the U.K. this week at FIA2014 and RIAT.
The decision to fly the combat aircraft outside of the United States for the first time, following discussions between U.K. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, is a demonstration of the progress with the Lightning II program, whereas the selection of two U.K. airshows demonstrates the significant role that Britain has in the program, officials say. Approximately 15 percent of every aircraft is built in the U.K., according to a spokesperson.
“The US and the UK have worked closely together on the F-35 project from the beginning. We are the only country that is a first tier partner in the project, which is sustaining tens of thousands of jobs in the UK. This fifth generation stealth combat aircraft will be a major boost to British combat air power and it is entirely fitting that the F-35’s first stop outside the United States will be in the UK,” says Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
The F-35 is making demonstration flights at both the trade show and the public weekend. The Sea Harrier comes to show from the Spanish Navy.