Defence Minister Philip Dunne has visited the US to see first-hand the closeness of the UK-US collaboration on key defence programmes.
In an indication of the strength of our bi-lateral relationship with the US, the Minister joined US Deputy Defence Secretary Bob Work on a programme of visits in the south-east of the country.
The Minister visited the US Marine Corp Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina where he met with RAF and Royal Navy personnel who are training on the new F-35B Lightning aircraft. As partners on the F-35 programme, the UK is working closely with the US. This allows UK personnel to train and learn alongside the US which was the first country to reach Initial Operating Capability in summer 2015.
The F-35B Lightning is a 5th generation multi-role combat aircraft with advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology. Operating from land bases and our Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers, it will deliver a cutting-edge capability for the UK. Members of 617 Squadron, the RAF’s first F-35B Lightning Squadron, were able to show Mr Dunne around the aircraft and the training they have been doing.
Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:
“This has been an excellent opportunity to see at first-hand how closely UK and US Armed Forces work together, and to discuss with Deputy Secretary Work how we can take that even further. The ability of British and American military personnel to work so well together, with common approaches, common understanding and, where appropriate, common capabilities is vital to both our nations’ security.”