The Ministry Of Defence have asked the UK branch of RAND to investigate the desirability of establishing a UK (BAE) production line for RAF and RN
Until now, the plan has been to have only the LM
line, but concerns about delivery rates needed from 2010 onwards and the inevitable changes to UK F-35s have caused a re-think.
Supporting the aircraft, with these mods, is a major concern over the decades of service.
have taken BAE's advanced production line technology, developed for the Eurofighter, for the F-35 programme, so not as difficult to set up as you might think.
This is a major part of UK investment in F-35, along with the avionics, airframe components, and R/R's work on the engine for the STOVL version.
Although some 150 aircraft are currently planned for the UK, the F-35C must be a front runner for at least part (the manned part) of the programme to replace the Tornado GR
.4 from 2018 onwards. This could add another 100 or so aircraft to the UK requirement.
Of course, if the F-35B is dumped by the DoD, the UK will be getting F-35C's by default.