Pentagon leaders are deciding whether to allow the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to make its international air show debut this summer outside London at the Farnborough Air Show and the Royal International Air Tattoo, according to a Reuters report.
Defense analysts expect Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to green light a summer trip to London for the F-35 in order to demonstrate to allies the potential capabilities of the stealth jet. South Korea is expected to sign a $6.8 billion contract to buy 40 F-35s.
Allowing Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor building the F-35, to showcase the fifth generation fighter outside London could build support for the coalition of nations already on track to buy F-35s. Canada and Denmark are reported re-evaluating how many F-35s, if any, these U.S. allies might buy, according to the Reuters report.
The F-35B is the likely model that would be displayed. Three F-35Bs have already been built for the British.
The F-35’s performance at Farnborough would be a boon to the international air show circuit. Last year, the U.S. left their fighter jets at home during the Paris Air Show because of budget cuts connected to sequestration. America’s absence allowed Russia to steal the show as Su-35 performances dominated the headlines for the week.
Farnborough and Paris are the top European air shows. The shows rotate every other year so neither one falls on the same year. This year’s Farnborough Air Show will be July 14-20. Military.com will have a team on site to witness the potential F-35 performances first hand for Defense Tech and the rest of Miltiary.com’s properties.