Philip Hammond, Britain's secretary of state for defense, said Thursday he was eager to take delivery of the UK's first F-35 Joint Strike fighter.
During the delivery ceremony at Lockheed Martin, Hammond noted that he had been presented with a model F-35 on Wednesday by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “I felt a bit shortchanged for the cost,” Hammond said, jokingly referring to Britain’s $2 billion-plus investment in the program.
Hammond said the UK remains “fully committed to the JSF program” despite delays and rising cost estimates. “The Lightning II will provide us with a flexible capability that will out perform anything we’ve been able to put in the field before.”