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12:17 PM, November 20, 2018
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Britain to Build Infrastructure for Two Squadrons of USAF F-35 Fighter Jets
F-35 Lightning II fighter jet

The British Ministry of Defense has awarded $205.7 million to Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to build infrastructure at RAF Lakenheath for two squadrons of the United States F-35 fighter jets.

Work would include construction of a flight simulator, maintenance facilities, new hangers and warehousing. The contract is the first in a new $1 billion plus program of military construction in support of US-British Air Force operations over the next decade, the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement Monday.

Lakenheath would be the first permanent airbase for US Air Force F-35s in Europe, which is home to the 48th Fighter Wing flying the F-15 Eagle. The flight simulator to be constructed will network with other simulators in Britain and the United States, allowing F-35 pilots from both countries to train against each other.

Britain has received its first F-35Bs for testing and plans to purchase 138 of the vertical takeoff and landing versions of the plane for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Lockheed Martin says 15 percent of components for the more than 3,000 F-35s planned to be built will be made in Britain.

The British F-35Bs will operate off the new Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carriers and air bases, including Lakenheath alongside the U.S. F-35s slated to start arriving in 2021.

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