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Defence Defence

Deliver new equipment for the Royal Air Force

Last updated: 11:50pm 30 December 2018

The Royal Air Force will receive, with the Fleet Air Arm, the Lightning II strike fighter, as well as new Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.42

Our verdict

From the wording in the manifesto you’ll see this is a promise to deliver the Lightning II strike fighter and new Maritime Patrol Aircraft to the air force. Two quotes from the manifesto explain the existence of this policy:

“As a global power, we have a responsibility to sustain our fine armed forces so that they can defend the realm, our overseas territories and our interests around the globe”

“We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO”

After pensions, benefits, health and education, defence is the largest area of government spending. This policy forms part of a commitment to undertake “the largest programme of investment in our armed forces for generations”.

So what has changed since this government came to power?

Four F-35B Lightning II aircraft have been delivered, reviving the ability to conduct military operations from aircraft carriers.

Additionally, in July 2017 it was announced that nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft, designed for anti-submarine combat, and surveillance and rescue operations, would be operational by 2020. In April 2018, the Defence Secretary cut the first turf on a new facility for the aircraft and the government reiterated that the operating capability of the new Poseidon fleet would be available in the UK in 2020.

This policy is ‘in progress’. However, as the manifesto pledged that all the aircraft would be “received”, before we can move it to ‘done’, we’ll be looking for the delivery of the nine P-8A Poseidon planes. Follow this policy for the latest developments.

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