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PM misses out as F-35 fighter jets remain grounded

Prime Minister David Cameron had been due to see the new American-built F-35 fighter aircrafts at the Farnborough International Airshow before their clearance was embarrassingly halted after a fire in Florida last month.

A full scale model of a Lockheed Martin F-35, billed as the world's most advanced fighter jet. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The grounding meant the jet was also unable to appear when the Queen named the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth earlier this month, and missed a military tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire this weekend.

A spokesman for the Farnborough event said officials were "hopeful the F-35 will fly at the airshow by the end of the week".

Boeing and Airbus to lead Farnborough plane displays

This year's flying display at Farnborough, last held in 2012, will celebrate 100 years of aviation. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

Boeing and Airbus will show off rival aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow, while vying for orders to supply passenger planes over the coming decades.

Boeing will present the new 787-9 Dreamliner passenger aircraft, along with the P-8A, a military derivative of the Boeing 737-800.

Airbus will display the world's largest passenger plane, the A380 superjumbo, as well as the extra-wide bodied A350 XWB.

There will also be an announcement at Farnborough this week of a list of eight possible locations across the UK for the first British spaceport, which is hoped to be opened by 2018.


PM: 'We can't defend realm from white cliffs of Dover'

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the £1.1 billion military investment announced today will deal with global terrorism and cyber criminals rather than old-fashioned notions of border defence.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said:

Today's investment demonstrates our approach to national security. There are those who believe we would be safer if we fundamentally retreated from the world. They see new warships and military investment and imagine a Government bent on foreign adventurism.

But the plain fact is that in the 21st century, you cannot defend the realm from the white cliffs of Dover. Terrorist plots hatched thousands of miles away threaten to cause harm on our streets. When fragile and lawless states fracture, migration flows can affect us right here.

Cameron: Modern armed forces technology 'vital'

Cutting edge technology is "vital" to the future of the UK and the armed forces, David Cameron will say.

The Prime Minister is expected to emphasise the role defence technology plays in the UK economy in a speech in Farnborough later today:

Having modern, technologically advanced and flexible Armed Forces to protect us and our interests is vital.

Because of the difficult decisions we have taken to tackle the deficit we are able to make these vital investments in our defence capabilities.

We are also taking action to sustain our thriving defence industry, as part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for hardworking people.

– David Cameron

Govt to establish 'defence solutions centre'

A Government-backed Defence Solutions Centre, which will develop technologies for the global defence market, will be built in Farnborough, the Prime Minister will say.

David Cameron is expected to also announce:

  • The launching of a £4 million UK Centre Maritime Intelligent Systems based in Portsmouth.
  • The Government hopes to bring together industry and the Local Enterprise Partnership to develop cutting-edge naval technology, such as autonomous unmanned boats.
  • Building skills for the future through a new Defence Apprenticeship Trailblazer to attract new graduates to the Industry as well as up-skilling the existing workforce.

Armed forces to get £1.1 billion cash injection

The Government will invest £1.1 billion in new equipment for the armed forces, it has emerged.

HMS Protector leaves Portsmouth for double deployment to the frozen continent of Antarctic Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will allocate £800 million to an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance package, designed to improve the armed forces counter-terrorism response.

The remaining £300 million will go towards a new E-Scan radar for Typhoon and the purchase of Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector, the MoD said.

The Prime Minister will set out future plans for the armed forces on a visit to Farnborough International Airshow later today.

Developments announced by David Cameron are part of the Defence Growth Partnership, designed to boost the economy and properly equip the army, navy and air force.


RAF probes images of serviceman 'posing with Taliban body'

The RAF has launched an investigation after photographs emerged appearing to show a British serviceman giving a thumbs-up sign while posing with the dead body of a Taliban soldier.

The images, which originally appeared on the website Live Leak, were taken in Afghanistan following a 2012 militant attack on the British military base Camp Bastion.

Army chief sets key issue for review on women's roles

General Sir Peter Wall, who will lead the armed forces review into whether to lift the ban on women serving in combat roles, has said the key issue in determining the outcome would be the "delivery of operational effectiveness".

Chief of the General Staff Sir Peter Wall has said the Army should "seriously consider" lifting its ban on women serving in combat roles. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The review into whether to lift the bar on women joining the infantry and the Royal Armoured Corps was brought forward by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

The Ministry of Defence had been required to review its existing policy on the deployment of women by 2018 under EU equality laws.

Dannatt: Front line violence 'not right place' for women

The former head of the Army, Lord Dannatt, has told ITV News he believes female soldiers should not be allowed to serve in front line roles.

Gen Dannatt, who led the Army from 2006 to 2009, said combat situations in which units attack with "violence, bayonets and machine guns" are "not the right place" for women to be.

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