via The Guardian
The MoD has been struggling to find the money for planes for the two aircraft carriers. Anything less than at least 20 planes for each carrier would be viewed at Westminster as a political embarrassment.And the hits just keep on coming.
The way around this for the MoD is to stress that only one carrier is likely to be operational at any time, with the other being used for training or being refitted, so planes would only be needed for one.
The MoD originally wanted 138, then slashed it to 48. The plan is to buy an initial 16 F-35s and reassess the position when the carriers are in service.
Initial buy of 16 and then a reassessment? They're all but saying that the 48 number is a pipe dream. With plans to retain Typhoon and probably assign a batch to only air defense of the islands I would bet that the RAF pulls out all together.
I wonder if they're crunched the maintenance numbers and want no part of the plane?
Regardless, this is rapidly coming to a head. The F-35 just costs too damn much for us and our allies. Death spiral? Its much worse than that. This plane is in a flat spin headed out to sea...