Joint Combat Aircraft

Joint Combat Aircraft

Joint Combat Aircraft

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The Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) is the official designation of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence used for the F-35 Lightning II, formerly the Joint Strike Fighter, and the result of the Joint Strike Fighter Program.

Programme history

The JCA programme began in 1996 as the Future Carrier Borne Aircraft (FCBA), a replacement for the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier intended for operation from the RN's CVF aircraft carriers. The requirement for the FCBA was set out in Staff Target 6464 which specified a carrier-borne aircraft capable of air defence of naval and ground forces and self-escorting ground attack.

As the Royal Navy version of the JCA (and potentially Royal Air Force versions) would operate from the two newly ordered Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, the selection of the aircraft was closely linked to the design of the carrier. Candidates for the JCA were thus listed by carrier type:

Following the 1998 Strategic Defence Review the Navy's Harrier FA.2 and RAF Harrier GR.7 were merged to form Joint Force 2000 (later Joint Force Harrier. As such the requirement was revised to include the replacement of the RAF Harrier force; this led to the renaming of the project as the Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA) in 2001. Later, in the third and final...
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