12 Months of Support to the UK F-35B Programme

Summer 2019 marks one year since Inzpire won the contract to provide Requirement Manager (RM) support to the UK F-35B Lightning programme.


Since then 3 personnel from our Integrated Systems & Sensors (ISS) division of the company have been busy delivering expert support to the RAF & RN as this state of the art 5th-Generation aircraft entered operational service, working alongside their 3 uniformed RM colleagues.

Inzpire were able to provide personnel with previous Lightning experience in Operational Test and Evaluation, Capability Development and the specialist engineering and mission planning IT.  This eclectic mix has between them over 75 years of military experience to draw from in staff, flying and operational headquarter roles.  It is indeed this blend of skills that enabled them to write the acceptance report for Lightning as it achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in December 2018. This lengthy and detailed document was briefed to the entire Senior Leadership of the RAF, including the Chief of the Air Staff, and was critical in allowing the aircraft to be formally accepted into service.  The Inzpire team were able to analyse performance against a broad range of formal requirements and their report is now seen as an exemplar for future platforms.

To follow the successful IOC report work, the team are now busy analysing progress to IOC Maritime.  They are playing key roles in the design of the future OT&E structure for the F35B, and recently visited the OT&E Squadron at Edwards AFB to meet with the personnel based there, where they discussed what the future testing of this ground breaking aircraft might look like and how the UK is working with the F-35 programme to develop the aircraft’s capability into the future.  They are working with the uniformed RMs developing the plan for upgrading the aircraft over its lifetime, ensuring it continues to combat potential adversary threats going into the future. This involves routine travel to the US where the programme is based, working with the US Services to ensure the UK requirements are fully understood and accepted. In addition, with 2 of the team having Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) backgrounds they are currently providing additional support to Air Capability as it brings the Paveway 4 Tactical Penetrator weapon into service on the Typhoon. Again they are writing the acceptance report, based on the success of the F-35B IOC format, which will allow the RAF to accept this weapon into service.  Alongside all this activity, we provide expert support to the development of IT systems for the programme and have worked alongside the delivery team in supporting operational IT, provided guidance on testing over critical IT systems in the deployed environment and planned installation work for new IT.

Chris Forrester and Matt Glanville, two of Inzpire’s F-35B requirements managers

This small team of 3 specialists provide daily support to the UK F-35B Lightning programme at every level. Their work has already been instrumental in accepting the aircraft into operational service, they are at the forefront of delivering a carrier strike capability back to the UK and their acceptance report will be presented to the Chiefs of the Air and Naval Staff next year, providing evidence that allows the reintroduction of this strategic element to UK defence. They represent the very essence of the Inzpire philosophy – recognised defence specialists working side by side with uniformed colleagues to provide high quality support to critical UK programmes.