May 26, 2006

Bush, Blair agree on F-35 fighter tech transfer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has agreed to step
up Britain's access to sensitive technology in the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter being built by Lockheed Martin Corp., President
Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced Friday.

"Both governments agree that the UK will have the ability
to successfully operate, upgrade, employ, and maintain the
Joint Strike Fighter such that the UK retains operational
sovereignty over the aircraft," they said in a joint statement.

Britain's top arms buyer, Paul Drayson, had warned in March
London in effect would quit the aircraft's co-development
program unless Britain's technology access needs were met.