Perhaps it is best not to apply the proverb “a friend in need is a friend indeed” to the U.K. as it returns to buying the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) version of the Joint Strike Fighter. In the depths of the crisis about 18 months ago surrounding the Stovl model, the U.K. walked away from the F-35B, saying it would instead buy the F-35C and denigrating the jump-jet version as an inferior aircraft. But since the F-35B gained the Pentagon's blessing as having its ...

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