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UK confident U.S. will hand over F-35 fighter codes
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is confident it will receive software code that controls Lockheed Martin Corp's new radar-evading F-35 fighter jet, despite the United States' insistence that it will keep the data to itself.
"The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is progressing well and the UK currently has the JSF data needed at this stage of the programme, and is confident that in future we will continue to receive the data needed to ensure that our requirements for operational sovereignty will be met," the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement sent to Reuters on Monday.
"This remains the basis of the agreements reached with the U.S. in 2006."
The Pentagon last month said it would keep to itself the so-called source code, the key to the F-35's electronic brains, despite requests from co-development partners -- Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.
Access to the technology had been publicly sought by Britain, which had threatened to scrub plans to buy as many as 138 F-35s if it were unable to maintain and upgrade its fleet without U.S. involvement and if they withheld such things as the software code.
The single-engine F-35 is in early stages of production. It is designed to escape radar detection and switch quickly between air-to-ground and air-to-air missions while still flying -- processes heavily dependent on its 8 million lines of onboard software code.
(Editing by Mark Potter)
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