The first F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter has been delivered to the United Kingdom . . . U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and British Secretary of Defense Philip Hammond saluted the stealth fighter at an event in Fort Worth, Texas on July 18 . . . the UK signed on in 1995 as the first foreign development partner for the fifth generation fighter program . . . the Royal Navy will use the F-35 as a test aircraft and calibrate its short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL jump-jet) capability for two new British Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers . . . Lockheed Martin (LMT) along with Northrop Grumman (NOC) and BAE Systems (BA/:London) have struggled to build the airplane on time and under budget with development costs ballooning over $40 billion . . . the U.S. announced in 2010 it planned to buy over 2,400 F-35s for over $300 billion making it the most expensive defense acquisition in history . . . the number of Joint Strike Fighters ordered by the Pentagon has been radically reduced as each costs around $135 million . . . the British Ministry of Defense has been concerned that the F-35 would not be ready for its new carriers and has waited for the airplane for six years since announcing plans to purchase it in 2006.