It is interesting to note that beyond the USMC, Singapore, a number of Air Forces are planning to operate the F-35B, namely, UK's Royal Air Force (138 F-35Bs) and Italy's Air Force (15 F-35Bs). The Italians have a base sharing plan for its 30 Navy and Air Force short-takeoff, vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft, which is set to save on maintenance and support.The first operational JSF for the marines has fallen out of the sky trying to do a short take off and vertical landing.(Sorry i am having a journalist day today)
Marine Corps' F-35B Conducts First Vertical Landing - YouTube
F-35B performing an AIM 120 Weapon Separation - YouTubeRichard Beedall said:RN in Review: 2012
...The [UK] MoD intends to buy 48 F-35B’s by 2022, including 3 test and evaluation phase aircraft which will probably never be converted to an operational configuration. Delivery of the first production standard aircraft should be in 2014 (although as it won’t be ordered until 2013 as part of LRIP Lot VII, a 2015 delivery date seems more probable), with flying trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth beginning in 2018. The Royal Air Force (RAF) plans to form the first front line JSF squadron - No. 617 Squadron RAF - of 12 aircraft (9 deployable) in 2020/21. Whilst there is speculation that in the longer term there could be two front line F-35B squadrons, each of nine aircraft – one RAF manned and one Fleet Air Arm manned - there is no evidence to back this up.
Given the very small number of carrier capable aircraft likely to be available in face of other competing commitments, the RAF is advocating that the model adopted in the later years of the Invincible class aircraft carriers should be followed. This allows for one operational aircraft carrier, which would embark a “single figure” number of F-35B aircraft (5 or 6 based on historical experience) for a few weeks a few times a year – either for training purposes or for major exercises. However the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, referred in a speech on 1 November 2012 to 12 F-35B’s being routinely embarked, and he thought that there was “a realistic possibility of both carriers coming into service”, rather than one being sold or going in to extended reserve as SDSR proposed. Operating both carriers will cost an extra £70 million per year (mostly on additional personnel), and it is vital that the RN makes a convincing case in SDSR 2015 as to why these very large and expensive ships are still needed – a case extending far beyond their original ‘carrier strike’ raison d'être...
Italy’s original planned order of 131 JSFs was cut back to 90 in February 2012 due to budget cuts. The Air Force had planned to buy around 40 F-35B STOVLs to replace its AMX fighters, while the Navy said it needed at least 22 to keep a full contingent on board the Cavour. Instead, the services are left with 15 STOVLs apiece, while the Air Force will receive 60 conventional F-35As.As at 14 March 2013, the number of fighters to be acquired are:
1,763 F-35As — USAF • 340 F-35Bs/80 F-35Cs — USMC • 260 F-35Cs — USN
Level 1 partner (financial stake in JSF program):
138 F-35Bs — UK (US$2.5 billion)
Level 2 partners (financial stake in JSF program):
60 F-35As/30 F-35Bs — Italy (US$1 billion)
85 F-35As — Netherlands (US$800 million)
Level 3 partners (financial stake in JSF program):
100 F-35As — Australia (US$144 million)
100 F-35As — Turkey (US$195 million)
65 F-35As — Canada (US$160 million)
52 F-35As — Norway (US$122 million)
30 F-35As — Denmark (US$110 million)
Security Cooperative Participants:
19 F-35As — Israel
Undergoing evaluation — Singapore (see 'Singapore Poised To Announce Purchase Of 12 F-35Bs').
FMS Customer (with some assembled in Japan):
42 F-35As — Japan
“Supportability is a key issue with two squadrons of 15 and 15 [STOVLs],” Gen. Giuseppe Bernardis, Italian Air Force chief said. “We think 30 is a number that is sustainable, and that is why we are going together. We will have common support and different advanced training.”