Various media report that Prince Harry has visited the White House to attend a reception for military mothers and children hosted by Michelle Obama. | There is widespread coverage of the repatriation at RAF Brize Norton of Corporal William Savage, Fusilier Samuel Flint and Private Robert Hetherington who were killed in Afghanistan last week. | The Guardian reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has claimed that the US wants to keep 9 military bases in Afghanistan after 2014. | The Telegraph reports that up to 500 soldiers will be spared from redundancy in June because more troops than expected have already left the Army. | The Daily Mail reports that 39 Arctic Convoy veterans returned to the banks of Loch Ewe in Scotland yesterday to receive their Arctic Star medals. | Various media report that a replica Spitfire was unveiled yesterday in Grangemouth in honour of young pilots who were killed while learning to fly during the Second World War. | The Independent reports that the last of the black Bermudians, Philip Lamb, who served in the RAF in the Second World War, has died aged 90.
Joint Strike Fighter
It has been reported that a National Audit Office (NAO) report into the decision to revert to the STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing) version of the Joint Strike Fighter for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers means that the UK's carrier strike capability will be delayed by two years, until 2022, and that the Lightning II jets will not be able to land vertically in adverse weather.
In fact, by 2020 the UK will have operational carrier strike capability and the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft will be able to land on HMS Queen Elizabeth in various weather conditions.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "The NAO supports the decision to switch to the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter in the face of escalating costs. Not only did it save £1.2 billion, it also means that by 2018 we will have fifth-generation stealth jets flying off the new Queen Elizabeth Class carrier.
"The decision to act quickly, once more information was available, is evidence of the department's decisive efforts to keep our equipment budget in balance while delivering state-of-the-art capability for our Armed Forces.
"The department does not consider that the phased introduction of 'Crowsnest' undermines the delivery of carrier strike capability. Crowsnest will enter service in 2020, at the same time as HMS Queen Elizabeth, and the helicopter-based radar system will be fully operational by 2022.
"Until then, its maritime surveillance capabilities will be augmented by other platforms and systems, including the state-of-the-art radar on the Type 45 destroyers, working together in a layered defence."