A state-of-the-art United States fighter jet will make its international debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo, the Defence Secretary has confirmed.

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft will fly in Britain for the first time this summer, making its international debut in July at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford and will also fly at the Farnborough International Air Show.

The decision to fly the combat aircraft outside of the United States for the first time, following discussions between Philip Hammond and his US counterpart, Secretary Hagel, is a further demonstration of the progress with the Lightning II programme.

The selection of two UK airshows also demonstrates the significant role that Britain has in the programme, with approximately 15 per cent of every aircraft built in the UK.

The US Defence Department has approved the first trans-Atlantic flight of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet in July to take part in two international air shows.