Defence cuts may mean the next-generation warplane that Britain is shelling out billions of pounds for will be unable to function properly.

A litany of setbacks have reportedly beset the British plans to buy from manufacturer Lockhead Martin the F-35 Lightning II, which has a price tag of up to £100m each.

The 'stealth' jet apparently cannot transmit data to British ships or older planes without revealing its position to the enemy.

Also its £12bn software system is prone to cyberattack and the defence department in charge of computer networks the plane needs will face £400m worth of cuts this year.

It also emerged that taxpayers may have to pay up to £50m more for each of the aircraft due to extras not included in the published price tag, such as software upgrades and spare parts, the Times reported.

In addition, Britain's main aircraft carrier has a broadband connection four times weaker than an average British household's, meaning that the F-35 cannot send data on enemy threats while in flight.

F-35
F-35 fighter jet take-offs for a training mission at Hill Air Force Base on March 15, 2017 in Ogden, Utah. Britain is buying the more costly F-35-B model.Getty

Formerly in charge of the military's information networks, Sir Richard Barrons, told the newspaper that the fighter plane's advantage came from its 'brainpower' which makes it capable of 400 billion operations per second.

But defence staff are worried that there is no system allowing the plan to communicate with other aircraft without giving its location away.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and Russia
The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is said to have such poor broadband that the F-35 will not be able to communicate properly with itRussell Cheyne/Reuters

He said it was "utterly pathetic" that Britain had prioritised "metal and platforms" over "warfare in the information age".

"You need enough capacity to communicate with all of the other platforms: ships, aircraft and headquarters. [The Queen Elizabeth) may look impressive as a ship but technologically it's stuck ten years ago," he said.

Britain will pay over £12bn for the new jets and aircraft carriers by 2021. The first 48 will be the B variant, which can take-off and land vertically and were grounded by the US after software glitches.

Pierre Sprey, a US aviation expert, told the paper that the F-35 has poor manoeuvrability, problems at flying fast at low altitude.

"It is unbelievably abnormal to have this level of problems in every aspect,"

"It overheats and when you detect the overheating you have to open the bomb bay doors to cool the missiles that are inside. The logistic computers are a horrible mess and it is crippling the ability to be able to move the aeroplanes from one airfield to another."

The costs of the fighters are estimates as their true price is not made public but Lockheed Martin says the F-35 programme was "delivering performance and driving down cost". The plane was "manoeuvrable, deployable and combat ready".

The MoD said the F-35 programme was "on time, within costs and offers the best capability for our armed forces" and that any issues with the plane were under "active management", the Times reported.