At a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond formally accepted the first of the jets, which will be known as Lightning II.
The aircraft are short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and are manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
The UK is the first country outside the US to receive these aircraft, and Mr Hammond today announced that the MOD intends to order a fourth Lightning II aircraft next year to add to the three already on contract.
The RAF and Royal Navy will conduct flight trials of the jets which will operate from land bases and from the sea.
Lightning II will be operational from land-based airfields from 2018, when it will also commence flight trials off the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier. Mr Hammond announced that the jets are likely to be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, but no decision has yet been made.