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Does Trump actually want the F35 programme or not?

Lockheed Martin F35 flickr

A few weeks ago, US president-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast Lockheed-Martin’s F35 fighter jet programme.

The programme was slammed for cost overruns and failing to deliver in a few areas, causing Lockheed-Martin’s stock to briefly drop.

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Now, Trump’s pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, has said that the president-elect actually supports the programme.

According to Defense News, Mattis said Trump just wants “more bang for his buck”.

“It’s not my role to comment on the president-elect’s statements except to say that it shows he’s serious about getting the best bang for the dollar when it comes to defense dollars, and that is where I find common ground with him,” the defense pick was quoted as saying.

Donald Trump has criticised the F35 fighter jet programme, but insists that it’s here to stay

Trump himself has since spoken out on the F35 initiative.

“We’re going to do some big things on the F35 programme and perhaps the F18 programme,” the president-elect was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

“And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane even better, and we’re going to have competition. And it’s going to be a beautiful thing,” he added in typical Trump fashion.

The F-35 has been plagued by ever-increasing costs, while Canada has also decided to initiate a fighter jet competition to seek possible alternatives to the F35.

In addition to costs, the fighter jet faces some issues of its own, according to a recent memo. The memo reported that the new fighter jet wasn’t as capable as older jets for ground attack/close air support missions.

Additionally, the memo reported that tracked targets were being duplicated and that firing the plane’s cannon caused it to yaw significantly.

Featured image: Lockheed-Martin via Flickr

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