20:36 GMT11 May 2021
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    Due to the exorbitant costs of the F-35 program, the US Air Force does not have enough money for future projects and cybersecurity.

    The first F-35A for the Italian Air Force, and the first F-35 built at the Cameri FACO, takes to the skies over Italy
    © AP Photo / Lockheed Martin Photography by T
    The US Air Force is likely to reduce the number of F-35 fifth-generation jet fighters it plans to buy. Otherwise, it may not have enough money to buy other weapons and military equipment.

    According to the proposed budget for 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35 jets this fiscal year, 48 in 2017 and 60 each year from 2018 through 2020. The total procurement cost of the 1,736 F-35’s is about $215 billion.

    The Air Force also plans to buy between 80 and 100 Long Range Strike-Bombers for up to $100 billion.

    In order to afford the strategic bombers the Air Force will have to reduce the number of F-35 it wants to buy. However, this option is opposed by the command, Richard Aboulafia, an analyst for the Teal Group, was quoted as saying by Air Force Times.

    Since the F-35 represents the lion’s share of other procurement programs, the Air Force’s goal of buying 1,736 jets has become "highly untenable," he added.

    By the mid-2020s the F-35 program will take up over 50 percent of the service’s planned money, and unless the defense budget is increased significantly, the Air Force will have to live with fewer F-35 fighters, Mackenzie Eaglen, a defense analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said.

    What is more, Canada and Norway plan to withdraw from the F-35 program, and that will increase the cost of each F-35.

    "It’s not just the fact that they don’t have enough money to buy some bombers but they’re also short of dollars for next-generation research and they’re short of dollars for things like cyber security," Jacques Gansler, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, was quoted as saying by Air Force News.


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