17:44 GMT24 February 2020
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    More than half of Americans (54 percent) want the Pentagon to drop the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II program in favor of upgrading existing fighter jets, an in-depth survey conducted by the University of Maryland shows.

    The cancellation of the troubled program, sometimes referred to as the Pentagon's "most expensive mistake, would help save approximately $6 billion in the near term and $97 billion in the next two decades. A single F-35 fifth generation combat aircraft costs nearly $120 million, while the total cost of the program is estimated to have reached $1.3 trillion.

    "A large majority of Democrats (63 percent) and a lesser majority of independents (54%) took this position. Republicans opposed cancelling the program by 54% to 45%," the survey found.

    Despite widespread opposition to the F-35, the respondents would like the US Department of Defense to proceed with the development of a new long‐range stealth bomber. The US Air Force is expected to purchase up to 100 LRS-Bs. The aircraft, currently known as B-21, is being developed under development by Northrop Grumman.

    In addition, the majority of those surveyed opposed the plan to cut the number of nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear weapons from 12 to 8.

    In general, the majority of respondents backed cuts in five of the seven key areas of the US defense budget, which would allow the Pentagon to save some $12 billion.

    The survey, which was conducted from December 20 to February 1, polled 7,126 people across the country.


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    nuclear-powered submarine, LRS-B, defense spending, survey, F-35 Lightning II, US Department of Defense (DoD), United States
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