12:36 GMT27 January 2020
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    The US Department of Defense has claimed that deployment of F-35 jets in Europe maximize training opportunities for American pilots and will help to build partnerships with allied air forces and familiarize airmen with Europe’s operating conditions.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The F-35A Lighting II fighter jet’s introduction into Europe has received enthusiastic praise following 76 sorties and more than 154 flying hours alongside F-15 jets from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force Base in Lakenheath, according to a press release from the US Department of Defense.

    "During the training deployment, the aircraft forward deployed to Estonia and Bulgaria to maximize training opportunities, build partnerships with allied air forces and familiarize airmen with Europe’s broad and diverse operating conditions," the release stated on Monday.

    Lakenheath is scheduled to receive its first permanent F-35A Lightning IIs in 2021, the release noted.

    According to Defense Department estimates, the F-35 program is expected to cost more than a $1 trillion over about 50 years, making it the most expensive weapons program in history.

    President Donald Trump has made several efforts to bring down the cost of the fifth-generation aircraft, which has been plagued with design flaws, software glitches and pilot complaints throughout the aircraft’s development.

    Related:

    Never-Ending Story: F-35 to Add Even More Than $1.7 Bln to Its Cost
    US Military Orders 130 More F-35 Joint Strike Fighters Costing $1.3 Billion
    US F-35 Fighter Jets Arrive in Bulgaria (Bringing Peace and Security, of Course)
    Tags:
    F-35, Pentagon, Europe, United States
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