21:17 GMT30 July 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be the backbone of the US fighter fleet in the foreseeable future, US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown told reporters on Friday.

    "The F-35 is a cornerstone of our fighter fleet, and it will be for a foreseeable future", Brown said during telephonic press briefing.

    Brown expressed confidence in F-35 programme despite recent criticism that it has not addressed the aircraft's more than 860 remaining technical issues. The general said the aircraft's capability will be beneficial not now, but in the future.

    "[T]he capability we have today does extremely well", Brown said.

    The F-35 development began in 2001 and the weapon system has turned out to be most the expensive one in US history. The F-35 programme has been delayed more than eight years and is $165 billion over the original cost expectations, according to the Government Accountability Office.

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