23:26 GMT07 May 2021
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    US Department of Defense spokesperson Peter Cook said that the Obama adimistration remains confident in the capabilities of the F-35.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Obama administration remains confident in the abilities of the controversial F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter despite the continual and recent criticisms of it, US Department of Defense spokesperson Peter Cook told a press briefing on Tuesday.

    "This is a critically important program that has [had] its problems in the past," Cook said. "We are confident in the capabilities of the F-35."

    President-elect Donald Trump has been sharply critical of the costs of the F-35 program in recent tweets, and has stated that he has asked Boeing to price out an upgraded F-18 Super-Hornet jet that could replace the F-35 in critical roles for the US Navy.

    The program is now projected to cost $400 billion for 2,457 jets, making it nearly $200 billion over budget though estimates of the eventual total cost have run as high as $1.5 trillion. The aircraft has already had problems with its software, cannon, ejection seat, helmet and other key components.

    However, Cook said the F-35 jet remained crucial to future US air power and to the security of allied nations that were also buying the aircraft.

    "This is an aircraft that the services are counting on not just the US but other countries as well," he added.

    Israel received its first two F-35 jets on Monday.


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