14:59 GMT +318 January 2020
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    Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Steven Wilson said that the US Air Force has 75 less F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft available than it had planned four years ago.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Air Force has 75 less F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft available than it had planned four years ago, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Steven Wilson told the US Senate.

    "Today we have 75 less F-35s than we planned on in 2012," Wilson told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support on Wednesday.

    Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine, who sits on the committee, acknowledged Wilson’s statement.

    "We are well behind where we want to be with the F-35," Kaine said.

    The multi role F-35 program is expected to eventually cost around $1.5 trillion over the lifetime of the aircraft. Following complaints from US President Donald Trump, Lockheed Martin has pledged to reduce prices, selling the Defense Department 90 new jets for some $8.5 billion.

    The F-35 jet has suffered from a number of widely reported problems, including cannon that kept jamming, major software failures, engine problems, ejection seat issues and faulty cooling wires.

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    Tags:
    F-35, US Air Force, United States
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