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Retired Marine General James Mattis has backed the F-35 after it was recently criticised by President-elect Donald Trump.

Reported by ‘DoD Buzz‘, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Hartford Courant newspaper that Mattis gave a “clear commitment to the continuation of the F-35”.

Blumenthal said later

“I was encouraged by his clear commitment to American air superiority and important role of the F-35 in sustaining and enhancing it.”

The speculation started after a string of tweets posted by President-elect Donald Trump were interpreted by many to signal the end of the F-35.

It’s now clear that Trump sought to cut F-35 costs, not cancel the hugely valuable programme which supports more than 151,000 direct and indirect jobs in the US and tens of thousands more around the world.

Marillyn Hewson President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin said she had a “very good conversation” with Trump and that she had “heard his message loud and clear about reducing the cost of the F-35”, according to a statement released by Lockheed Martin.

Trump tweeted earlier in the month:

“Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35 I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!”

Hewson added later that the conversation was “productive” and that she had “conveyed our commitment to delivering an affordable aircraft to our military and our allies.”

The president-elect later relented, revealing his intentions and confirming what many in the industry had suspected, that this was simply an effort to drive down costs.

“It’s a little bit of a dance. But we’re going to get the cost down.”

At peak, the F-35 will support 25,000 jobs in the UK over the next few decades and pump £1bn a year into the economy.

Cliff Robson, Senior Vice-President for the F-35 Lightning II programme at BAE Systems, said in an interview, referring to the estimated British 25,000 jobs either directly created or supported in the F-35 supply chain.

“It’s cheap when you look at what that investment is returning to the UK.”

When the jet reaches peak production, the programme will be worth some £1 billion to UK industry alone, according to research by KPMG the accounting firm. An estimated 25,000 UK jobs will be sustained across more than 500 companies in the supply chain.

The F-35 features a significant amount of British developed components, in addition to 15% of every jet sold globally being built in Britain. As the only Level 1 partner, the United Kingdom has garnered tremendous economic benefits from the F-35. British industry will build 15% of each of the more than 3,000 planned F-35s, in addition to a large volume of British developed aircraft systems including the electronic warfare suite.

The programme at peak will generate significant export revenue and GDP growth for the US, UK and many other partner nations.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Apparently the C version has some serious problems in catapulted take off mode.

    If one F35 model is to be cut it will be the C model, totally confident A will continue and B as well.

    Some talk in the Israeli press that Israel will purchase the B version, in relatively small numbers say 25, as they fear their airbases could be taken out in a surprise attack.

    Given Israels situation this is not an unreasonable suggestion.

    • Lets hope not. Israel is a regional superpower and uses this in a negative way. They need to have some concerns to get them to the peace table and for them to act reasonably.

      • If Israel was not regional superpower it would not exist.

        Israel has the right of self defence and when compared to its neighbours is a beacon of human rights in the region.

        The problem with Israel/Palestine question is that no side really wants a deal given the current circumstances.

        I hope that Israel maintains its qualative military advantage in the region as that is the best way maintaining a relative peaceful situation in a region consumed by war due to the Sunni Shia schism

        • Its not about right of defence, which clearly israel is able to do and some, its about not being so powerful that they can act without thought.

          No doubt there is plenty of problems with Palestine also, but that doesn’t justify there actions and certainly not them constantly invading and settling territory that doesn’t belong to them under international law. Neither does it justify breaching international law by invading another country.

          Withdraw from invaded territories and then they can act like a victim, but until then they are just as bad, or worse than Palestine.

          Ok its not the same, but the UK had to sallow its pride and be the bigger man, and give a lot, to achieve peace in Northern Ireland and Isreal, if they want to be considered a western country needs to do the same.

          Anyhow this isn’t the place to debate it, its too difficult a topic and i don’t think anyone really has the solution whilst neither country really wants peace at all costs.

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