The F-35 Joint Strike Fighters' Greatest Enemy: Donald Trump?
As part of his bid to lead the free world, tycoon-turned-presidential candidate Donald Trump is talking to a lot of conservative talk show hosts. On Oct. 22, Trump sat down with Hugh Hewitt.
“The F-35 is the aircraft of the future,” Hewitt explained. “It’s already $160 billion dollars over budget. We were supposed to sell 3,100 of them to our allies and to ourselves, and Canada’s going to drop its order now.”
The Liberal Party of Canada just swept recent elections and incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau campaigned against the jet. America’s neighbors to the north have planned to buy and operate 65 of the fighters at a cost of $45 billion over 30 years.
But the F-35 is unpopular, and there is a real possibility Canada could soon pull out of the project. That would — if it happens — become the biggest blow to the troubled project. The cost per-unit would rise further, and set a precedent for other nations.
“I do hear that it’s not very good. I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have,” Trump responded, referencing a leaked report first published by War Is Boring.
“There are big problems with the F-35, yes, absolutely,” Hewitt continued.
“They’re saying it doesn’t perform as well as our existing equipment, which is much less expensive,” Trump said.
“So when I hear that … I say we have to do something, because you know, they’re spending billions. This is a plane. There’s never been anything like it in terms of cost … the test pilots are amazing people. They know better than anybody, okay, and I think you would accept that.”
“When they say that this cannot perform as well, as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?”
This piece first appeared in WarIsBoring here.
Image: Flickr/Creative Commons.