F-35 chief defends program after Trump
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[December 20, 2016]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed
Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet program is essential for the security of
the United States and its allies, a Pentagon official said on Monday,
looking to defend the program a week after President-elect Donald Trump
criticized it for delays and cost overruns.
"The F-35 program and cost is out of control," Trump wrote on Twitter
last week, echoing campaign promises to cut waste in federal spending.
"Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other)
purchases after January 20th."
Speaking with reporters on Monday, Air Force Lieutenant General Chris
Bogdan, who runs the F-35 program for the Pentagon, said that if he had
an opportunity to speak with the Trump transition team, he would tell
them that the program is now under control after years of delays.
"There is a perception that this program is out of control," Bogdan
said. "So, if given the opportunity I would like to try and explain to
the new administration that this is a vastly different program from
Bogdan said the incoming administration was trying to get industry and
the Defense Department to get a better value for its money.
"I applaud the new administration for that, because that is what we
should all be striving for," he said.
Trump's Twitter broadside sent defense shares tumbling and fanned
concerns that the incoming administration will reduce defense
contractors' profit margins and cut broader federal spending,
threatening U.S. factory jobs even as Trump promises to boost
[to top of second column]
United States Air Force Lt. General Chris Bogdan briefs the media in
front of a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet at Patuxent
River Naval Air Station in Maryland October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Gary
The F-35 program, which has been described as the most expensive
weapon system in history, has been dogged by problems, with the
Pentagonís chief arms buyer once describing as "acquisition
malpractice" the decision to produce jets before completing
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Alistair Bell)
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