Sunday, May 10, 2015

New US fighter jet on course to becoming ‘one of history’s biggest white elephants’

RAF F-35 Lightning IIA plane so technologically advanced that it would give Britain and the US air superiority in any future conflict and billed as the world’s most advanced stealth fighter jet, could be one of “the biggest white elephants in history”, according to a former defence minister.

And while costs of the F-35 spiral and delays run into years, another commentator has warned that “our skies and seas are vulnerable”.

The aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, was designed to replace the Harrier jump-jet, which went out of service in 2011. The UK once envisaged ordering 150 F-35s, to be ready by 2012. Three years on, the F-35 is still far from ready to fly in combat and the cost of a single jet has risen from £33m to £87m. The UK has ordered only eight to date.

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