During his press conference, Donald Trump made several inaccurate claims regarding the status of the F-35 fighter jet.
During the beginning of his press conference, Trump, once again, reiterated his claim that he would bring back job. He mentioned several companies by name and called out drug companies saying that the U.S. does not bid properly on the cost of drugs.
So far none of what Trump said has been unreasonable, but then he moved on to a discussion regarding the new F-35 fighter jet.
‘And we’re going to do that with a lot of other industries. I’m very much involved with the generals and admirals on the airplane, the F-35 you’ve been reading about it. And it’s way, way behind schedule and many billions of dollars over budget. I don’t like that.
And the admirals have been fantastic. The generals have been fantastic. I’ve really gotten to know them well. And were going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F18 program. And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re gonna get the plane even better and we’re going to have to some competition. And it’s going to be a beautiful thing.’
His claims that the fighter is behind schedule and over budget aren’t controversial statements. The fighter was first commissioned in the mid-1990s and cost about 100 billion dollars.
The problem with his statements is that they are rather misleading. He is implying that the jet will be ready during his presidency, but, assuming he does not win a second term, that is rather unlikely. The Daily Beast has reported that, while the prototype has been deemed “combat ready,” it could still take two decades and 300 billion dollars for the planes to be produced.
‘But don’t celebrate quite yet. It could take another 20 years and $300 billion for the Air Force—not to mention the Navy and Marines—to get all 2,400 F-35s they plan on buying. And even though the JSF technically could deploy to a conflict zone as early as August, it’s likely the Pentagon will hold the plane back for a few more years as it continues to work out its many bugs.
For while the F-35 might be officially war-ready, that doesn’t mean the military and plane-maker Lockheed Martin have solved all the F-35’s problems. Even with the Air Force’s endorsement, the Joint Strike Fighter is still less maneuverable, more complex, less reliable, and more expensive than its developers promised.’
In fairness to Trump, he is right that the F-35 has a lot of problems and, hopefully, his administration will be able to make progress on fixing them, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll see the plane anytime soon.
For more information, you can check out his press conference below:
Featured image via Getty Images.