Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claims to be the “the best in terms of the military,” confused the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program with the B-3 Long Range Strike Bomber program.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if America needs a strategic bomber or “should we just stick with submarines and missiles?” Trump then criticized the beleaguered F-35 program. (RELATED: Goodbye, B-52 Stratofortress — A New American Long Range Strike Bomber Is A Reality)
Hewitt asked, “Last week the Pentagon announced, they gave the B-3, the strategic bomber contract to Northrop Grumman. And that’s going to be billions and billions of dollars. Each one of them costs, they think, about a half billion bucks each, $564 million. Do we need a strategic bomber, Donald Trump, or should we just stick with submarines and missiles? And if so, do you think it has to cost that much?”
Trump responded, “No, it doesn’t have to cost that much. And by the way, they also are giving out, or are in the process of giving out — I don’t want to speak too strongly about this because maybe they won’t do it. They are giving out a new Air Force One, and that’s a three billion, with a B, $3 billion plane, and I said, I guarantee you I could save hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. And I guarantee you that Boeing would leave something on the table. Three billion dollar Air Force One, so you have that.”
“When you talked about the bomber, here’s what I don’t like. I have been reading, and I read one article in particular, where the pilots, and these are great test pilots and pilots generally. But pilots in testing it, said our old planes are better,” explained Trump.
“They perform better, they handle better. Every aspect, they were saying, they’re better. So I’m saying wait a minute, if they’re better, why are we ordering these unbelievably expensive planes? So I would have some real problems because of cost, and I know I could get the cost down. But what bothers me tremendously is the fact that I heard test pilots saying that the old planes maneuver better, work better, and they like them better. That bothers me,” insisted Trump. (RELATED: F-35 Program Leader: Do We Really Need To Test The F-35 Against The A-10?)
Hewitt responded, “A lot of people like the F-18 Super Hornet more than the F-35. But this B-3, the strategic bomber, I think we have to have a bomber. I will probably be bringing this up in Las Vegas, and I want you to be ready for it, along with all the other candidates. Because I think we need to have a national security conversation, don’t we, on that debate stage? (RELATED: Report Argues That The F-35 Is Totally Inferior To Foreign Fighters)
Trump responded, “We do, and it’s got to be reasonable. We have to get a lot more for our buck. We’re putting up the dollars, we’re spending unbelievable dollars, and when you’re talking about planes costing that amount of money, can it be done for less? I guarantee you, it can be done for not less, but much, much less. But you check this out. The pilots that were testing it did not like it as much as the old equipment. That’s not good. And I think you would agree with that, Hugh.”