The outgoing director of weapons testing says the Trump administration should “rigorously and comprehensively” conduct reviews of the F-35 program, Bloomberg News reports.
The Pentagon “has no plan to adequately fix and verify hundreds of these deficiencies using flight testing within its currently planned schedule and resources,” Michael Gilmore, director of weapons testing at the Department of Defense, said in a Monday letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry.
While the F-35 jet “with capable mission systems is critical to our national security,” Gilmore said. Gilmore, who will leave his position when Trump takes office next week, maintains that the program “is at high risk of sacrificing essential combat performance” if the problems with the jet are not corrected.
The Air Force disagrees on the basis that there is no suitable replacement for the new fighter jet. “The Air Force does not view the F/A-18 and the F-35 to be substitutable at all,” Deborah James, secretary of the Air Force, told Deborah James said in Defense News Jan. 5.
The jets “fulfill different requirements. They’re both fine aircraft, don’t get me wrong. But [the F/A-18] is fourth generation, and F-35 is fifth generation.” (RELATED: Air Force Will Oppose Trump If He Tries To Kick Out F-35 In Favor Of F-18)
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that “The F-35 program and cost is out of control” Dec. 12, indicating that he would attempt to renegotiate the contract when in office.
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