Former Acting US Secretary of Defense (from November 9, 2020 to January 20, 2021) Christopher Miller on January 14, during a press conference, called the program for the creation of American fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters a piece of crap, writes Aviation Week & Space Technology.
According to a US magazine citing former Assistant Procurement Secretary of the US Air Force (Air Force) Will Roper, the Pentagon is unhappy with the pace of cost-cutting on the aircraft by the lead developer and manufacturer of fifth-generation fighters, US company Lockheed Martin.
“Lockheed [Martin] has pledged to bring the F-35A's average hourly cost to $ 25,000 by 2025, down about 25 percent from [corresponding figure] in 2018. But as he approached his retirement [following the election of Joe Biden as the 46th US president], Roper was not satisfied with the pace of [fighter program spending] cuts as the Air Force seeks to receive new F-35s at a rate of 48-60 aircraft annually. ” writes the edition.
In January, Popular Mechanics magazine, citing a relevant transcript of the official's speech, reported that Miller had called the F-35 Lightning II “a piece of …”. The publication assured that the then acting Minister of Defense did not complete his statement, and invited its readers to independently assume what the official meant. Popular Mechanics writes that “The United States and its allies [are] on the hook, not only because of the purchase of the F-35 at a price of 110 to 117 million dollars per plane, but also because of the exorbitant cost of its flight hour of about 44 thousand dollars, payments for the modernization of old aircraft, fixing many of the flaws in the aircraft, paying bills for future upgrades and development of the sixth generation fighter. “