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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is becoming a popular subject on Twitter, thanks in part to a tweet from Sen. John McCain.
“Congress notified that first F-35 jets have cost overruns of $771M. Outrageous! Pentagon asking for $264M down payment now. Disgraceful”, says a post of Sen. McCain sounded on Tuesday.
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. took to Twitter Wednesday in defense of the program. “The F-35 team is focused on reducing costs of the jets and is showing significant improvement in key areas,” the company said in a post Wednesday afternoon. The tweet included a link to recent Senate testimony by Tom Burbage, Lockheed’s F-35 program manager.
In reply, Sen. McCain wrote: “To most observers, a $771M cost overrun for 28 F-35s doesn’t qualify as ‘significant improvement.’ Taxpayers deserve better.”
A defense official said Congress was informed about the request to shift funds to cover F-35 cost overruns back in May. Lockheed spokesman Michael Rein said cost increases on early production models were due in part to design changes that had to be incorporated after early testing of the aircraft.
This, incidentally, isn’t the first time the F-35 has come under fire from Sen. McCain. In a May hearing, the senator complained about the “jaw-dropping” price tag for sustaining the fleet of stealthy aircraft over several decades.The company is currently in negotiations with the government over the price for a batch of 35 of the airplanes.
Source: The Wall Street Journal