After President-elect Donald Trump commented that he thought that the cost of the beleaguered F-35 jet program was too high, the stock of its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, plummeted. Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with Pierre Sprey, formerly with the F-16 design team, about the F-35’s systemic problems and whether Trump can overcome them.
Coming behind US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter‘s visit to Israel, during a delivery of the first two F-35s, Trump tweeted, “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”
Sprey called the F-35 a “hopelessly ineffective airplane,” saying, “I applaud what Trump said. It was entirely correct, it’s been true for years. Whether he can deliver on that remains to be seen. The military industrial complex has enormous power to keep the money flowing, but we will see.”
Loud & Clear host Brian Becker noted that Lockheed Martin’s stock valuation dropped some $2 billion after Trump’s tweet, and asked Sprey what he thought the incoming President’s motivation was, to be so critical of the warcraft.
“I would suspect that he has some advisors that know something about defense and the F-35 has been the leading scandal in the entire defense budget for 10 years.” he replied. “Remember, this is the world’s largest military procurement program ever. Completely dwarfs the development of the atomic bomb, the development of intercontinental missiles, nothing has ever cost as much.”
Sprey pointed out that just the purchase price of the jets will cost American taxpayers some $400 billion, and that by the end of the F-35’s lifespan the program will have cost an estimated $1.5 trillion.
Please follow SGT Report on Twitter & help share the message.