USAF sticks to F-35 fleet requirements

Washington DC
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The US Air Force's top civilian leader says that the service will not be backing away from its requirement to buy 1,763 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters anytime soon.

"I don't think there is any reason to revisit that anytime in the near future," says USAF secretary Michael Donley, speaking at a Credit Suisse conference in New York.

Donley says he has heard many alternative plans that call for the USAF to reallocate funding to more urgent priorities or buying fewer F-35s, but that those plans are not feasible. "These are good theoretical discussions, but when you look at where we are in the programme, it makes no sense to have these discussions until about 2025," Donley says. "There is nothing in the near-term about this programme that will change; there is nothing that it will contribute to deficit reduction in the next 10 years, with the exception of its cancellation."

Cancelling the F-35 programme, in Donley's view, is not something that anyone would recommend, he says.