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USAF considers cutting 72 F-35s

September 10, 2006 (by Stefaan Vanhastel) - The United States Air Force considers cutting 72 F-35 Lightning II aircraft from its 2008 six-year spending plan (covering FY2008 through FY2013) due to cost overruns, according to Inside The Air Force.

JSF AA-1 in transit back to the main hangar. [LMTAS photo]

The proposed cut of 72 aircraft allows the air force to keep the current production schedules and projected cost, by sacrificing one wing to cover unexpected costs that arose in 2005. The total price tag increased by nearly $19 billion in 2005. The F-35’s $276 billion total price tag makes it one of the most expensive defense programs in history.

Last week, the US Navy and Marine Corps proposed a one-year delay for the introduction of the F-35; however the US Air Force wants to avoid any delays, since the average age of USAF fighter aircraft is now 24 years.

The US military plans to acquiring just under 2,500 F-35s for the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps, while eight international customers are expected to purchase more than 770 aircraft.

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