US AIR FORCE WANTS 5 MORE F-35 JETS IN USD 7.2-B ‘WISH LIST’

WASHINGTON — The US Air Force is asking Congress to restore funding for five more F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters and eight C-130J Super-Hercules transport planes that were earlier removed from its 2017 budget request, according to media reports.

The US Congress calls for an “unfunded priorities list” from each of the armed services every year and legislators have the option of approving additional funds the requested, or “wish list” items or ignore the request altogether.

“The Air Force requested USD 7.2 billion in total, including about USD 2.9 billion to buy back capability the service cut in its fiscal year 2017 budget request due to resource limitations,” Defense News reported on Friday.

“The Air Force also wants USD 88 million for “compliance and survivability” upgrades for its fourth-generation F-16 fleet, USD 1.2 billion to restore critical infrastructure and USD 145 million to grow the force to 321,000,” Defense News said.

The F-35 fighter jet is the most expensive military aircraft ever developed, with an estimated final cost of USD 400 billion, twice the original estimate.

Problems with the F-35 have included flaws in its fuel and hydraulic systems, poor cockpit visibility, faulty radar and ejection seats that do not work. The entire fleet was grounded in 2014 after an engine caught fire as a test pilot prepared to take off. PNA/Sputnik/northboundasia.com