U.S. Defense Secretary orders review of Air Force One, F-35 fighter jet program

New York [United States], Jan. 28 : The Pentagon has said in a statement that the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered reviews of the new Air Force One presidential aircraft and F-35 fighter jet programs.

This move comes after President Donald Trump had last month called for a review to replace the costly F-35 variant with a modified version of the older F/A-18 aircraft and if the cost of the new Air Force One could be reduced.

"This is a prudent step to incorporate additional information into the budget preparation process and to inform the secretary's recommendations to the President regarding critical military capabilities," CNN quoted Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis as saying.

Various lawmakers had previously criticized the F-35 program for its history of schedule delays resulting in the cost of the program getting nearly doubled to the original budget.

Lockheed Martin's CEO had assured President Trump last month to reduce the cost of the stealthy F-35 fighter jet after the latter had criticized the program.

The F-35 fighter jet program is the most expensive military weapons system in history, and has been much criticized inside and outside government, in the U.S.

and in allied countries. "Lockheed Martin stands ready to support Secretary Mattis' review of the F-35 program and welcomes the appropriate focus on affordability and capability," the company said in a statement Friday.

"We are confident such a thorough and objective analysis will show that only the F-35, with its advanced stealth and sensors, can meet the 21st century air superiority requirements of all of our military services," the statement added.

Source: ANI