WASHINGTON, (BM) – A large number of participating countries in the F-35 fifth-generation fighter production chain are its weak point, US President Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network on May 14, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Yesterday we reported that several components for the American F-35s manufactured in Turkey are no longer supplied to the assembly plants for these combat aircraft, and at the moment the production has dropped dramatically.
Trump said the approach to creating the F-35 is “the stupidity that he saw in America’s approach to conducting international trade.”
“It’s a great jet, and we make parts for this jet all over the world. We make them in Turkey, we make them here, we’re going to make them there. All because President [Barack] Obama and others — I’m not just blaming him — thought it was a wonderful thing,” Trump said.
“The problem is, if we have a problem with a country, you can’t make the jet. We get parts from all over the place. It’s so crazy. We should make everything in the United States,” Trump said.
When asked by the journalist about whether the United States can fully produce all the details of the F-35 on its territory, the US president replied that work is underway.
But what the president said is not accurate. The main body of the jet — the central fuselage — is made in the United States by Northrop Grumman. Turkey did make some until the Trump Administration expelled Turkey from the F-35 program when President Tayyip Erdogan thumbed his nose at NATO and bought the S-400, an advanced surface-to-air missile system, from Russia. The United States under Trump has already decided to refuse to buy Turkish-made parts for the F-35.
As we reported yesterday also, the bigger problem in the short term is that 15 key parts for the $428 billion F-35 program are “not currently being produced at the needed production rate.” How serious is this problem? How and how much will it slow production?
“The program has identified new sources for 1,005 parts produced by Turkish suppliers, but the program is assessing the effect of 15 key parts not currently being produced at the needed production rate,” the GAO audit found. Breaking Defense asked the JSF PEO for details and did not receive an answer by press time.
At the same time, the entire program for creating a fifth-generation fighter was originally planned and implemented as a distributed one. The building of close ties between the United States and its allies was directly declared as one of the goals of the program.
About 300,000 parts required for assembling the aircraft are manufactured at factories of the program member countries around the world. In particular, the final assembly of the aircraft is carried out at factories in three countries: in Fort Worth, Texas in the USA, in Cameri in Italy and in the city of Nagoya in Japan.
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