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McCain Says F-35's Cost May Force Pentagon to Cut Back Purchases

  • Senator asks whether Lockheed fighter fleet can be afforded
  • He says buying 2,443-jet fleet would cost $10 billion a year

The Pentagon must reevaluate whether it can afford to buy its entire planned fleet of F-35 jets, the costliest U.S. weapons system, Senator John McCain said.

Under the original plan crafted after Lockheed Martin Corp. beat Boeing Co. in 2001 in a competition to build the fighter, 1,013 of the program’s 2,443 jets were supposed to be delivered by next Sept. 30. So far, 179 have actually been delivered, McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a session with reporters Wednesday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.