While the F35B of the Royal Air Force began, from the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth II, the first missions and operational strikes of the aircraft targeting ISIS targets in the Middle East, the Minister of La British Defense, Ben Wallace, weighed these previous statements about future orders of Lockheed-Martin's device. According to the Conservative minister, these new orders will only take place once the integration of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile has been completed and validated on board the new aircraft. Above all, he announced, on June 23, that these will only occur once the costs of maintenance and implementation of the F35 have fallen, and will be stabilized, adding that there was no question for him to "sign a blank check" to the BAe and Lockheed-Martin industrialists.
Without calling into question the will and the British need to extend the fleet of F35, 48 aircraft not allowing, on their own, to support the activity of two aircraft carriers in rotation at sea, Ben Wallace has, by this declaration, launched a new paving stone in the puddle of the F35 program, in a moment which could not be more delicate for him, while the US Air Force and a part of the American parliamentarians also express doubts about the capacity of the industrialists to bring the cost of owning the aircraft at the levels required for use consistent with requirements, i.e. $ 25.000 per flight hour. Currently, the figures are contradictory regarding these costs, since Lockheed-Martin announces a cost per flight hour of around $ 33.000 (for the land-based F35A version), while at the same time, the Democratic representative Adam Smith, president of the defense committee of the House of Representatives and singularly circumspect about the F35 program, announces for his part that it is now $ 44.000.
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