By Stephen Losey
Oct 20, 2021
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging the White House to fully fund the F-35 Lightning II program in the coming years.
But Senate appropriators are raising concerns about maintenance challenges facing the advanced fifth-generation fighter, and this week questioned the need to buy more F-35s right now.
In a Wednesday letter to President Biden, 89 lawmakers, including Reps. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, and Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said the United States needs to keep investing in F-35s in the fiscal 2023 Defense Department budget request and the Future Years Defense Plan. Veasey and Turner are co-chairs of the congressional Joint Strike Fighter Caucus.
The Pentagon needs to buy at least 100 F-35s for the U.S. military each year, invest in advanced capabilities to stay ahead of threats from adversaries and provide enough funding to sustain the aircraft for decades, the lawmakers wrote in the letter, though they did not spell out specific funding levels.
“It is disappointing that year after year DoD continues to flat-line F-35 production investments, defer needed readiness funding, and underfund advanced capabilities for this critical fleet,” they wrote.[FULL ARTICLE]