F-35 fighter jet crashes on the same day its first combat mission was conducted; Trump believes F-35 is ‘invisible.’

An F-35 fighter jet crashed in South Carolina, the US Marine Corps said, in the first such incident to affect the most expensive defence programme in the world. …

The F-35 Lightning II is built by Lockheed-Martin. Reuters reported earlier on Friday that the Pentagon announced an $11.5bn contract for 141 planes, which “lowered the price for the most common version of the stealthy jet by 5.4% to $89.2m”. …

On the same day, the US military said it carried out its first operation with the plane in Afghanistan. Israel has used its F-35s to carry out strikes.

The planes are equipped with stealth technology to help evade detection by radar. Trump has attracted criticism and ridicule for seeming to believe this makes the jets “invisible”.

Last November, for example, the president told an audience of coast guard officers the US was “ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new airplanes for the air force, especially the F-35”.

“You like the F-35?” he asked. “… You can’t see it. You literally can’t see it. It’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see.”

Trump said he had discussed the plane with “some air force guys” who told him: “Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it, even if it’s right next to it, it can’t see it.”

The F-35 is not invisible.


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