Trump hails F-35 fighter jets ‘you literally can’t see’
US President Donald Trump has praised US military equipment while speaking to the Coast Guard ahead of Thanksgiving, saying a new plane the Air Force was ordering was "almost like an invisible fighter".
Mr Trump first mentioned the "invisible" jet when he discussed the F-35 stealth fighter at a military briefing in Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Harvey had hit.
"Amazing job … so amazing we are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new planes for the Air Force, especially the F-35. You like the F-35? … you can't see it. You literally can't see it. It's hard to fight a plane you can't see," Mr Trump said in October.
"That's an expensive plane you can't see. As you heard, we cut the price very substantially. Something that other administrations would never have done — that I can tell you."
While speaking to the Coast Guard, Mr Trump said he had discussed the jet with "Air Force guys", asking if it would perform as well in a dogfight as those in a movie.
"The Navy, I can tell you, we're ordering ships, with the Air Force I can tell you we're ordering a lot of planes, in particular the F-35 fighter jet, which is almost like an invisible fighter," he said.
"In a fight, you know a fight like I watch on the movies … how good is it?" he recalled asking.
"They said, 'Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it, even if it's right next to it'."
The F-35, plagued by development problems and cost overruns, is in fact not invisible to people nearby. Its stealth technology is designed to evade detection by radar and other sensors.
Mr Trump also said his administration was "building up wealth" to spend more on the military.
"Nobody has the equipment that we have. And it's sad when we're selling our equipment to other countries but we're not buying it ourselves," he said.
"But now that's all changed. And I said, the stuff that we have is always a little bit better too. When we sell to other countries, even if they're allies you never know about an ally. An ally can turn. You're going to find that out.
"But I always say make lives a little bit better. Give it that extra speed, a little bit — keep a little bit — keep about 10 per cent in the bag … nobody has what with we have."
Throughout the day — at events and on Twitter — Mr Trump boasted about the economy's performance since he took office, pointing to recent stock market gains and the unemployment rate, along with his efforts to scale back regulations and boost military spending.