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Trump touts sale of nonexistent fighter jet

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the first of 52 "F-52 and F-35" fighter jets have been delivered t...

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 12:05 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2018 12:05 PM

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the first of 52 "F-52 and F-35" fighter jets have been delivered to Norway -- proudly touting the "$10 billion" sale of military equipment to the NATO ally during a news conference with the Norwegian prime minister.

Trump's affinity for promoting foreign military sales has been well documented over the course of his presidency but his latest remarks have raised some eyebrows due to one glaring problem: There is no indication that the F-52 fighter jet exists.

Trump's affinity for promoting foreign military sales has been well documented

Standing beside Norway's prime minister, Trump highlighted the sale of fictional jets

Standing alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House, Trump highlighted the sale of fictional jets as evidence of growing economic and defense ties between the two nations.

"In November we started delivering the first F-52s and F-35 fighter jets," Trump said. "We have a total of 52 and they've delivered a number of them already a little ahead of schedule."

Trump appeared to read the comments from a prepared statement and likely mistook the number of aircraft in the deal -- 52 -- for part of a designation for a separate jet.

Lockheed Martin -- the primary defense contractor for the fifth-generation F-35 fighter -- declined to comment on whether a F-52 aircraft is in development but the company has never publicly mentioned plans for an aircraft by that name.

As pointed out by The Washington Post, Trump's comments are not the first reference to an aircraft called the F-52. While fictional when it comes to actual US aircraft, the jet does exist within the virtual realm of the popular "Call of Duty" video game franchise.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for clarification on Trump's comments.

While the F-52 may be available only to video game enthusiasts, the F-35 is a very real and controversial military machine. With a $400 billion price tag that is double the original budget, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in history.

The cost of the aircraft has generated strong head winds of criticism, particularly from Trump, who has previously claimed to have directly helped saved billions on the jet.

But the stealth fighter jet is also touted as the most lethal and versatile aircraft of the modern era -- combining advanced stealth capabilities, radar-jamming abilities, supersonic speed, extreme agility and state-of-the-art sensor fusion technology.

The single-engine F-35 comes in three variants: The A version is flown by the Air Force, the B version by the Marines and the C version will become part of the Navy's fleet.

Last year, Defense Secretary James Mattis called the F-35 "critical" for US air superiority and praised it for its ability to integrate with allies who are buying the jet.

Many US allies have "bet their air superiority on the F-35 program. It bonds us tightly together with them," Mattis said.

Several US allies -- including Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Belgium, Denmark and Turkey -- have committed to purchasing their own versions of the F-35 and some nations have already received their first orders of the aircraft.

As Trump mentioned on Wednesday, Norway plans to purchase up to 52 F-35s but the Norwegian government has authorized funding for only 40 aircraft to date, according to Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Carolyn Nelson.

"Norway has taken delivery of 10 F-35s to date, three of which arrived at -rland Air Base, Norway, in November 2017 and seven are stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where Norwegian pilots are conducting training," Nelson told CNN.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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