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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: 484675

Reported Deaths: 9480
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33151493
Hinds31184589
DeSoto30803365
Jackson23735349
Rankin21390373
Lee14963221
Madison14206272
Jones13430227
Forrest13199241
Lauderdale11623307
Lowndes10501176
Lamar10258130
Pearl River9151221
Lafayette8268137
Hancock7534113
Washington7144152
Oktibbeha6989124
Monroe6533167
Neshoba6489201
Warren6486166
Pontotoc632993
Panola6278127
Marshall6165126
Bolivar6129145
Union576089
Pike5626138
Alcorn540590
Lincoln5310132
George473572
Scott461596
Leflore4495140
Tippah448180
Prentiss447979
Itawamba4457100
Adams4429117
Tate4420103
Wayne434667
Simpson4339114
Copiah432988
Yazoo423686
Covington417192
Sunflower4155104
Marion4111104
Coahoma3986100
Leake398286
Newton372375
Grenada3565104
Stone351360
Tishomingo338389
Attala325987
Jasper316062
Winston305691
Clay297374
Chickasaw287866
Clarke283290
Calhoun267741
Holmes262887
Smith252249
Yalobusha224347
Tallahatchie221150
Walthall211758
Greene209945
Lawrence207034
Perry201054
Amite199452
Webster196942
Noxubee179339
Montgomery172954
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162537
Tunica154235
Benton143035
Kemper138840
Choctaw128826
Claiborne127134
Humphreys127038
Franklin116928
Quitman104227
Wilkinson102036
Jefferson91533
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 790648

Reported Deaths: 14025
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1117431765
Mobile709021237
Madison50032633
Shelby36350315
Baldwin36278495
Tuscaloosa34034548
Montgomery33229678
Lee22712220
Calhoun21297410
Morgan19852335
Etowah19341462
Marshall17716274
Houston16862386
St. Clair15479305
Cullman14659258
Limestone14609188
Elmore14507264
Lauderdale13557281
Talladega13015236
DeKalb12214237
Walker10604330
Blount9735157
Autauga9691137
Jackson9400158
Coffee8934175
Dale8631173
Colbert8545184
Tallapoosa6688181
Escambia6599121
Covington6466167
Chilton6395144
Russell608755
Franklin5805101
Chambers5425134
Marion4818120
Dallas4713189
Clarke464079
Pike463297
Geneva4433117
Winston427395
Lawrence4124108
Bibb410281
Barbour347470
Marengo326485
Monroe320253
Butler318490
Randolph306656
Pickens306474
Henry302658
Hale293085
Cherokee290855
Fayette280373
Washington245548
Crenshaw238770
Cleburne236751
Clay229265
Macon220658
Lamar200443
Conecuh182046
Coosa170835
Lowndes170858
Wilcox159736
Bullock149543
Perry136537
Sumter124736
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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