PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, Md. (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. military is committed to developing the Marine Corps version of the next-generation strike fighter jet, but warns the program is “not out of the woods yet.”
Panetta says the Pentagon needs “to make sure we’re on the cutting edge” of military technology. And he says the F-35, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, is absolutely vital to maintaining America’s air superiority.
He spoke as he stood in front of one of the fighter aircraft at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, where the program is run.
The Marine’s version of the jet has faced schedule delays and cost overruns and the program was placed on probation by former defense chief Robert Gates.
Panetta says the probation period is over.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)