President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet on Dec. 22—where he stated that he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet” because of the sheer expense of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—was met with derision by journalists and Washington’s political elite.
While it is true that no version of the F/A-18E/F will ever be able to offer an exact analogue of the F-35’s capabilities, the reaction inside the Beltway was typically biased. Trump’s statement cannot be interpreted exactly literally. More likely, the President-elect was suggesting that a variant of the Super Hornet airframe could meet many of the capabilities that the F-35 offers at a more reasonable price.
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