Lockheed's F-35 snubbed ahead of the Paris Air Show

Lockheed's F-35 snubbed ahead of the Paris Air Show

The Air Force and Marine Corps were not invited to fly the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 at the Paris Air Show this June, Defense News reported

The F-35 was passed over despite the fact that the fifth-generation fighter jet was featured prominently at major international air shows in the United Kingdom last year.

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A spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office told Defense News that that two services had not been invited to bring the F-35 to the Paris Air Show, held at Le Bourget Airport, so the office will not attend. The news was first reported by Aviation Week.

The Paris Air Show and the Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K. are the two largest airshows in Europe, held in alternating years. The host nation invites participants for flight demonstrations.

The U.K. is an international partner and customer of the F-35 program, but France buys the domestic Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft.

The Marine Corps debuted the F-35B at Farnborough last year, and the Air Force’s F-35A flew at the Royal International Air Tattoo air show, also in the U.K.

Lockheed Martin is still likely to market the F-35 during the Paris Air Show, as the world’s largest defense contractor hopes to sell the fighter jet to Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Spain. 

Critics have long criticized Lockheed Martin's F-35 program, estimated to cost $400 billion for 2,457 planes, as a costly boondoggle.

President Trump was among the critics, tweeting prior to his inauguration that the costs of the program were “out of control.”

But lately, Trump has taken credit for negotiating a cost decrease, though experts have said the price per plane was already on the decline.

In tweets, Trump also pitted Lockheed against rival Boeing, saying that he asked Boeing to price out an F-18 that’s comparable to the F-35.