When the stealthy hi-tech F-35 fighter jet tears through Paris skies on its first ever acrobatic displays this week, the jet will also be sending a message: NATO allies, the United States is still on your side.
In an Associated Press interview at the opening Monday of the Paris Air Show, a senior F-35 Air Force administrator, Brigadier General Select Todd Canterbury, said the daily displays of the new jet are to showcase its abilities and "reassure (allies) that we are committed to NATO 100 percent and that we have got the capability to respond to any action necessary."
U.S. President Donald Trump has called NATO obsolete and excoriated European allies last month for not spending enough on their own defenses.
Canterbury, director of the Air Force F-35 Integration Office at the Pentagon, also spoke about recent problems that grounded F-35s at Luke Airforce Base in Arizona. Since May 2, F-35 pilots on five occasions reported symptoms of oxygen deprivation, he said.
Engineers, test pilots, medics and others experts are "digging into this problem 24 hours a day," to try to identify the cause, Canterbury said.
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