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Italy will review F-35 jet programme in 2019 - deputy PM

Italy will review F-35 jet programme in 2019 - deputy PM
FILE PHOTO: Italian Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome, Italy, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo   -   Copyright  Tony Gentile(Reuters)
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ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said F-35 fighter jets are not a priority for the country and that his government would review the programme in 2019.

“I have always been critical and will remain critical of this programme despite it being a great technology … but useless military spending must be cut, not increased,” Di Maio said on Rai3 television.

Di Maio’s 5- Star Movement, part of the governing coalition with the far-right League, has repeatedly said it would cut Italian defence spending and would scrap the F-35 plan.

In June, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said the government would not reduce its order of 90 F-35 jets but rather slow it down, stretching out its purchase plan.

The F-35 stealth jet is made by Lockheed Martin Corp , with companies including Northrop Grumman Corp , United Technologies Corp’s  Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc  also involved.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti, editing by Valentina Za)

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