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)