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Pentagon leaders made clear recently the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is under continued scrutiny, expressing doubt about buying all three aircraft variants as well as attempts to revive the jet's contested alternate engine.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey shared these view when fielding a wide array of weapon- system questions during their first hearing before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). The hearing came as the panel and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) reaffirmed their opposition to additional defense budget reductions to a federal-deficit-cutting committee.
Dempsey said he does not know if the Pentagon can afford to buy different variants of Lockheed Martin's [LMT] F-35 for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.
Robert Gates, the former …