Thu, 26 Jan 2012 23:07:39 GMT | By The Associated Press

Struggling in US, F-35 fighter pushes sales abroad



TOKYO (AP) — Detractors say the F-35 stealth fighter, the costliest military plane ever, is destined to go down as one of the biggest follies in aviation history. But it may have found a savior: deep-pocketed U.S. allies hungry to add its super high-tech capabilities to their arsenal.

The program marked a major success last month when Japan chose it as a replacement for 42 aircraft. It was the F-35's first victory in an open-bidding competition, though countries from Britain to Israel previously made commitments.

With U.S. defense budget cuts looming and many critics still unconvinced, foreign support is a make-or-break issue for the program, which has been described as too big to fail. It could become the cornerstone of global air strategy, or a trillion-dollar bust.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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