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Trump blasts F-35 fighters

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Peter Mitchell and Lloyd Jones

The controversial F-35 stealth fighter program, which Australia plans on investing $A24 billion into for more than 70 planes, has been slammed by US President-elect Donald Trump.

The Lockheed Martin-produced aircraft are a key component of defence forces in the US, Australia, Britain, Japan and other allies, but have been dogged by cost blowouts and other problems.

"The F-35 program and cost is out of control," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday.

"Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th."

The program's overall $US400 billion price tag has been dubbed the most expensive weapon system in history.

It is Australia's largest ever defence purchase.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne says Australia remains committed to proceeding with the investment despite the criticism.

Speaking to reporters in London on Monday, Mr Pyne defended Australia's choice of the jet, saying it was "the most potent weapon in the air".

"We're very confident that the Joint Strike Fighter is the right jet for Australia and for the United States and the rest of the world.

"Whether it has been efficiently managed from the United States' point of view in terms of their cost and delays and so on is really a matter for them and for President-elect Trump's opinion."

Shares in Lockheed Martin fell more than three per cent after Mr Trump's tweet.

Other military corporations hcwe also suffered sharemarket falls.

Last week Mr Trump sent Boeing's stock tumbling when he criticised the "out of control costs" for the new Air Force One fleet.

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