December 21, 2018 / 8:01 AM / 6 months ago

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

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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