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5 Jul, 2019 04:17

Trump hails out-of-production F-22 as 'brand new', says US army took over airports in 1814

Trump hails out-of-production F-22 as 'brand new', says US army took over airports in 1814

US President Donald Trump baffled listeners by declaring the F-22 Raptor fighter jet “brand new” despite the fact they were last produced eight years ago, and claiming the US Army took over “airports” in 1814.

Trump spent his nearly hour-long Independence Day speech singing the praise of the US military throughout American history. Speaking about its air dominance, he declared that the “skies belong to the United State of America,” right before an Air Force flyover.

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“You will soon see beautiful, brand-new F22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and one magnificent B-2 stealth bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri,” he said.

While people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial may have been in awe, Trump’s remarks raised some eyebrows among industry enthusiasts, who pointed out that the last F-22 Raptors were built in 2011.

In fact, the resources from the F-22 program were shifted to fund the beleaguered F-35 jets, the $1.2 trillion project plagued by technological faults, costs overruns and reliability issues.

The production of F-22 jets was stopped after the US Air Force bought 195 units, four times fewer than was initially planned, before the $63-billion program was cut in 2009 due to high costs and a lack of adversaries.

In all fairness, the F-22 is in the process of getting a weapon upgrade. The jets are set to be fitted with new missile systems that have been in testing for several years, their integration finally beginning in May.  

American army took over airports – before they existed?

It was not the only gaffe that creeped into Trump’s bombastic address. Recounting America’s struggle for independence from the British Empire, Trump spoke about the 1814 battle at Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.

“Our army manned the air, it ran the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant,” Trump said, misdating the existence of the first airports – or airplanes – by about a century.

The blunder sparked a deluge of mockery on Twitter, with some suggesting that the mistake was due to the president misreading his teleprompter.

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