Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the importance of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program to the US military “can hardly be overstated” during his visit to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 assembly plant in Fort Worth, Tex., Aug. 31, 2009. “My view is we cannot afford, as a nation, not to have this airplane,” he said. Here, Gates, standing before an F-35, addresses reporters during the visit.
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