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Top Pentagon officials on Tuesday underscored their support for the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter, saying they would try to protect funding for the most expensive weapons program despite continued budget uncertainty and cost over-runs.

The $396 billion program is already seven years behind schedule and 70 percent over initial cost estimates.

“We’ll try to protect F-35,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top arms buyer, told a defense conference. “There’s no question about its priority. Despite sequestration, we’ll still have a budget that’s adequate to support F-35.”

Read the rest of Andrea Shalal-Esa’s Reuters report at Reuters.com

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