Cutting whole U.S. Navy buy of F-35s would hurt: top officer

WASHINGTON Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:20am EDT

U.S. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Jonathan Greenert (L) inspects a guard of honour during his ceremonial reception in New Delhi April 23, 2012. REUTERS/B Mathur

U.S. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Jonathan Greenert (L) inspects a guard of honour during his ceremonial reception in New Delhi April 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy's top officer on Tuesday underscored his commitment to the C-model, or carrier variant, of Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet, saying it would be "detrimental" if the Navy decided not to buy any of the new radar-evading plans.

But Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert left the door open for possible adjustments in the Navy's planned purchase of 260 jets, saying that the Navy was just "getting into the discussion" about how many of the new F-35s the Navy would need, and when.

Lockheed is building three models of the F-35 for three U.S. military branches and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane's development: Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada. But rising costs, schedule delays and mounting budget pressures have forced some of the potential buyers to rethink their plans.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)