The American Air Force has grounded its whole fleet of F35 fighter jets, described as the most sophisticated and expensive in the history of combat aviation. Media reports suggest that the Trump administration has found a legitimate excuse to get rid of the fleet as it has been an Obama-era obsession for nigh-on eight years.
The $100million jet is being offered on Amazon for a knockdown price of $68million, refitted with new fuel pipes. Some buyers have asked for a further discount, due to the high price of oil in the world market, and the fact that the F35 is also quite a guzzler.
A number of countries including Saudi Arabia, Mexico, North Korea and Papua New Guinea, have already purchased a number of jets which were delivered by American aircraft carriers. The planes were not flown in to the respective buyer countries because of the aforementioned fuel pipe problems. Buyers were assured that fixing the problem was a pipe dream.
News has leaked out that an interested buyer was the New Zealand Air Force, and that following a cabinet meeting, it was deemed necessary to show some form of aggressive intent towards its neighbour, Australia, following a scrappy rugby match between the two traditional rivals, which saw Australia squeak home by two points.
However, the cost of the F35 was deemed a bit too steep at $68million, and thus the Labour government with vociferous support from the Greens agreed to buy half a jet at a piffling $30million. It was not until the money was transferred to Lockheed Martin that the NZ government realised that the price was in US dollars not Kiwi dollars. The final price of $46million did not go down well with the NZ taxpayer. Aviation experts also argued that it would be more expensive to fly half a plane, if it ever flew at all.
A diplomatic kerfuffle was averted when, under pressure from the White House, New Zealand's traditional foes in rugby, Australia, agreed to buy the missing half of the F35 jet.
Plans are also afoot to patch up the two halves to make the craft airworthy.
Shares of 3M, manufacturer of Scotch tape have climbed 30% following the announcement.
The governments of Australia and New Zealand have agreed to honour the new patched-up acquisition as a sign of earnest co-operation and positive relations. It was also agreed that the Prime Minister of New Zealand will take the controls of the inaugural flight, as the jet is a single-seater aircraft.
This, of course, has led to the Australian government threatening a rupture in diplomatic relations if they didn't have first go at the inaugural flight of the patched-up jet. This was contrary to established etiquette, as the PM of New Zealand is a lady, and in deference, the male PM of Australia should have graciously agreed. Besides, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson of the New Zealand government declared that their PM is a maiden, and thus the right choice for a 'maiden' flight.
The argument was rejected outright, and, as war clouds gathered, Mr Trump, exercising the wisdom of Solomon, said he had no option but to cleave the plane in two halves again, scotch tape be damned! (3M shares took a tumble on the news). However, cooler heads prevailed, and it was mutually agreed to settle the matter at a rugby match labelled the 'Decider.'
At the time of writing, both countries are awaiting the announcement of the date of the game pending the resolution of another diplomatic stand-off on where the game is to be played-- Auckland or Melbourne.