The US Air Force has been asked to reassess the future need for building F-35 fighters during the current quadrennial defence review (QDR).

The QDR is a US planning exercise that identifies the weapons needed in future taking into account the military and civil capabilities of all nations, potential opponents and wars that may take place in the next decades.

The F-35 is a military strike multirole fighter built by Lockheed Martin to perform close air support, tactical bombing and air defence missions.

The reduced need for the fighters is also being attributed to the increasing perception that other countries are equipping themselves with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to gain the edge in air warfare.

UAV fighters are smaller, cheaper and stealthier, and they can be programmed to perform more complex manoeuvres than manned fighters could ever perform due to ergonomical limitations.

The US Air Force is now planning to develop the sixth-generation fighters without human pilots.