The US Air Force has reportedly stopped purchases of a $1,220 (£945) hi-tech coffee cup following criticism of its "reckless" spending.

The hi-tech copper and chrome-plated beakers plugged into aircraft electrical systems to keep drinks warm on flights, but their fragile handles meant they broke easily.

US Air Force secretary Heather Wilson said the military department has spent $326,785 (£253,426) on 391 cups since 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Staff at the Travis Air Force Base in California reportedly purchased the cups at a cost of nearly $56,000 (£43,428) over three years, despite the fact it has the ability to 3D print replacement handles for 50 cents.

Image: Heather Wilson has said replacement handles can be printed for '50 cents each'

The base said the cups have risen to their current price from $693 (£537) each in 2016, with the increase in price due to a lack of replacement plastic handles.

Air mobility command spokesman Colonel Chris Karns said those who try to buy the item will now receive a message saying "do not order until further notice", the Air Force Times reports.

He said: "Everyone recognises that the costs are excessive.

"That's why the change came about.

"I don't think you can find a single person who believes what was paid was an acceptable cost."

Republican senator Chuck Grassley wrote to Ms Wilson earlier this month demanding answers about "yet another" report of wasteful Pentagon spending.

He complained about the "reckless spending of taxpayer dollars".

Ms Wilson responded last week saying it is "simply irresponsible" to spend so much money on such matters.

She blamed the price tag on many suppliers having either gone out of business or stopped producing certain parts.

Ms Wilson said the air force is working to remedy the issue by exploring several ways of making its own parts and carrying out in-house repairs.

She wrote: "We recently demonstrated capability to 3D print replacement handles for this item at a cost of about 50 cents each."

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US politicians have passed large increases in US defence spending under President Donald Trump, but have also complained about the high cost of some items.

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