The price of one F-35 variant is less than $100 million per plane in the Air Force’s newest contract for the fighter jet that President Donald Trump has singled out as too expensive, CNBC reported Friday.
Adding up the per-plane cost savings, the new deal will save $738 million on the program, which is better than the $600 million Trump said he saved taxpayers earlier this week. (RELATED: Trump: I Got Lockheed Martin To Cut The F-35 Program By $600 Million)
The Air Force will buy 90 F-35A fighter jets from manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which are used by the Air Force, for about $94 million each.
“President Trump’s personal involvement in the F-35 program accelerated the negotiations and sharpened our focus on driving down the price,” Lockheed said in a statement Friday. “The agreement was reached in a matter of weeks and represents significant savings over previous contracts.”
“Another big win the president has delivered on for U.S. taxpayers,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said when he announced the contract in a briefing Friday. Typically, the Department of Defense waits for the end of the day to announce big defense contracts.
The Pentagon has been negotiating the new contract, called the LRIP-10, referring to the low-rate initial production process used to procure the fighter jets, for over a year. Trump took negotiations before the inauguration, tweeting in December that the F-35 program was “too expensive.” Trump met several times with Lockheed CEO Marrilyn Hewson to discuss the future of the program.
“The LRIP-10 contract is a good and fair deal for the taxpayers, the U.S. government, allies and industry,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, chief of the F-35 program acquisition, said. “We continue to work with industry to drive costs out of the program.”
The Department of Defense purchases two other F-35 variants, which still cost over $100 million each. The Navy variant, the F-35B, costs around $122.8 million per jet and the Marines’ F-35C costs around $121.8 million in the most recent contract, Breaking Defense reports.
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