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The F-35 Program Is About To Get Even More Expensive

U.S. Navy photo courtesy Lockheed Martin via Getty Images.

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The F-35 fighter jet program, the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history, is about to become even more costly.

An upcoming Department of Defense report is expected to state that total acquisition costs for the F-35 will rise by about 7 percent to a minimum of $406.5 billion, contradicting all recent estimates of a cost decrease, Bloomberg reports.

The document, known as a Selected Acquisition Report, will likely be submitted to Congress on Monday.

Previous estimates placed the total cost at $379 billion, which declined $398.5 billion in 2014.

Part of the reason for the cost increase is that the Pentagon is looking to produce 13 more F-35B variants for the Marine Corps. This increase will bring total production up from 2,443 fighter jets to 2,456.

News of a price hike is likely to irritate President Donald Trump, who has long railed against the excessively high costs. Before even taking office, Donald Trump tweeted out in December that F-35 costs were “out of control.”

“Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” Trump stated.

Most recently in April, Trump told The Associated Press in an interview that “This was a thing that was out of control and now it’s great.” He also added in that same interview he reduced the cost of an order of F-35 planes by $700 million. Trump said that costs would continue to decrease on future F-35 jet orders.

However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicated that delays caused by necessary testing will put off full production for at least a year, which could raise the total cost by up to a billion than what was originally budged in 2011.

When the GAO report was released, the Pentagon claimed that the F-35 costs were “stable.”

“With respect to production and operating costs, they are decreasing, making the F-35 more affordable every day,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, executive officer for the F-35 program, said.

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