President Donald Trump told a group of reporters on Monday that he’d talked to Lockheed Martin and succeeded in knocking “approximately $600 million off the F-35 fighter.”
However ,”that only amounts to 90 planes, out of almost 3,000 planes,” said Trump, perhaps referring to Lockheed’s tenth batch of of F-35s, which includes 90 planes.
“They were having a lot of difficulty, there was no movement, and I was able to get $600 million approximately off those planes,” said Trump
Reuters reports that Trump said he appreciated Lockheed’s response to his concerns about the budget and schedule overruns of the troubled F-35.
Lockheed echoed the sentiment, saying in a statement that they “share [Trump’s] commitment to delivering this critical capability for our men and women in uniform at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.”
But the price of F-35s has decreased across the board, as expected, as the production cycle matures. Lockheed Martin’s statement did not clarify how exactly Trump aided the process.
As it stands, the US plans to about 1,763 F-35s for the Air Force, 260 for the Navy, and 353 for the Marine Corps, with each variant currently costing just north of $100-130 million per jet. This adds up to just under 2,400 planes, yet Trump pegged that number at around 3,000 on Monday.
Experts have suggested that the price of the F-35 could come down if the US and partner nations agreed on a bigger buy, but Trump has indicated a willingness to actually do the opposite.
On Friday, Trump’s Secretary of Defence James Mattis announced that the F-35C naval variant would face off against Boeing’s Advanced Super Hornet concept, an updated to the long-serving F-18 Super Hornet.
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