US, Lockheed bring cost of F-35A under $100 million

Lockheed credits Trump's involvement in deal for 90 F-35 jets

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After Trump's $600 million claim earlier this week, Lockheed offered a statement of appreciation that Trump had recognized "the positive progress we've made on the F-35 program". Recent criticism of the program's cost by President Donald Trump served to expedite the contract negotiations, Lockheed Martin acknowledged.

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have reached a deal on the 10th batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Friday.

The final price for the Air Force's F-35A version in the 10th contract is $94.6 million including the aircraft, engine and fee, 7.3 percent less than in the previous tranche.

In total, the Lot 10 contract represents a $728 million reduction when compared to Lot 9.

"The LRIP-10 contract is a good and fair deal for the taxpayers, the U.S. Government, allies, and Industry", said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer, in a statement.

The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II supersonic aircraft, which started its operational testing on the amphibious assault ship USS America. "The agreement was reached in a matter of weeks and represents significant savings over previous contracts".

Lockheed said it was able to lower costs based on an increased number of requested planes, which allowed it to take "advantage of economies of scale and production efficiencies".

The latest "contract is a good and fair deal for the taxpayers, the US government, allies and industry", Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer, said in a statement. "We continue to work with Industry to drive costs out of the program". In July 2014, the DOD announced a "Blueprint for Affordability" agreement with Lockheed Martin and suppliers Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems to reduce the F-35 price to that of a fourth-generation fighter by 2019 through the implementation of manufacturing process improvements.

That's about $100 million more than Department of Defense negotiators predicted they would wrangle and $128 million more than Trump, himself, boasted he had wrung out of Lockheed Martin on Monday.

The Navy's F-35C will cost $121.8 million, down 7.9 percent.

Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who runs the F-35 program for the Pentagon, said on December 19 the cost per plane should decrease about "6 to 7 percent" for the latest contract.

The LRIP-10 contract includes 55 jets for the USA and 35 for seven worldwide partners and foreign military sales clients.

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