Lockheed Martin Secures $8.5 Billion Deal With Pentagon for F-35 Jets
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics gets a $8.5 billion deal from Pentagon to deliver 90 units of F-35 multirole fighter plane. This order is the lowest price after last December’s criticism from President Trump over a costly F-35 program.
According to Reuters, with $95 million price per aircraft, the deal is a tenth of the previous batch at the price of $102 million. The price reduction meant a $728 million budget savings for the Department of Defense. Lockheed Martin acknowledged in a statement that President Trump has personally involved in negoatiation process to bring down the price of F-35.
“President Trump’s personal involvement in the F-35 program accelerated the negotiations,” Lockheed Martin’s statement read. “and sharpened our focus on driving down the price.”
Prior to the Pentagon order, Lockheed Martin has sent its first shipment of F-35 to Israel in December last year. The shipment made Israel to be the first country beside United States to have a fully functional a F-35 squadron. The increase in the production with increased order will significantly reduce the price per jet.
The F-35 is the most expensive project from Pentagon in history. According to Wall Street Journal, the forecast cost of acquiring more than 2,400 jets for many decades reached $380 billion. That excluded the $1 trillion of operating cost.
Pentagon and Lockheed Martin continue to negotiate the price reduction and the cost o F-35 has decreased steadily. Department of Defense expected the next batch of F-35 will have another reduction by 6 to 7 percent.
F-35 is the fifth generation of combat aircraft with capability to perform ground attack and air defense. F-35 is the continuation of the Joint Strike Fighter program between the U.S. and its allies in the early 2000’s to select the next generation combat airplane. The program was initiated to replace the aging F-16, A-10 and F/A-18 aircrafts which currently operating.
On August last year, U.S. Air Force has announced the first combat-ready F-35 squadron. The F-35 will be a Watch the special report from the ABC News regarding the F-35 program below: