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

February 9, 2017

The United States and aerospace giants Lockheed Martin have announced Friday that they have reduced the cost of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets substantially, bringing its price tag below the $100 million mark for the first time.

The A model will now run at $94.6 million, down 7.3 percent from the previous order. The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing variant of the stealth jet fighter used by the Air Force. It represents 85 percent of all crafted F-35s, according to the Pentagon.

The short takeoff and vertical landing B model used by the Marines and the U.K. will run $122.8 million per unit. And the F-35C used on aircraft carriers will cost $121.8 million.

F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan said in a statement the new contract “is a good and fair deal for the taxpayers, the U.S. government, allies and industry.”

In total, the agreement saves $728 million, Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon said in a statement. 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 new order consists of 76 F-35A’s for the U.S. and its allies, 12 F-35B’s for the U.S. and U.K., and 2 F-35Cs for the U.S. Navy.

President Donald Trump’s “personal involvement” in the negotiations “accelerated” the talks and “sharpened our focus on driving down the price,” Lockheed said. In all, the F-35 program currently plans to produce more than 3,000 aircraft, with more than 600 to be delivered to Washington’s international allies, including Turkey. The Pentagon said the new order includes 55 jets for the U.S. and 35 planes for international partners. Turkey is set to receive two F-35As.

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