On Monday, President Donald Trump spoke to the press and stated that he was able to make a deal with Lockheed Martine that would cut off approximately $600 million dollars from the price of the controversial F-35 fighter jet program.
“We cut approximately $600 million off the F-35 fighter, and that only amounts to 90 planes out of close to 3,000 planes,” Trump told reporters. “And when you think about $600 million, it was announced by Marillyn, who’s very talented, the head of Lockheed Martin. I got involved in that about a month ago. A lot was put out, and when they say a lot, a lot meant about 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.”
“There were great delays, about seven years of delays, tremendous cost overruns,” Trump said. “We’ve ended all that, and we’ve got that program really, really now in good shape.”
“We appreciate President Trump’s comments this morning on the positive progress we’ve made on the F-35 program. We share his commitment to delivering this critical capability for our men and women in uniform at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement on Monday.
Donald Trump met with Hewson twice before his inauguration. In December, Trump criticized the company for the “tremendous cost and cost overruns” and stated that he asked Boeing to price-out a comparable jet. Hewson told reporters after a meeting on January 13th with the soon-to-be President that they were “close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”
As it stands, the cost of a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is approximately $100 million per plane. The company has stated that it plans to increase the volume of production and expect the cost of the planes to drop to about $85 million.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis ordered a review of the F-35 as well as the Air Force One programs to assess the budgetary concerns.