Lockheed Martin says company already cut F-35 costs

Lockheed Martin executive says company already cut F-35 costs in response to Donald Trump’s tweet against the company’s costs.

NEVATIM, ISRAEL (DECEMBER 12, 2016) (REUTERS) – Lockheed Martin has invested large sums of money to reduce the price of the F-35 stealth fighter programme, a company executive said in Israel on Monday (December 12), responding to criticism from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump about costs.

“Since the beginning, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce the price of the airplane by about 70 percent since its original LRIPs(low rate initial production costing), and we are projected to be at 85 million dollars in the 2019 or the 2020 time frame,” said Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme leader.

Babione was in Israel for the arrival of the first F-35s ordered by the Israeli air force.

“It’s exciting to be bringing this airplane and its capabilities to the country and we are excited. I hear good news, that hopefully soon it’ll be working it’s way here from Italy so I’m confident that we will be able to have this airplane here very shortly,” he told reporters after fog in Italy delayed the take-off of the stealth jets, meant to boost Israel’s air force.

Trump wrote on Twitter earlier on Monday that the F-35 programme and cost is “out of control” and that billions of dollars can be saved on military and other purchases once he is inaugurated on Jan. 20.