Lockheed Martin to Trump: We’ve already cut F-35 costs

Lockheed Martin to Trump: We’ve already cut F-35 costs
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In response to criticism from President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE, Lockheed Martin says it has already spent large sums of money reducing the price of its F-35 stealth fighter jet program.

“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 costing,” Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program leader, said Monday, according to Reuters.

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“We project it to be about 85 million dollars in the 2019 or 2020 time frame,” Babione added at Nevatim Air Base in Israel, where he attended the arrival of the first F-35s ordered by the Israeli air force.

Trump said earlier Monday that when he takes office he would work to control the cost of military contracts.

“Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” he tweeted, referencing his inauguration.

Trump’s tweet comes after he attended the annual football game between West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, where four F-35s conducted a flyover before the contest.

A CNN report over the summer noted that the F-35’s cost has risen to $400 billion to produce 2,457 planes — nearly twice the estimated cost.

More than 1,000 planes were to have been delivered by 2016, but only 179 had been sent as of April this year.

Trump’s criticism of Lockheed Martin, which builds the F-35, is the second time in two weeks he has targeted a military contractor.

Trump last week slammed Boeing for the cost of its new Air Force One, causing the company’s stocks to seesaw.

“Cancel order!” he tweeted of Boeing’s project.

The cost and time overruns of delivering the F-35 has made it a target of critics in Congress, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit NY Daily News cover following Helsinki summit shows Trump shooting Uncle Sam MORE (R-Ariz.).

McCain called a $6.1 billion deal reached between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin last month “the height of acquisition malpractice."