Price of Air Force's F-35 dips below $90M for first time

Price of Air Force's F-35 dips below $90M for first time

The price of the Air Force’s version of the F-35 fighter jet has fallen below $90 million per jet for the first time in the program’s history, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin announced Friday.

The price decrease came as part of a $11.5 billion deal announced Friday for production and delivery of 141 more F-35s.

In this latest purchase, the 11th batch, the price of each F-35A is $89.2 million, down from $94.3 million in the 10th batch.

The Marine Corps’ F-35B, meanwhile, will cost $115.5 million, down from the last batch's $122.4 million price tag, and the Navy’s F-35C will cost to $107.7 million, down from $121.2 million in the last batch.

“Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 program executive officer, said in a statement. “We are delivering on our commitment to get the best price for taxpayers and warfighters. This agreement for the next lot of F-35s represents a fair deal for the U.S. government, our international partnership and industry.”

The deal, announced Friday, comes one day after the U.S. military used an F-35 in combat for the first time. An F-35B conducted an airstrike in Afghanistan on Thursday that the military deemed successful.

Critics have decried the F-35 program, the most expensive weapons program in history, as a boondoggle. The Lockheed Martin–made jet has been beset by numerous issues, including cost overruns and technical glitches.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE himself bashed the F-35 during his transition, saying the program’s costs were “out of control.”

More recently, though, he took credit for a cost reduction in the 10th purchase that analysts and Pentagon officials say was in the works before he got involved.

Trump has also hailed the jet as “invisible” because of its stealth technology.

The 141 jets in the 11th batch break down into 102 F-35As, 25 F-35Bs and 14 F-35Cs, according to a news release.

The U.S. military will get 91 of the aircraft, and international partners will get 28. The remaining 22 will be for foreign military sales.

Jets from the 11th batch are expected to be delivered starting in 2019, the release said.

"This agreement marks a significant step forward for the F-35 program as we continue to increase production, reduce costs and deliver transformational capabilities to our men and women in uniform," Greg Ulmer, Lockheed’s F-35 vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "As production ramps up, and we implement additional cost savings initiatives, we are on track to reduce the cost of the F-35A to $80 million by 2020, which is equal to or less than legacy aircraft, while providing a major leap in capability."