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Pentagon makes a deal for 90 F-35 fighters

F-35 jet
An F-35 Lightning II fighter jet prepares to land. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Alex R. Lloyd)

The Pentagon has struck a deal with Lockheed Martin for the purchase of 90 F-35 stealth fighter jets at a cost that adds up to nearly $9 billion, finishing up negotiations highlighted by President Donald Trump’s threats to walk away.

It’s the latest order in what’s expected to amount to nearly $400 billion in sales for Lockheed Martin, involving thousands of the jets.

This round, known as Lot 10, marks the first time that the per-jet purchase price for an F-35A has been below $100 mlilion. Lockheed Martin said Lot 10 reflects a $728 million reduction in the total price, compared with the previous lot.

The cost reduction is basically in line with what Lockheed Martin and Pentagon officials were expecting, even before Trump started complaining about the program last December.

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Air Force One, F-35 deals face Pentagon review

The current Air Force One planes were built more than a quarter-century ago. (White House Photo)
The current Air Force One planes were built more than a quarter-century ago. (White House Photo)

President Donald Trump’s defense secretary, James Mattis, has ordered reviews of the multibillion-dollar programs to acquire new Air Force One jets and more F-35 fighter jets – two programs that sparked his boss’ ire in the run-up to his inauguration.

“Yesterday Secretary Mattis directed separate reviews of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said today in a statement quoted by The Hill. “The purpose of these reviews is to inform programmatic and budgetary decisions, recognizing the critical importance of each of these acquisition programs.”

Lockheed Martin is the main contractor for the F-35 program, which has experienced cost overruns and production delays. The Boeing Co. is working with the Air Force on the specifications for two replacement Air Force One jets to be used for presidential flights.

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