The head of BAE Systems, a partner with Lockheed Martin on the F-35 fighter jet program, contradicted claims by President Donald Trump that he was responsible for lopping $728 million off the price of the Pentagon’s latest warplane order.
The contract’s lower price, valued at $8.2 billion, is due to savings achieved through a long-planned increase in production, Chief Executive Officer Ian King told analysts on Thursday. On a per-plane basis, savings on the order for 90 jets exceeded the $600 million that Trump initially said he had achieved.
“In terms of the projected prices, they were all to do with the ramp-up in [production] rates and were well-advertised,” King said. “But if somebody wants to take credit for that finalization, negotiation, then they can take credit for that negotiation if they wish.”
Trump tweeted after his election that costs on the military program were “out of control,” then met personally with Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson.
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Defense Department officials and Lockheed “were very close on price prior to President Trump’s involvement,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s former chief weapons buyer, said this month.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.