WASHINGTON DC – Lockheed Martin, the US military giant, has agreed to reduce the price of its F-35 stealth fighters by 10% since Boeing is also making an offer and is being considered as an alternative option by the US military.
US President Donald Trump himself has repeatedly criticized the F-35 program as “out of control.”
Lockheed Martin has made a new price proposal to the Pentagon for its most affordable fighter, the F-35A.
The company proposes to sell the aircraft for less than $80 million each if the US Department of Defense buys 100 aircraft, Defense One reported. The price of each aircraft in the deal signed in September was $89.5 million. In 2017, the company sold the F-35 for $94.6 million.
Investigative reporter Dave Lindorff said that the actual production costs of both Lockheed and Boeing aircraft are far below the price that is demanded by the companies.
“This is a perfect example of why the US has the most expensive military the world has ever known. It’s what the late Seymour Melman, a Columbia University industrial engineer and long-time critic of the US military, called “Pentagon capitalism,” Lindorff said.
According Lindorff, armament manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing negotiate contracts based on artificially inflated costs, which guarantees them a good profit regardless of the inevitable overruns, and sometimes takes several years or even several decades. The armament goes from the design phase to production. The result is that the price of armament has little or nothing to do with actual production costs.
Lindorff explained that this whole situation worsens even more when the US Department of Defense adds new requirements or introduces changes in the mission to which the weapon is intended.
The research reporter also noted that if Lockheed is able to cut the price of each aircraft by as much as $10 million, this only proves that the price has been inflated artificially.
The F-35 fighter’s production program is known as America’s most expensive weapon system, having been criticized several times by Donald Trump for its reliability problems since he was elected president and promised to cut spending on military purchases.
However, Dave Lindorff believes that while the country’s largest suppliers are struggling for lucrative deals, it’s the US citizens who are really losing.