The agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin follows months of doubt over the future of the F-35 program. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devante Williams
Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin for the next 90 F-35 fighter jets in a move officials say lowers the price for the jet.
According to a statement released by the aerospace contractor, the deal represents $728 million in savings and an 8 percent drop in price over the last contract. Lockheed Martin credited President Donald Trump for moving the agreement forward.
"President Trump's personal involvement in the F-35 program accelerated the negotiations and sharpened our focus on driving down the price," Lockheed Martin said in a statement. "The agreement was reached in a matter of weeks and represents significant savings over previous contracts. This is a good deal for the American taxpayer, our country, our company and our suppliers."
The contractor went on to add the deal will equip the U.S. Armed Forces with the latest flight technology, and create 1,800 new jobs at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Pentagon's green light signals a turnaround for the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 program, and follows months of doubt over the future of the effort to deliver 5th generation fighters to the U.S. and its allies.
Before taking office, President Trump targeted the program on Twitter over the cost of the planes. In January, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson assured that both parties were close to reaching an agreement.
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II is a multi-role combat jet designed to replace a variety of U.S. Legacy planes, including the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The program has been marked by several cost overruns and delays.