Pentagon trying to try trim 5% off of $12 billion price of 130 F35 plane order

The Pentagon, under the direction of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, has been exploring how to cut the costs of its most expensive weapons program.

The deal for last year’s annual purchase contract, struck this February, put the standard takeoff and landing version of the jet at the lowest price ever, $94.6 million, a 7.3 percent reduction from the previous annual purchase price of $102 million.

The current negotiations are for a batch of about 130 planes. The talks could shave 5-7 percent, or $660 million, from the approximately 100 standard takeoff and landing “A-model” jets for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. allies. They are trying to get the price down to about $90 million. The total price will be about $11-12 billion for the 130 plane f35 order.

Trimming relatively small amounts of the initial price will likely end up having Lockheed make up for it in operations and maintenance contracts.