NEVATIM AIR BASE, Israel Lockheed Martin has invested large sums of money to reduce the price of the F-35 stealth fighter program, a company executive said in Israel on Monday, responding to criticism from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump about costs.
"Since the beginning, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce the price of the airplane by about 70 percent since its original costing, and we project it to be about 85 million dollars in the 2019 or 2020 time frame", said Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin's F-35 program leader.
Babione was in Israel for the arrival of the first F-35s ordered by the Israeli air force. Trump wrote on Twitter earlier on Monday that the F-35 program and cost is "out of control" and that billions of dollars can be saved on military and other purchases once he is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
(Reporting by Ori Lewis; Writing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Luke Baker)