Lockheed Martin and The Department of Defense have negotiated a new order for F-35 jets. According to the deal announced on Friday, the American aerospace firm will supply 90 F-35 jets to the US for $8.5bn (£6.81bn).
The deal marked Pentagon's tenth batch of orders for the stealth fighter aircraft. Also, the agreement puts the price of each F-35 aircraft at below $95m, which is said to be the lowest price given by Lockheed Martin in 16 years.
Compared to the previous batch, where each F-35 cost $102m, the US Government is said to have saved $728m. This was more than the $600m savings that US President Donald Trump had claimed to have achieved recently from the F-35 programme.
The reduction in prices also follows Trump criticising the Pentagon's F-35 programme during his election campaigns. He had pledged to bring military expenditures down.
Trump had not only threatened to close down the programme, but had also suggested he could consider rival Boeing to provide the US with an alternative fighter jet.
Lockheed Martin too credited Trump for the reduction in price. "President Trump's personal involvement in the F-35 program accelerated the negotiations and sharpened our focus on driving down the price," it was quoted as saying by Reuters.
However, defense analysts argued that the reduction in price had nothing to do with Trump's involvement. They said the lower price was in line with what both Lockheed and Pentagon officials had been expecting for some time.
This follows Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office saying in a briefing on 19 December that the next set of F-35 orders would be purchased for a lower price. He had said that the cost per plane would decrease by about "6 to 7 percent" in the next contract.
The F-35 program is Pentagon's most expensive weapons programme, costing about $400bn. While Lockheed is the prime contractor, its partners include Northrop Grumman Corp, United Technologies Corp's Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc.