Remember when the F-35 was called “not very good!”, “out of control!” and coming at a “tremendous cost”? Well now, it is a “great plane” all of a sudden, as our President Donald Trump claims to have “fixed all the problems.”
Although F-35 has the same hunk of landing gear, jets, and ejection seats, yet, the plane has been made great again by the POTUS as Defense One states. On Monday, at a meeting with small business leaders at the White House, Trump mentioned,
“The F-35 fighter jet — a great plane by the way, I have to tell you, and Lockheed is doing a very good job as of now. There were great delays, about seven years of delays, tremendous cost overruns. We’ve ended all of that and we’ve got that program really, really now in good shape, so I’m very proud of that.”
So it seems that the “greatness” of a fighter plane lies solely on its costs. Since the POTUS claims to have knocked off $600 million from the latest batch of planes; the “not very good plane” has become better than any other choice. Trump also explained how he managed to do so, via the Washington Post,
“But we cut approximately $600 million off the F-35 fighter, and that only amounts to 90 planes out of close to 3,000 planes. And when you think about $600 million, it was announced by Marillyn, who’s very talented, the head of Lockheed Martin. I got involved in that about a month ago.
A lot was put out, and when they say a lot, a lot meant about 90 planes. They were having a lot of difficulty. There was no movement and I was able to get $600 million approximately off those planes.”
You may be unable to decipher Donald Trump’s natural “poetic” expression. The gist of it is that Trump claims to have gotten involved and met with defense contractors in late December of last year, and got a reduction of $600 million off the price of 90 F-35 planes.
But according to reports from The Post, the head of the F-35 program at the Pentagon already announced a cost reduction of 6 to 7 % per plane on December 20th, which is days before Trump started meeting the defense industry.
This six to seven percent reduction amounts to approximately $600 million, the same amount which Trump claims to have saved due to his negotiation skills.
Better yet, the decline in the cost had been planned for years. The F-35 was designed to get cheaper as the production went on, reports Aviation Week’s Lara Seligman on Twitter.
Here’s a handy chart from my recent @AviationWeek story showing how DOD expects the price of #F35 to drop over the next few years pic.twitter.com/8rm1VLdfo0
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) January 30, 2017
None of this political point-scoring solves the inherent problems with the plane model, but since it has been ‘Made Great Again,’ we may have to deal with it for at least the next four years.
We would like to know your thoughts on the cost cuts of F-35. Comment below!