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Pentagon reportedly muscles in to speed up cost-cutting of F35 jet

F35-A fighter jet
Source: Lockheed Martin
F35-A fighter jet

The Pentagon is reportedly set to take greater control of cost-cutting efforts to the F-35 combat jet program.

Dubbed the world's most expensive weapon, the price of developing the F-35 has risen to an estimated $406.5 billion, according to July data.

A contractor-led effort, spearheaded by principal manufacturer Lockheed Martin, has been deemed too slow to deliver savings.

Now, according to a Wall Street Journal report, the Donald Trump administration wants smaller suppliers to be placed under more scrutiny and has pushed the Pentagon to take greater control.

"Using a contract vehicle instead of an agreement with industry provides the government with greater insights into the cost savings efforts," said a spokesperson for the Trump administration's F-35 program office.

The U.S. government has granted Lockheed a further $60 million to pursue savings, with a quarter of the cash to be spent on F35-related projects outside of main contracts agreed with BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin itself.

The last sale from Lockheed Martin priced each F-35A jet to the Pentagon at $94.6 million each, but President Trump has since said that price is too high.

According to the WSJ report, the cost-saving drive aims to reduce the price of each plane to around $80 million by 2020.

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