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F-35 Contract Talks Continue Amid Trump Claim Of Lower Jet Cost

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann
Luke’s first F-35 Lightning II.

Luke Air Force Base in Glendale will eventually have more F-35 Lightning II fighters than any other military outpost, and negotiations continue on a contract to build the next batch of jets.

President Donald Trump griped about the cost of the F-35 shortly after winning the November election. On Monday, Trump said $600 million has already been slashed from the cost of the next batch of roughly 90 fighter jets.

Lockheed Martin manufactures the F-35. The company responded with a statement that did not specifically address the $600 million figure floated by Trump.

“We appreciate President Trump’s comments this morning on the positive progress we’ve made on the F-35 program,” the statement said. “We share his commitment to delivering this critical capability for our men and women in uniform at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.”

Luke Air Force Base will eventually house more than 140 F-35s, though it is unclear how many from the next batch will be sent there.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.