Japan has obtained discounts on support equipment for its next batch of six F-35 stealth fighter aircraft worth about US$100 million each, Reuters reported quoting unnamed sources and Japanese budget papers.
The discounts are in addition to savings being finalised for all buyers of the high-tech jets, once touted a the most expensive fighter jet in the world.
The deal underscores progress for the Lockheed Martin Corp-run F-35 program, which has faced criticisms over cost overruns and other problems, Reuters reported today.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who had criticised the F-35 program as "out of control" in December, had appreciated Lockheed Martin for prompt response by cutting off some $600 million from the latest U.S. deal to buy about 90 F-35s from Lockheed.
However, the discount hailed by Trump was in line with what Lockheed Martin had intended to do for months as the price would go down as the number of production units increased.
“Negotiations over the current batch of fighters, known in the industry as LRIP 10, were continuing.” a spokesperson for the U.S. Defense Department office which runs the F-35 program was quoted by Reuters as saying.
"For every nation that buys an F-35 in LRIP 10, the base price of the F-35 will be the lowest in F-35 history," Lockheed spokesman Michael Rein told Reuters.
The price of the F-35 has been dropping with each new batch as Lockheed and the U.S. government ramp up production, helping to lower overall costs.
Even Japan had further trimmed the price for its latest order on ground support costs such as parts, logistics and technical assistance.