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07:35 AM, June 11, 2019
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Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jet

The United States is reportedly eyeing to sign a $34 Billion mega deal with Lockheed Martin for 478 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters each costing $81.35 million, down from the original $89.2 million, with the manufacturer waiving the price of each aircraft by 8.8 percent.

According to the company, the deal is in a preliminary stage, and a final deal is expected to be sealed in August for the 12th batch of jets. The preliminary agreement details the first year, and lays out agreed upon options for two additional years, because the official purchases cannot be made until the US Congress approves an annual budget for those years.

Under the options covering the second and third years of the purchase, the price of each jet will drop below $80 million. During later years, production would be around 160 jets per year.

The Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin are negotiating on the final details of the contract, which would cover aircraft delivered to the USA, as well as development partners in the Joint Strike Fighter programme and Foreign Military Sales customers.

"I am proud to state that this agreement has achieved an estimated 8.8% savings from Lot 11 to Lot 12 F-35A’s, and an estimated average of 15%” reduction across all variants from Lot 11 to Lot 14," Under Secretary of Defense Ellen Lord said Monday.

"This framework estimates the delivery of an F-35A for less than $80 million in Lot 13, one year earlier than planned," he added.

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