Trump discusses cutting F-35, Air Force One costs

AFPWASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met Wednesday with some of the U.S. military’s top brass to discuss ways of reducing costs, particularly for the F-35 stealth fighter program.

The meeting at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida came after Trump last week blasted the F-35’s costs as “out of control” in a message on Twitter.

Several three- and four-star generals and admirals attended the meeting, including the F-35 program chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan.

“Trying to bring costs down,” Trump said when asked what the meeting was about.

“Primarily the F-35, trying to get the costs down. A program that is very, very expensive.”

With a current development and acquisition price tag of $379 billion for a total of 2,443 F-35 aircraft — most of them destined for the Air Force — the Lockheed Martin-built plane is the most expensive in history, and costs are set to go higher still.

On Dec. 6, he blasted Boeing over the possible $4 billion price tag for a replacement Air Force One presidential plane. He also called that project “out of control.”

Trump also met with Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson and Boeing chief Dennis Muilenburg.

Boeing’s Muilenburg told reporters the meeting with Trump went “great” and said Air Force One would be delivered for less than $4 billion.

“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” Muilenburg said.Speech

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