A U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter approaches at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

America’s most expensive weapons system got cheaper

by Amanda Macias, CNBC

The Pentagon’s largest weapons supplier just cut a deal with the Defense Department for the next batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters — a program with an initial acquisition cost of $406.5 billion.

The latest contract for 141 of Lockheed Martin’s F-35’s will come at a price tag of $11.5 billion, the lowest in the history of the weapons program. Of the 141 aircraft, 91 will be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the remaining 50 will be used by international program partners and customers.

The Air Force, which is buying the lion’s share of jets, will spend $89.2 million for their F-35A’s. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps and Navy will spend $115.5 million and $107.7 million on their F-35B and F-35C aircraft, respectively. In the prior contract, the Air Force’s jet was priced at $94.3 million, the Marine Corps jet at $122.4 million, and the Navy $121.2 million.

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