The price reduction for the latest batch of F-35's has been in the works prior to Trump's presidency

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the latest contract with Lockheed Martin for America's priciest weapons system — the F-35 — will be reduced by $600 million.

"They were having a lot of difficulty. There was no movement. And I was able to get $600 million approximately off those planes. So I think that was a great achievement," Trump told reporters.

"We will be savings billions and billions and billions of dollars on contracts," Trump added.

To date, the US is slated to buy approximately 2,443 F-35s at an acquisition cost of $379 billion.

43 PHOTOS
The Boneyard, where US Air Force planes go to die
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The Boneyard, where US Air Force planes go to die

Aircraft from all military services cover the desert landscape of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

An old, weathered flight manual sits inside the remains of a CH-3E Jolly Green Giant. After years of standing in the desert sun of the boneyard, aircraft and equipment slowly age and erode.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

The Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Testbed, (formerly Airborne Laser) weapons system now sits decommissioned in the boneyard. The YAL-1 was primarily designed as a missile defense system to destroy tactical ballistic missiles with an airborne laser system.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The cockpit section of a C-141 Starlifter sits dissected and strapped to the ground.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The C-141 remained in service for over 40 years until the Air Force withdrew them from service in 2006 and replaced them with the C-17 Globemaster III.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

A fleet of C-5 Galaxies tower above the rest of the fighter and cargo aircraft inside the "Boneyard."

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

Rows of F-4 Phantoms and T-38 Talons line the grounds.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

A rainbow peaks at the old unused fleet of F-4 Phantom fighters.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The F-4 Phantom II served as the principal air superiority fighter for the Air Force during the Vietnam War, and became important in the ground-attack and reconnaissance roles late in the war.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Connolly, a command pilot with more than 4,800 flying hours in F-86s, F-100s, A-7s, F-4s, F-15s and F-16s, stands before a retired F-4 Phantom.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The F-4 Phantom II has the distinction of being the last U.S. fighter flown to attain ace status in the 20th century.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

More Phantoms, used, abused, and now wholly unused, except by possibly the occasional critter.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The remains of a B-66 Destroyer sit palletized. The aircraft was a light bomber with the Tactical Air Command and the RB-66 models were used as the major night photo-reconnaissance aircraft for the Air Force during the 1950s.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

Another F-4 Phantom surrounded by the twilight of a falling sun.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

There is little rust and metal detrioration in the arid Arizona desert, making it the perfect place for the Air Force's only aircraft "boneyard."

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force "Boneyard" is at a secure location in Ariz. The facility is seldom seen by the public, outside of local bus tours and as a backdrop of Hollywood movies and television shows.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

Ripped and torn pieces of the fuselage are all that remain of a C-5 Galaxy after being torn apart by an excavator crane for scrap.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The boneyard is basically a 2,600-acre parking lot and storage facility for about 5,000 retired military aircraft.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The remains of a C-5 Galaxy rise six stories into the night sky.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

Tails of decommissioned aircraft sit against the backdrop of a setting sun.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

A C-5 Galaxy, its wings stripped to the frame, is undergoing a complete tear-down of all important parts before being demolished for scrap, a process that takes nearly a year to complete.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

Wings and parts are pulled from the C-5 Galaxy aircraft before the airframes are torn apart for scrap.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The rows of F-15 Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons undergo a preservation process that allows them to be recalled into active service within 72 hours if needed.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

A C-130 from the 43d Air Wing, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., peers deeper into the boneyard.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The remains of a B-66 Destroyer seen through the shattered cockpit glass of an F-86 Sabre.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

The fuselage of an A-10 Thunderbolt II sits surrounded by the rest of its parts. Aircraft like this are typically used to provide parts to other A-10s still serving throughout the Air Force.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

Ret. Col. Paul Dillon, a vietnam combat pilot, stands with an A-10 Thunderbolt II. The jet is one of the many airframes the colonel flew while in the Air Force. Dillon is wearing his 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron flightsuit from his duty in Vietnam were he flew interdiction operations in North Vietnam and Laos.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

The Phantom sits, still somewhat preserved. Still visible are the influences of it's predecessor, the F-8 Crusader.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

Interminable rows of dismantled KC-135 Stratotanker stretch into the desert. The Air Force still actively fields hundreds of these for refueling purposes.

(Photo by Bennie Davis via U.S. Air Force)

A C-5 Galaxy waits to be broken down and turned into scrap metal — The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group then sells the scrap metal to other customers.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

High above the ground, a C-5 Galaxy aircraft sits motionless as clouds pass by. The Galaxy used to be the Air Force's premier military transport aircraft.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft mainly used during the Korean War and the early parts of the Cold War era.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

The B-66 Destroyer was a U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Command light bomber. The RB-66 models were used as the major night photo-reconnaissance aircraft of the USAF during the 1950s.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

Cracked and rusted gauges from an old blimp show the signs of sitting unused for decades.

(Photo via Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

A UH-34D Seahorse helicopter, which began service in 1952 as a Navy anti-submarine warfare helicopter and served as the primary Marine Corps assault helicopter of the Vietnam War. This one now sits as part of the more than 4,400 deactivated aircraft.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

Inside the belly of the blimp.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

Marilyn Savage, widow of Lt. Col. Robert Savage, joined the Air Force in October of 1951 and was discharged in 1953 as a sergeant. She is a past president of the Society of Military Widows and has been a member of the group for more than 20 years. Her husband piloted the F-84 Thunderjet similar to the one behind Marilyn.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

A retired, rusted, faded T-38 Talon sits in pieces. The Talon was the world's first supersonic trainer.

(Photo by Andrew Breese via U.S. Air Force)

The T-41 Mescalero was the military version of the popular commercial Cessna 172. Rows of them sit in the boneyard.

(Photo by Andrew Breese via U.S. Air Force)

The "Boneyard" hosts civilian aircraft as well, like this commercial cargo plane.

(Photo by Andrew Breese via U.S. Air Force)

A set of pilot seats are all that remain of an unidentified aircraft.

(Photo by Andrew Breese via U.S. Air Force)

If anything, the graveyard serves as a grim reminder of the necessities for military air power.

(Photo by Andrew Lee via U.S. Air Force)

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The $600 million is to be shaved off of the 10th Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP-10) contract, which is worth an estimated $9 billion for the delivery of 90 F-35s.

And though it would appear that Trump — after publicly criticizing the crown jewel in the defense giant's portfolio — is the reason for the savings, the price reduction was in the works.

Rewinding the tape back to a December 19 briefing, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office, said the price for LRIP-10 contract would be reduced "significantly."

"I fully anticipate that when we do settle LRIP-10 you'll see all three variants, the A, the B, and the C come down in price significantly," Bogdan said. And by "significantly" Bogdan added that he believes "somewhere on the order of 6 to 7 percent per airplane, per variant."

The finalized price for LRIP-9, which took 14 months of negotiations between the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin, for 57 F-35 jets was valued at $6.1 billion. The unit price for an F-35A in current year dollars (including aircraft, engine, and fee) is $102.1 million. If you take the 6 to 7 percent reduction into account, the savings on LRIP-10 are ballpark to the price point laid out by the Joint Program Office back in December.

In short, the wheels were already in motion.

And despite significant snags in developing the fifth-generation jet, the Pentagon's top weapons supplier beat on both the top and bottom lines in its quarterly earnings.

For the quarter that ended December 31, Lockheed Martin earned an adjusted $3.25 per share on revenue of $13.75 billion. Analysts were looking foradjusted EPS of $3.05 on revenue of $13.03 billion.

9 PHOTOS
Lockheed Martin F-35 program
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Lockheed Martin F-35 program

A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35A jet flies during a training mission in Hill Air Force Base, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Lockheed Martin Corp.'s accelerating revenue growth outlook is boosted by its recent portfolio moves, which are enabling the world's largest defense contractor to better capitalize on higher foreign demand. Rising F-35 production is a key driver, as deliveries are to double by 2019 vs. current levels.

(George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A fighter pilot secures the cockpit while crew members prepare the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35A jet for a training flight in Hill Air Force Base, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Lockheed Martin Corp.'s accelerating revenue growth outlook is boosted by its recent portfolio moves, which are enabling the world's largest defense contractor to better capitalize on higher foreign demand. Rising F-35 production is a key driver, as deliveries are to double by 2019 vs. current levels.

(George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 performs during its flying display on the second day of the Farnborough International Airshow 2016 in Farnborough, U.K., on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. The air show, a biannual showcase for the aviation industry, runs until July 17.

(Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35A jet flies during a training mission in Hill Air Force Base, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Lockheed Martin Corp.'s accelerating revenue growth outlook is boosted by its recent portfolio moves, which are enabling the world's largest defense contractor to better capitalize on higher foreign demand. Rising F-35 production is a key driver, as deliveries are to double by 2019 vs. current levels. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Dutch Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet takes off at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on November 24, 2015. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing final development and testing for the United States and partner nations. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions.The program is the most expensive military weapons system in history, and it has been the object of much criticism from those inside and outside governmentin the US and in allied countries. / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors look at a model of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II during a media preview day of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition at a military air base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on October 19, 2015. The exhibition will run from October 20 to 25 with 386 companies from 32 countries involved. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
Norwegian Chief of Defence, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hassen speaks at the Norway F-35 rollout celebration at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX, on Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2015. Ceremonies were held at the Lockheed Martin F-35 production facility celebrating the rollout of the first F-35A Lightning II for the Norwegian Armed Forces. AFP PHOTO/LAURA BUCKMAN (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A new Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning ll multirole fighter jet parked in a hangar as it is presented to media at the Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth. (Photo by Orjan F. Ellingvag/Corbis via Getty Images)
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Considered a bellwether for the US defense sector, Lockheed Martin said net earnings in Q4 rose to $959 million compared to $817 million, in Q4 of 2015.

Sales in Lockheed Martin's aeronautics business, the company's largest segment, rose 23 percent to $5.41 billion, compared to the same period in 2015, thanks to an increase in F-35 sales.

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, who spoke with Trump twice prior to his inauguration, said the F-35 is "absolutely unmatched" in capability during an earnings call on Tuesday.

"It brings for our country, for our military as well as for our allies around the world an unmatched capability – absolutely unmatched. And recognizing that, his [Trump's] focus is on how do we drive that the cost down aggressively."

Adding that the meetings with Trump have been "very productive," Hewson noted that the defense giant has a lot of ideas on how to cut costs in the future.

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