BUSINESS Donald Trump Presses Fight Over F-35 Jet Costs

Rising expense of fighter plane is in spotlight, but reining in military programs is a tall order

The Pentagon’s costliest programs to buy more than 2,400 planes to replace aging combat jets have long been viewed by experts and lawmakers as the most egregious example of cost overruns.

The cost of buying the F-35s from Lockheed Martin Corp. has doubled from initial estimates to nearly $400 billion, and the planes are still years late. Operating costs bring the bill to above $1 trillion.
.. While the average cost of each F-35 has fallen about 60% since 2012 to around $110 million, roughly 80% of planned cost savings are tied to higher production.
.. John McCain (R., Ariz.), for instance, has been pushing the Air Force to disclose the total contract award value for the B-21 Raider, a long-range stealth bomber under development by Northrop Grumman Corp.
.. The Defense Department’s annual procurement and research budget has averaged more than $160 billion during the past three years and its request could top $200 billion by the end of the decade
.. Only one big program—a revamp of the GPS led by missile specialist Raytheon Co.—was running more than 25% over budget this year