Eric Beech, Reuters, January 26

 

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States needs more submarines but he wants to buy them at a lower cost, resuming his push to get defense contractors to cut the prices they charge the Pentagon.

“We’re lacking submarines and we’re going to build new submarines but the price is too high so I’m cutting the prices way down,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News to be broadcast later on Thursday.

Two U.S.-based companies, General Dynamics Corp’s Electric Boat division and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding, build the Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines.

Neither General Dynamics nor Huntington Ingalls immediately responded to a request for comment.

“We are working hard to drive down cost and are seeing the fruits of that labor,” a senior U.S. Navy official said in response to the Trump comments.

“We have the most advanced submarines in the world – the more we buy, the more we will bring down the price,” the official said.

Trump, who took office on Friday, has vowed to build up the military, which he says has become dangerously depleted.

Since winning the November election, he has pressured U.S. defense contractors to reduce the cost of the products they sell to the Pentagon.

In December, Trump received a pledge from the chief executive of Lockheed Martin to cut the cost of the F-35 fighter jet after Trump complained in a tweet about the plane’s price tag and said he would ask Boeing to offer a cheaper alternative.