The US Air Force (USAF) has cut three F-35 jet fighters from its next contract with Lockheed Martin, Pentagon F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova revealed.

The decision to reduce the number of aircraft is to help fund cost overruns associated with retrofits on the first three orders after the Senate Armed Services Committee denied $264m in funding.

The original order was for a total of 34 jets for the USAF and Navy and the latest cut, including one from the navy, brings the order down to 30 aircraft.

The first 28 aircraft are estimated to cost $918m, of which $283m will be paid by Lockheed and engine subcontractor Pratt & Whitney, while the remaining $635m will be paid by the government.

Bloomberg reported that the value of the four deleted aircraft was not disclosed.

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