WASHINGTON - As Israel received its first two super-sophisticated F-35 fighter jets, US President-elect Donald Trump said on Monday that he would completely reevaluate the costly aircraft programme once he takes office on January 20.

In a tweet, Trump said that the cost of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet programme was too high and that he would shave billions from the project when he assumes presidency.

"The F-35 program and cost is out of control," Trump said on Twitter, echoing campaign promises to cut waste in federal spending. "Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th."

In the tweet's initial aftermath, shares of Lockheed Martin, which is building the jet, dropped by 4 percent and other defense contractors associated with the $1 trillion project also took a hit, according to media reports.

Israel along with the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan are among US allies who've put in orders for the fighter.

On a visit to Israel Monday, the head of the project for Lockheed responded to Trump's criticism, saying he'd welcome the "opportunity to address" questions from the president-elect and noted plans to reduce the cost of the aircraft within the next four years.

"We're investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce the cost of sustaining the airplane over its 30-40 year lifespan," Lockheed's Jeff Babione said in a statement. "We understand the importance of affordability and that's what the F-35 has been about."

With its 13-figure price tag, the F-35 fighter jet is the Defence Department's most expensive weapons program. The jet was meant to save money in the defense budget by having one aircraft for the armed services as a whole with variants fitting the individual needs of each branch. Selling the jet to allies was conceived of a way to defray the project's massive overheard, but as Philip adds, the project has become "infamous" for its cost and delays:

 "Difficulties perfecting each individual model, however, as well as a risky choice to begin production of the aircraft even as they were being developed and tested, have caused many problems for the massive programme.

"The US Air Force and Marine Corps have declared 'initial operational capability' for their small batches of F-35s, but the aircraft are limited in what they can actually do and have not deployed operationally. The US Navy is still testing its model, which is built to take off and land on aircraft carriers at sea. Meanwhile foreign customers, dissuaded by the program's high costs and continued developmental issues, have scaled back their planned orders; Australia and Canada decided to buy batches of older-model aircraft from Lockheed's archrival, Boeing.

"The US Defense Department insists, however, that the F-35 is worth the nearly $1 trillion overall price tag and the extra time it has taken to put into service. Advocates point to its ability to evade detection by other aircraft or air defense systems, its revolutionary ability to see the battlefield and process information, and the value in the US fielding the same type of aircraft as its closest allies, including the United Kingdom, Japan and Israel."

 Trump's F-35 takedown is the second time the president-elect has judged a aircraft budget as "out of control." Last week, he tweeted the same about a Boeing plan — calling out the manufacturer by name — to build two new 747 jets to be used as Air Force One, ending his tweet with "Cancel order!"Those jets would be the first new iterations of the president's plane since the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to Israel's air force as the state's long arm, adding that "today it got longer", according to news reports from Tel Aviv.

"Anyone thinking of attacking us will be attacked," he said, in an apparent reference to arch-rival Iran.

"Anyone thinking of destroying us places his own existence in danger."

The Trump attack and the long delay in the fighters' arrival threatened to overshadow what Israel had labelled a key day in its military's future.

While other countries have ordered the planes, Israel - which receives more than $3 billion a year in US defence aid - says it will be the first outside the United States with an operational F-35 squadron.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, who is in Isreal,  and Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman joined Netanyahu and Rivlin at the ceremony held to received the two F-35s.

Carter said there was "no better symbol of the US commitment to Israel's security than the F-35, the most capable aircraft in the skies".

Israel is buying its first 33 F-35s at an average price of about $110 million (103.5 million euros) each. It will receive the F-35A model for standard takeoffs and landings. The B and C models are for short takeoffs and aircraft carriers.

Israeli components will be integrated in the aircraft, which will be known as the F-35I.

Among its main features are advanced stealth capabilities to help pilots evade sophisticated missile systems.

The single-pilot jets can carry an array of weapons and travel at a supersonic speed of Mach 1.6, or around 1,200 miles per hour (1,900 kilometres per hour).

The pilot's ultra-high-tech helmet, at a cost of some $400,000 each, includes its own operating system, with data that appears on the visor and is also shared elsewhere.

Thermal and night vision as well as 360-degree views are possible with cameras mounted on the plane.