Gephardt Daily

Donald Trump tweets F-35 ‘out of control’, Lockheed stock stumbles

Donald Trump's recent tweet calling the F-35 program costs "out of control" marks his latest criticism of a major U.S. defense contractor. Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) — President-elect Donald Trump targeted Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II production on Twitter, condemning the program for being too costly.

The F-35 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter intended to replace a variety of legacy aircraft used by the U.S. Armed Forces including the F-16, F/A-18, and A-10. Many international customers have also expressed interest in procuring the new aircraft. However, the program has experienced several cost overruns and delays since the first plane took flight in 2006.

In a tweet that did not mention Lockheed Martin by name, Trump appeared to suggest the program may experience cutbacks after his inauguration.

The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.

Trading at $246 at midday, Lockheed Martin’s stock fel by 13.20 points, or 5.09 percent, from the previous close. The tweet was the President-elect’s latest criticism of a major U.S. defense contractor, following his attack on Boeing’s Air Force One program.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion,” he said. “Cancel order!”

Lockheed Martin maintains it has a firm grip of its expenses, claiming production costs have dropped by 55 percent since the construction of the first F-35. The estimated contracted unit costs for Low Rate Initial Production Lot 7, which does not include engine costs, are $98 million for the F-35A, $104 million for the F-35B, and $116 million for the F-35C.