President-elect Donald Trump took another swipe at a Pentagon acquisition program on Monday morning, this time taking aim at the Pentagon’s most notorious program, the F-35 joint strike fighter.
The tweet followed a Dec. 11 interview where he name-dropped the joint strike fighter to illustrate an “out of control” program.
The remarks had a sudden affect the stock of F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin, whose stocks opened at $252.33 and dropped with a low of $245.70 slightly after noon. As of 1:10 PM eastern, stocks had rebounded to $250.50 and appeared trending upward.
Trump’s statements mark the third in time per week the president elect has called your defense sell for perceived corruption and exorbitant cost overruns.
Jeff Babione, the F-35 Program’s general manager at Lockheed, said the business has invested “hundreds of huge amounts of money to relieve the price tag on the airplane greater than 70 percent.”
“We project the price tag on the aircraft will probably be $85 million within the 2019-2020 timeframe. When we be able to that price, the F-35 will likely be more affordable than any fourth-generation fighter inside the world,” the Lockheed executive said in an emailed statement. “The cost doesn’t just range from the acquisition price. Lockheed Martin as well as industry partners will also be buying reducing the sustainment costs from the aircraft recognizing a whole lot of from the expense of owning and operating an aircraft is after it’s delivered. We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars to relieve the price of sustaining the airplane over its 30-40 year lifespan.”
Trump’s tweet also came as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Israel and was scheduled to take inside the arrival of this nation’s first F-35 model. A readout of Carter’s meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman notes that “the delivery with the F-35 can be a symbol of the United
States’ unshakable resolve for Israel’s security, and may ensure its qualitative military edge within the region for decades.”
Although defense contractors initially assumed a Trump presidency could make more money for the industrial base, his comments reveal a willingness to publicly shame defense companies and potentially indicate that Trump will likely be more a part of the acquisition process than any other time thought.
Last Tuesday, he tweeted how the cost of the Air Force One replacement plane, depending on Boeing’s 747-8 airliner, were “out of control” and “cancel order!” He later doubled upon his statements, proclaiming that although personally negotiate with Boeing to acquire a better deal on the plane.
Days next, he floated a ban that could keep former Pentagon acquisition officials still to the defense industry.
“I think anybody that gives out these big contracts should not ever, in their lifetime, be allowed to help a defense company, for a company which makes that product,” he said within a rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He added that he necessary to do more analysis before committing on the proposed ban.
The F-35, the Pentagon’s costliest acquisition program, has become a target of Trump’s throughout his campaign. During an October interview, he was asked about the jet and referenced an investigation in which a pilot claimed the F-35 couldn’t beat a mature F-16 in a very dogfight.
“When people say that cannot perform as well as the planes funds, exactly what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance for the Hugh Hewitt radio show.
Todd Harrison, an allowance expert with all the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) noted that this sole method Trump could easily get costs recorded on the F-35 program now would be to cut the proposed procurement by with regards to a half or even a third, which may obviously surge the per-unit price.