President-elect Donald Trump has hinted again at a potential competition between Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
In his first press conference since winning November’s election, Trump took aim at the entire US defense industry in his opening remarks, but focused on the F-35 programme as his favourite target.
“It’s way, way behind schedule and many, many billions of dollars over budget. I don’t like that,” Trump says. “And we’re going to do some big things on the F-35 programme, and perhaps the F-18 programme. And we’re going to get those costs way down and we’re going to get the plane to be even better. And we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
Lockheed’s stocks plummeted after Trump’s comment, falling from almost $256 to a low of $251.71 this afternoon. The president-elect’s remarks on the programme echoes an earlier tweet, Trump’s preferred mode of a press announcement, delivered 21 December.
“Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!"
Trump fired the tweet following meetings with several US generals, including F-35 programme executive officer Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, who had attempted to present a nuanced picture of the programme.