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Lockheed CEO Tells Trump The Company Will Add 1,800 US Jobs And Reduce F-35 Costs
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson emerged from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump Friday pledging to bring down the cost of the F-35 Lightning II and promising to hire more than 1,800 additional workers at the Fort Worth plant.
Trump has been in a dogfight with Lockheed Martin over the F-35 program, questioning its costs and capabilities. Last month he went on Twitter to say that the stealth fighter’s costs were “out of control” and he talked about replacing it with a comparable F-18 Hornet built by Boeing.
“We had the opportunity to talk to him about the F-35 program and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said outside the Trump Tower in Manhattan.
“So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States,” Hewson said.
Hewson went on to add that Lockheed will hire about 1,800 additional employees in Fort Worth where the F-35 is being built. Previously the company said it planned to hire 1,000 more employees as production ramped up.
“In fact we are going to increase our jobs in Fort Worth by 1,800 jobs and when you think about the supply chain across 45 states in the U.S. it’s going to be thousands and thousands of jobs,” Hewson said. “And I also had the opportunity to give him some ideas on things we think we can do to continue to drive the cost down on the F-35 program, so it was a great meeting.”
Lockheed Martin has been working to drive down the cost of the F-35 to about $85 million within the 2019 – 20 time frame. The plant employs 14,000 workers in Fort Worth with about 8,800 working on the F-35.
Local plant officials declined to comment on what Hewson said Friday.
It was the second day of good news regarding the F-35 for U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who praised the U.S. Air Force’s decision Thursday to place the first squadron of F-35 at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.
“The announcement that the latest F-35 contract will create an additional 1,800 jobs in Fort Worth is great news,” Granger, a Fort Worth Republican, said. “I’m committed to working with the new Administration, the Department of Defense and Lockheed to ensure that costs for the F-35 continue to come down so that we can increase production and continue to create important manufacturing jobs in North Texas and throughout the country.”
©2017 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.
A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."