President-elect Donald Trump said he asked Boeing Co. to price an upgrade of its F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet that could replace Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35, the most expensive U.S. weapon system ever.
“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 said Thursday in a post on Twitter.
Trump summoned the chief executives of both companies to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Wednesday, as well as a group of top Pentagon officials, to discuss the costs of the F-35 program and also Boeing’s proposed replacement for Air Force One, the presidential aircraft. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he told Trump the new Air Force One would be built for less than $4 billion, less than what Trump said the plane would cost.
Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said in a statement after the meeting that she had assured Trump the company would continue efforts to reduce the F-35’s costs. She didn’t announce any new promises.
Lockheed shares fell 2 percent in after hours trading, while Boeing rose 0.5 percent.
The Pentagon has been trying to scale back purchases of the older F-18 in recent years. The $379 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is intended to replace the F-18 and several other jets across the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
Lockheed spokesman William Phelps said the company had no comment. Boeing didn’t have an immediate comment, spokesman Todd Blecher said.
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