Trump Tweet on F-35 Overrun Costs Lockheed Martin Stock $1.2 Billion

Asks Boeing for Competitive Price on Deal

For the second time this month, President-elect Donald Trump has badly damaged the value of military contractor Lockheed Martin’s stock with a Tweet complaining about the excessive costs of the F-35 program, sending the stock down another $1.2 billion today.

Trump, who yesterday talked to top Pentagon generals about getting costs down, and bragged of having secured a pledge by Boeing to lower the final costs of Air Force One, is now courting Boeing for a competing bid on the F-35 program, asking how much it’d cost them to make the F-18 more or less comparable.

The F-35 program began in 2006 as an extension of the X-35 program from Lockheed, and over the last decade the costs have repeatedly spiked well above initial expectations. Boeing’s own proposal, the X-32, was rejected back in 2001, But Trump is now wondering if the existing F-18 could be modified into the role.

It’s unclear if such a conversion is a practical alternative, but reflects both Trump’s desire to try to play hardball with negotiations, and likely his interest in rewarding Boeing for promising to get costs down on the much smaller Air Force One program.

Since Congress is the one ultimately paying for these programs, and a lot of different Congressional districts have interests in the F-35, it would be very hard for Trump to sell a shift out of the program, but his ability to clobber Lockheed stock with a single tweet is likely to keep him at least active in the discussion.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • WakaWakaWackyWorld

    if recent history serves as a guide, LM is “too
    Big to fail” and will be earmarked billions of taxpayer funds to keep them and their cronies happy with inflated profits.

  • TellTheTruth-2

    Sounds like “insider” trading … find out WHO sold short.

  • Mark Thomason

    Boeing has for several years worked on upgrade packages for the F-18 that could make a genuine competitor for the F-35.

    The F-35 is deficient in range and maneuverability. It is a compromise on stealth features, with true stealth designed only from the forward aspect. Radars off to the side, or airborne radars, or radars watching it withdraw from a target, all would see it rather well.

    The F-18 would have much longer range, key to dealing with China’s area denial strategy. It would have some stealth, just as F-35 has only some stealth. It would be more maneuverable, and has defeated F-35’s in tests. It would carry more weapons. It would be much cheaper, much cheaper. Its improved packages could be retrofitted onto existing planes, saving even more money.

    It is long past time for us to look at alternatives to the F-35.

    Most of all, the F-35 was conceived of and sold to us as a cheaper alternative to the F-22, something we could afford to buy in sufficient numbers. That just is not how this worked out.

    On top of all that, the F-35 has serious design issues and electronic issues.

  • Thomas Carlson

    I wonder if the corporatists in the MIC had any idea that Trump Tweets would be such a big factor in their business models? No sense in buying off Congress critters when one TT can wreck everything. It makes me think that the Powers That Be will tire of The Donald sooner rather than later. Look for a black swan event soon that will change everything.