About a week ago President-elect Trump caused a major stir when he tweeted that the cost Boeing was charging for the new Air Force One program was too much and that he wanted to cancel the program.
Today the President-elect went another step further stating the F-35 Lightning II costs are “out of control” and that “billions of dollars can and will be saved on the military.”
Lockheed Martin, the company that produces the F-35 quickly released a statement on Monday after the tweet came out.
Lockheed said that it has worked to lower the price of the F-35 by more than 60 percent and said it expects the aircraft to cost $85 million in 2019 and 2020.
“We welcome the opportunity to address any questions the president-elect has about the program,” said Jeff Babione, general manager of the F-35 program. “It’s an amazing program.” – CBS/AP
The tweet also took it toll on Lockheed Martin’s stock as its price fell over $6 per share on Monday closing at $253.11. Other defense contractors such as Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics also saw their stock prices fall. Boeing, who was the target of President-elects tweet last week criticizing them saw their stock price rise slightly.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II program accounts has a total price tag of almost $400 billion dollars making it the most expensive military program ever. The single engine, single seat, stealth aircraft will be used by the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. Nearly 2500 F-35’s are expected to be purchased by the Pentagon with the final cost to be around $85 million per aircraft according to Lockheed Martin.
Three variants of the F-35
The F-35A is designed for conventional takeoff and landings. This variant will be used by the Air Force and foreign allies. This is the only version that will have an internal cannon.
The F-35B is a short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant that is designed for the Marine Corps. for operations close to the front lines.
The F-35C is the US Navy’s first stealth aircraft and the only 5th Generation fighter designed specifically for carrier based operations.
The first F-35 rolled out in 2006 at the Lockheed Martin complex in Fort Worth, Texas. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and the United Kingdom all participated in the development of the F-35. Other countries such as Israel, Japan and South Korea have purchased the aircraft.
Featured Image Courtesy of Tom Reynolds [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons