Trump says he’ll get F-35 costs ‘way down,’ and Lockheed stock falls

Lockheed Martin build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at its aeronautics complex in Fort Worth.
Lockheed Martin build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at its aeronautics complex in Fort Worth. Star-Telegram

Lockheed Martin shares fell today after President-elect Donald Trump said he intends to get costs on the F-35 program “way down.”

Trump discussed the F-35 again today at his press conference in New York. He said he has been meeting with generals and admirals about the fighter jet program, which he described as “way, way behind schedule and many billions of dollars over budget.”

“I don’t like that,” Trump said. “We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18. We’re going to get those costs way down and we’re going to get this plane to be even better and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”

Lockheed Martin (ticker: LMT) closed down $1.04, or less than 1 percent, at $255.13, after falling nearly $3 a share earlier in the day.

Trump targeted Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program last month in tweets, in which he called the program out of control and threatened to ask Boeing to price out an F-18 alternative. Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson pledged to drive down the cost of the program in her own tweet after meeting personally with the President-elect at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Lockheed is building the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in west Fort Worth, where it has invested more than $1 billion in recent years to renovate and expand the facility to prepare for increased production of the plane.

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko

Visitors able to pose for photos in cockpit. Special to the Star-Telegram/Andrew Buckley

Since its inception, the U.S. Air Force has been developing the fastest, most powerful aircraft in the world. Today’s F-35 that combines supersonic speed, advanced stealth capabilities and integrated avionics. (video by U.S. Air Force)