Lockheed could log future protest after Trump's F-35 Boeing call

Lockheed could log future protest after Trump's F-35 Boeing call

In December, Trump tweeted that costs for Lockheed's F-35 fighter jet program were "out of control".

Days before inauguration, President-elect Trump placed two calls to the Pentagon.

Boeing did compete with Lockheed to design and build the F-35 almost 20 years ago, when the fifth-generation fighter jet project was first starting. "We believe we are on track to continue to reduce the price of the F-35 such that in FY-19, with an engine, including all fees, the F-35A model will cost between $80 - $85 million", Bogdan said. "The Navy views our F-18 Super Hornet and its fourth generation capabilities and the capabilities that come with the exquisite F-35C as complimentary", Miller said.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the tactical air and land forces subcommittee, said it's important to compare the F-35 to the F-18 to understand their capabilities. Trump asked. "We are looking seriously at a big order".

It's hard to gauge whether Trump is serious about buying additional Super Hornets and what order the president is referencing.

Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said in an e-mail, "I have nothing to add to what Mr. Muilenburg said to reporters after" his Trump Tower meeting on the 17th.

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Boeing and Lockheed Martin did not comment.

There's probably not much Boeing could do to make its jet comparable to the F-35.

In addition, to keep costs down, the F-35 has been aggressively marketed to US allies worldwide; several countries have already picked up contracts for maintenance and production.

The Navy version of the F-35 is easier to target because it's not scheduled to be operational until August 2018 at the earliest.

The comments appear to put a bookend - at least for now - on a tumultuous few months for the F-35 program. "There were no decisions made during those conversations, and it was my belief that President-elect Trump at the time was attempting to gain more information about the F-35 and its affordability, trying to gain more information about F-35s capabilities relative to the Super Hornet and to gain more information about the presidential aircraft replacement program".

Under current plans, the Pentagon is scheduled to increase overall purchases of the F-35 in the coming fiscal year to 70 from 63 this year.