The F-35 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter intended to replace a variety of legacy aircraft used by the U.S. Armed Forces including the F-16, F/A-18, and A-10. Many international customers have also expressed interest in procuring the new aircraft. However, the program has experienced several cost overruns and delays since the first plane took flight in 2006.
In a tweet that did not mention Lockheed Martin by name, Trump appeared to suggest the program may experience cutbacks after his inauguration.
The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
Trading at $246 at midday, Lockheed Martin's stock fefl by 13.20 points, or 5.09 percent, from the previous close. The tweet was the president-elect's latest criticism of a major U.S. defense contractor, following his attack on Boeing's Air Force One program.
"Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion," he said. "Cancel order!"
Lockheed Martin maintains it has a firm grip on its expenses, claiming production costs have dropped by 55 percent since the construction of the first F-35. The estimated contracted unit costs for Low Rate Initial Production Lot 7, which does not include engine costs, are $98 million for the F-35A, $104 million for the F-35B and $116 million for the F-35C.