Lockheed Martin CEO finalizing F-35 deal with Trump

By Ryan Maass  |  Jan. 13, 2017 at 3:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson met with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to discuss ongoing negotiations for the next batch of F-35 aircraft.

The F-35 program, an international effort led by the U.S.-based defense contractor to produce a 5th-generation multirole fighter jet, has been marked by controversy as a result of delays and cost overruns.

While the planes have been procured by U.S. and allied armed forces alike, the program's continuity was thrown into doubt after the president-elect tweeted the production costs were "out of control." Trump also suggested modernizing existing fighters such as Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet or the F-22 Raptor in lieu of additional F-35 purchases.

After meeting with Trump in New York on Friday, Hewson says the her company and the Department of Defense are coming closer to a deal.

"I just had a great meeting with President-elect Trump on the F-35 program," Hewson said in a statement. "I share his view that we must deliver this critical capability for our men and women in uniform at the lowest possible cost to our taxpayers."

Hewson went on to add the company is finalizing a new contract that reduces the price for the next 90 aircraft, a deal that would add 1,800 new jobs at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

"I also had the opportunity to share some of our ideas on how to continue to drive the cost down in the F-35," she added. "I look forward to continuing to work together with President-elect Trump to drive the costs down on this critical military capability."

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