Thursday President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that based on the “tremendous” cost overruns of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, he had asked the aerospace giant’s competitor, Boeing, to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”
Trump did not go into specific details about his Boeing inquiry, but it does appear to show his willingness to pit two major competitors for lucrative government contracts against each other on a public platform.
His tweet sent shares of Lockheed down 1.9 percent in after-hours trading while Boeing shares rose 0.7 percent.
When reached by FoxNews.com, a Lockheed spokeswoman did not comment on the tweet. Boeing told FoxNews.com in a statement that it is “committed to working with the president elect and his administration to provide the best capability, deliverability and affordability across all Boeing products and services to meet our national security needs.”
Marcus Weisgerber, the vice president of the Pentagon Press Association, tweeted that you cannot compare the two jets. The F/A-18 is cheaper, but unlike the F-35, it is not stealth. He said the Trump move “turns up the heat” on Lockheed which is entering contact negotiations for the next 100 F-35s.
Trump met with CEOs from both companies Wednesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. He has been a vocal critic about the cost of Boeing’s work on two new Air Force One plans, as well as Lockheed’s contract for F-35 fighter jets.
Following the meetings, both CEOs said they had discussed lowering project costs with the president-elect.
Thursday was not the first time a tweet from Trump affected shares of Lockheed.
Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that making F-35 fighter planes is too costly and that he will cut “billions” in costs for military purchases.
The F-35 program made up 20 percent of Lockheed’s total 2015 revenue of $46.1 billion. And U.S. government orders made up 78 percent of its revenue last year. The F-35 program directly or indirectly supports more than 146,000 U.S. jobs, according to the company’s website.
Lockheed said at the time 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.