Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson returned to Trump Tower Friday to promise President-elect Donald Trump she’ll drive down the costs of the F-35, as she tries to save her company’s lucrative but troubled contract for the fighter jet.
Mr. Trump has publicly called her out, saying the F-35 was over budget and behind schedule and pointedly mulling ditching the contract and asking Boeing to update its F-18 jet instead.
Mr. Hewson, after her meeting with Mr. Trump, signaled to reporters that she’s going to try to get the F-35 under grips, and said keeping the program going is important to helping the president-elect meet his manufacturing pledges.
“I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States,” she said.
“In fact we are going to increase our jobs in Fort Worth by 1,800 jobs and when you think about the supply chain across 45 states in the US it’s going to be thousands and thousands of jobs. And I also had the opportunity to give him some ideas on things we think we can do to continue to drive the cost down on the F-35 program so it was a great meeting,” she said.
It was a far different reaction than Ms. Hewson’s first meeting with Mr. Trump last month. She emerged from that meeting without speaking to reporters, and Mr. Trump said they appeared to be engaging in “a little bit of a dance.”
By contrast Boeing’s CEO, who came in the same day to talk about costs of the next-generation Air Force One, had quickly promised Mr. Trump a better deal.
It was in the wake of those two meetings that Mr. Trump publicly said he would ask Boeing to ponder plans for an F-18 Super Hornet update that could replace the F-35.