McCain backs Trump criticism of F-35, says president can't cancel it

An American pilot sits in side one of the first two next-generation F-35 fighter jets after it landed during an unveiling ceremony upon arrival in Nevatim Air Force base near Beersheba Southern Israel Monday Dec. 12 2016

McCain backs Trump criticism of F-35, says president can't cancel it

President-elect Donald Trump said he would cut the cost of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after taking office, sending shares of Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) stock plunging in Monday trading. "Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th".

The tweet comes as Defense Secretary Ash Carter is in Israel to deliver two new F-35 jets. "It's going to be more than $4 billion for the Air Force One program and I think it's ridiculous". Lockheed Martin has responded, saying the company understands concerns about affordability.

Israel and several other US allies are also buying the F-35, expanding the program's global footprint.

The F-35, which uses stealth technology to avoid being detected by radar, is being built in different configurations to be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

After Trump's tweet, Lockheed Martin's shares tumbled, wiping out almost $4 billion of the company's market value.

"We are now under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States". "Even if Trump only launches a bombastic shout-out, this more aggressive approach to contractor relations could impact the stocks", Cowen & Co. analyst Cai Von Rumohr said last week in a note to investors.

Babione said Lockheed's goal was to reduce the price of the F-35 by 60 percent from its original estimates. Lockheed's F-35 program counts 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs, according to a report from Bloomberg. She's vice chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee.

Thornberry's committee has supported buying more F-35s than the Obama administration had asked for in its budget request.

The tweet was the second sent by Trump in one week that slammed spending on USA aircraft.

Trump's comments mark the second time he has taken personal aim at defense industry spending.

"We are now under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States", Boeing said last week in a statement responding to Trump's criticism.

On Dec. 6, he similarly used Twitter to criticize Boeing, another USA aerospace giant, over the projected cost of providing the next-generation jets that will serve as Air Force One for US presidents.

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