Trump Tweet Slashes Lockheed Martin Market Value

A U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II gets into position for a midair refueling. Department of Defense

President-elect Donald Trump is at it again. He took to Twitter on Monday morning to criticize the cost of the Defense Department’s most expensive weapons program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Trump called the cost of the F-35 program “out of control,” driving jet builder Lockheed Martin’s stock price down 4 percent by midday and causing its market value to drop by $4 billion.

The $1 trillion F-35 project is the Defense Department’s initiative for identifying the next generation of strike aircraft weapons systems for the United States’ military and its allies, but costs have ballooned.

In his tweet, Trump said he plans to save “billions of dollars … on military (and other) purchases” when he takes office next month.

Trump’s Twitter attack on Monday coincided with the delivery of two F-35s to Israel. Lockheed’s head of the project, Jeff Babione, said he’d welcome the “opportunity to address” the president-elect’s questions about the project.

“We're investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce the cost of sustaining the airplane over its 30- to 40-year lifespan,” Babione said in a statement. “We understand the importance of affordability, and that's what the F-35 has been about.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain also recently criticized the F-35 program's high cost.

This is Trump’s second Twitter attack on an aircraft manufacturer this month. Last week, the president-elect lambasted Boeing, similarly calling the cost of its Air Force One program “out of control” and causing its stock price to drop.


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