The CEO of Lockheed Martin announced a double win for taxpayers and workers Friday after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, who last month had denounced the cost of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter.
“We are going to increase our jobs in Fort Worth by 1,800 jobs, and when you think about the (F-35) supply chain across 45 states in the U.S., it’s going to be thousands and thousands of jobs,” CEO Marillyn Hewson said.
Hewson did not elaborate on the jobs to be added.
The Fort Worth plant employs 14,000 people, 8,800 of whom work on the F-35. Lockheed spokesman Ken Ross said hiring will begin this year and continue through 2020.
Last year, Lockheed built 50 F-35s. Plans call for a production level of 160 a year by 2019.
“Lockheed CEO Pledges 1,800 New Jobs, Lower F-35 Costs”. WINNING. AIN’T it great? https://t.co/0EhAFFJ1vX
— Barry Hart (@BarryHart7) January 14, 2017
— JKO (@jko417) January 14, 2017
Lockheed’s commitment to grow jobs continues Trump’s aggressive efforts as president-elect to attract manufacturing jobs or keep them from going overseas. For example, Ford has announced it will not go forward with plans to build a plant in Mexico and will instead invest $700 million in domestic plants.
Hewson said Lockheed will lower the cost of the F-35.
“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.
“We had the opportunity to talk to (Trump) about the F-35 program and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” she said.
“So I’m glad 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,” Hewson said.
Trump had met with Hewson last month after tweeting out his concerns about the cost of the F-35.
The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
“Well, we’re going to see,” he told reporters after the meeting when asked if the fighter’s costs were going to be lowered. “We’re going to see. Just beginning. It’s a dance. You know, it’s a little bit of a dance.”
“But we’re going to get the costs down and we’re going to get it done beautifully,” he added.
Trump praised both CEOs, saying, “These are great people. These are amazing people. I’m very impressed with them. And good negotiators, too.”
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