When Donald Trump spoke to the Air Force general in charge of the F-35 program on January 17, there was someone else listening in on the phone call about the Lockheed Martin jet: the CEO of Boeing, whose own strike fighter might just be poised to get some F-35 'money. "Most important we are going to have a great product from both Boeing and Lockheed", President Trump told reporters in SC.
The call in question was to Chris Bogdan, the U.S. Air Force lieutenant general in charge of the project.
Less likely, though also a possibility, is that Trump could be referring to an additional order of Super Hornets for the Navy outside of the F-35 programme.
Trump's phone calls to the Pentagon came after a December tweet: "Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!"
Bloomberg Politics reports on one such muddled event - a demonstration that Trump, quite possibly, is a leader of the gang that simply can't shoot straight.
But the three conversations between Bogdan and Trump weren't the first time the soon-to-be commander-in-chief had directly involved himself in the F-35 program. But Trump's calls to a uniformed program manager to discuss a contract that was completed 16 years ago were unprecedented and potentially disruptive, said a defense analyst.
Anyways, it's a great plane now.
"We are looking seriously at a big order" of F-18s said Trump to applause from the crowd at Boeing, the company that builds the F/A-18. Muilenburg, whose company makes a fighter jet Trump has suggested might be an alternative to the F-35, was in the president-elect's NY office for a meeting during the second call.
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Days before taking office, President-elect Donald Trump made two surprise calls to the Air Force general managing the Pentagon's largest weapons program, the Lockheed Martin Corp.
The following is the transcript of Bogdan's description of his calls with then President-elect Trump before the HASC on February 16, 2017.
"Behavior that looks decisive in the business world can unhinge a military organization that depends on order and discipline", Thompson told Bloomberg.
Late last month, Trump announced that the administration had saved the government approximately $600 million after a cost evaluation was initiated by the newly appointed Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Boeing and Lockheed Martin did not comment.
"We all know that the F-35 can do that job of the F-18; the F-18 cannot do the job of the F-35", Turner said.
On Thursday, US Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements Maj. Gen.