(Adds quote from Hewson, background)
By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK Jan 13 Lockheed Martin Corp is
close to a deal to significantly lower the cost of its F-35
aircraft, Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson said on Friday
after meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
"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," Hewson said to reporters in
Hewson had previously assured Trump she would drive down the
cost of the company's fighter jet, after he tweeted last month
that he was asking rival aerospace company Boeing Co
whether it could offer a cheaper alternative to the F-35.
Trump has threatened and rebuked some of America's largest
companies, creating a new business risk for those who have been
or fear being targeted.
Costs for Lockheed's F-35 program had escalated to an
estimated $379 billion. The program accounted for 20 percent of
the company's total revenue of $46.1 billion last year.
Boeing's F-18, the plane Trump floated as a possible
alternative, is an older generation aircraft that lacks the
stealth capabilities of the F-35.
Hewson also said Lockheed plans to increase jobs at its Fort
Worth, Texas, facility by 1,800, which she said would add
"thousands and thousands of jobs" across the supply chain in 45
U.S. states. Lockheed shares were up 1 percent after her
comments on Friday.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Additional reporting
by Emily Stephenson in Washington; Writing by Susan Heavey;
Editing by Bernard Orr)