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Trump Had Boeing CEO Listen In On Call About Lockheed With General

Trump Had Boeing CEO Listen In On Call About Lockheed With General

The Defense Department's F-35 program manager said Thursday it wasn't inappropriate that Boeing (BA) CEO Dennis Muilenburg was on a call that then-President-elect Trump made to him last month about Lockheed Martin's (LMT) F-35.

Trump first complained in December that costs are "out of control" for the F-35, alarming many in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where thousands of jobs are dependent on the jets that are assembled at Lockheed's Fort Worth factory.

Gen. Christopher Bogdan told the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee the two calls - one with just Trump on January 9 and a second on January 17 with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg - promoted the study order from Secretary of Defense James Mattis a week after Trump's inauguration.

"It was out of control and now it's very much in control", Trump told the White House press pool following his remarks at a Boeing event in the USA state of SC. The memos were distributed to about a dozen people, Bloomberg reports.

The F-35 program has Navy, Air Force and Marine variants of the fifth generation aircraft.

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.

The calls informed a review since ordered by Defense Secretary James Mattis of the F-35 program to find ways to reduce costs, Bogdan said. "Behavior that looks decisive in the business world can unhinge a military organization that depends on order and discipline".

Speaking Friday at the rollout of another Boeing plane, the first 787-10 Dreamliner, Trump praised the "beautiful" carbon-composite jet.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin did not comment.

"The F-18's a great plane and now put a stealth component on it", he said. Northrop Grumman (NOC), a major F-35 subcontractor, rose 0.1%. Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing Co., was in Trump's New York City office while Trump was questioning the general about how Boeing's Super Hornet fighter compared to Lockheed's F-35C.

The U.S. Air Force, which plans to buy 1,763 of the F-35A model jets, would not fly Boeing's minimally stealthy "fourth-generation" Super Hornet, which is designed for aircraft carrier operations.

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