After meeting with Trump, Boeing CEO says Air Force One will cost less than $4 billion

WASHINGTON, DC — US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday met with defence contracting giant Boeing.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg — whose company is under contract with the US Air Force to develop and manufacture the next presidential aircraft fleet — said the price will be less than the $4 billion estimate.

“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” Muilenburg said after meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I was able to give the president-elect my personal commitment on behalf of the Boeing Company. This is a business that’s important to us. We work on Air Force One because it’s important to our country and we’re going to make sure that he gets the best capability and that it’s done affordably.”

The cost for Boeing’s Air Force contract to develop the next presidential fleet was described as “out of control” by Trump in a December 6 tweet, which earned earned 43,000 retweets and 143,000 likes.

“The $4 billion is a theoretical estimate of the life of the program, which is approximately 30 years,” a Department of Defence spokesman told Business Insider.

Considering the US Air Force contract with Boeing is in very early stages, it is entirely possible for that figure to be adjusted, the spokesman added.

Trump is set to meet with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson on Wednesday.

On December 12, Trump said the cost for Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation stealth F-35 Lightning II jet was also “out of control.”

The message, which got over 16,000 retweets, sent defence giant Lockheed Martin’s stock down from $251 at the opening bell to $245.50, before it rebounded to a little more than $253 a share.

The F-35, valued at an acquisition cost of $379 billion, has become one of the most challenged programs in the history of the Department of Defence. It has experienced setbacks that include faulty ejection seats, software delays, and helmet-display issues.

F35aUS Air Force photoAn F-35A Lightning II team parks the aircraft for the first time at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Feb. 8, 2016.

“This program is not out of control,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office, said during a December 19 briefing with reporters
, just days after Trump tweeted criticism of the program.
“If given the opportunity I would like to try and explain to the new administration that this is a vastly different program from 2011,” Bogdan said. “I’ll just lay the facts out on the table and I’ll let them make their own judgments because I don’t think the program cost wise is out of control nor do I think that it’s out of control schedule wise.”

Trump and his transition team were not briefed by the F-35 Joint Program before the tweet.

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