Saturday, December 24, 2016

Trump May Deliver on Bringing the Military-Industrial Complex into Cost Control

12/23/16 Geekwire:

After meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says he’s making a “personal commitment” to keep the cost of the next two Air Force One jets below $4 billion.
“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” Muilenburg told reporters on Wednesday.
In addition to the Air Force One debate, Boeing has gotten involved in a tangle over Lockheed Martin’s controversial F-35 fighter jets.
The back-and-forth with Trump began with a tweet on Dec. 6, in which the president-elect threatened to have Boeing’s Air Force One deal canceled because “costs are out of control, more than $4 billion.” Since then, Muilenburg and other executives have smoothed over the dispute. Wednesday’s meeting in Palm Beach appeared to cement the rapprochement.
Muilenburg told reporters that he had a “terrific conversation” with Trump. “Got a lot of respect for him. He’s a good man, and he’s doing the right thing,” Muilenburg said.

Concerning the very expensive F-35:
Yet another twist was added to the dance on Thursday, when Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to provide a price for a comparable F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet:

FollowDonald J. Trump

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!
3:26 PM - 22 Dec 2016
14,06714,067 Retweets 56,00656,006 likes

An hour after Trump’s comment, Boeing tweeted that it was open to discussing the options:

FollowThe Boeing Company

Ready to work with @realDonaldTrump's administration to affordably meet U.S. military requirements.
4:32 PM - 22 Dec 2016
184184 Retweets 312312 likes

Today, Lockheed Martin tweeted that Hewson and Trump had a follow-up conversation about the F-35s, during which the CEO gave her “personal commitment to drive the cost down aggressively.” (Where have we heard that before?)
The Art of the Deal.  Why couldn't progressives work this hard to lower costs for systems that they claim to hate?


  1. I feel sorry for the poor engineers at Lockheed and Boeing who will be losing a lot of their family time in the near future to feed the higher ups the numbers they need. Been there; done that.

    OT Story: Christmas Eve at Bell Labs, Holmdel(HO), NJ.
    Every year there was a toy and doll campaign. On a voluntary basis(really) you could bring in new unwrapped toys or make clothes for dolls. One would get whatever number of naked dolls one had signed up for in October, IIRC, and on Christmas Eve there would be a big display of the toys and dolls. Employees were encouraged to bring in their spouses and children in the morning. There was a Santa Claus and bug juice and cookies were served in the main cafeteria. At noon everyone was hustled out and the facility shut down. People were encouraged to shut down test gear, desktop computers, and other organizational computer systems. Then they turned off the air conditioning. Without A/C and with all the computers, etc running the building would heat up. Things tended to get pretty cold. "How do you know this, Joe?" Well this one year we were pretty flush with capital money and needed to get it committed before the year end. So we sat in our managers' offices in our winter coats the afternoon of Christmas Eve going over catalogs of neat stuff we might need and other things in somebody's development channel that would be fun to have. HP made out like a bandit. Then to the telephones. We ordered stuff that wasn't ready for shipment. We just asked for a package on our loading dock by 12/31. It could be empty. Send the gadget when it was ready. Oh, the joys of being a regulated monopoly utility.

  2. A lot of people have been predicting the Super Hornet will end up being procured in significant numbers because of the F-35's myriad issues. Especially those who know about the last time we did this, the TFX, which was supposed to fill 5 roles, and ended up with only the F-111 and the Air Force being forced to fly the Navy's F-4 Phantom until they could get the F-15 and F-16 procured. They'll really burn if they have to do that again....

    The Marines really do need a Harrier replacement, it's a generation or more behind everything else everyone is flying, so it's much more dangerous and all that, maybe it'll be this generation's F-111.

    "The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history."