Lockheed Martin is "very close to a deal" with the government for the 10th delivery lot of its F-35 stealth fighter, an aircraft that President Donald Trump has publicly criticized as being too expensive.
CEO Marillyn Hewson spoke about the pending deal on the defense contractor's fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday, calling conversations she's had with the president "very productive."
"President Trump recognizes that the F-35 is a very large program — the largest program in the Department of Defense," Hewson said. "He wants to make the sure that the American taxpayer is getting the lowest possible cost on the program."
Hewson maintained that these cost reductions would not be about "slashing our profit" or hurting the company's margins. Instead, she reiterated that Lockheed has been bringing down the cost of the F-35 aircraft, and is moving forward with a "sustainment cost reduction" that will reduce costs in the supply chain and manufacturing.
Moreover, the company is working to take costs out of the materials used as the F-35 program moves along.