President Donald Trump’s plan to have Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornets compete with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jets isn’t a viable option, according to one member of Congress.
“The F-18 and Joint Strike Fighter are completely different,” and comparing the two “doesn’t make sense,” GOP Texas Rep. Kay Granger, chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told Bloomberg News. “The F-35, there’s no another plane like it. You can’t compare it to the F-18,” Granger said.
Granger’s Texas district includes a Lockheed Martin facility that builds parts for the F-35, but has a point saying the jets have different strengths.
The F-35, a fifth-generation fighter, has advanced radar and targeting capabilities that can shoot down targets over the horizon, something the F-18 cannot do. The fighter jet doesn’t far as well in dogfighting tests, but defenders of the jet say that the advanced stealth, detection and communication capabilities on the F-35 make dogfighting a non-issue.
Trump said his government is “looking seriously at a big order” of F-18 Super Hornets during a speech at Boeing’s Charleston, S.C., plant earlier in February. (RELATED: Trump To Boeing: Expect ‘A Big Order’ Of Super Hornets)
Trump has threatened to purchase more Boeing’s F-18s over Lockheed’s F-35 since December, when he called the fifth-generation fighter jet program too expensive for taxpayers on Twitter. He also asked Boeing to price-out costs of building a F-18 Super Hornet that could be comparable to competitor Lockheed Martin’s F-35.
“President Trump’s personal involvement in the F-35 program accelerated the negotiations and sharpened our focus on driving down the price,” Lockheed said in a statement Feb. 3. “The agreement was reached in a matter of weeks and represents significant savings over previous contracts.” (RELATED: New F-35 Contract Shows Exactly How Much Trump Saved Taxpayers)
Trump’s involvement in the F-35 contract “turned out to be a good thing,” Granger said. “He said, ‘we want to lower the price’ and then Lockheed did lower the price because they are going to build them faster,” Granger added. “I also thought it was positive that the president knows now all the things that go into the pricing of that.”
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