FORT WORTH, Texas – Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. said Thursday it would consider sharing a massive fighter jet contract with Boeing Co. , which competed for the Pentagon project.
Last Friday, Lockheed beat out Boeing to build the Joint Strike Fighter, a contract that could be worth more than $200 billion over several decades.
"Notwithstanding the decisive conclusion by the government regarding the Lockheed Martin team offering, we will be speaking with our competitor, Boeing, about capabilities from their proposal they could possibly bring to the program to enhance the value of the JSF team," Dain Hancock, president of Lockheed's Fort Worth, Texas-based aeronautics unit, said in a statement.
Boeing shares fell 10 percent Monday in reaction to the Chicago-based company's JSF loss. Pentagon officials had said they would not force Lockheed to share the contract, which prompted concerns Boeing's defense business could wither.
In midday trade Thursday, Boeing shares were up 39 cents at $32.99 on the New York Stock Exchange. Lockheed shares were down 27 cents at $48.50.
Boeing and Lockheed officials met separately with Pentagon leaders this week, but Lockheed declined to disclose the outcome, citing a Pentagon request for confidentiality.
But both companies have said Defense officials clearly preferred Lockheed's design over Boeing's.
"It was overwhelmingly clear that the Lockheed Martin team solution was evaluated across the board as the best choice," Hancock said, citing partners Northrop Grumman Corp. in Los Angeles and Britain's BAE Systems Plc
The JSF, or F-35, is a family of high-tech, stealthy jets designed to be highly modular and therefore more affordable than past military programs.
The U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, together with British forces are expected to order 3,002 units initially, after Lockheed completes an initial production phase.
"We take very seriously our responsibility to now deliver the total best-value solution," Hancock said. "That's a commitment we've made to the U.S. and UK governments, as well as to the taxpayers."
The Pentagon awarded Lockheed's team $18.9 billion for development, plus $4 billion to engine makers led by United Technologies Corp.'s Pratt & Whitney unit. First delivery is scheduled for 2008.
Several other nations have shown interest in buying JSFs and the program could ultimately yield half a trillion dollars in revenues, including spare parts and maintenance.