April 23, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Firms Are Playing Defense

“Our expenses went up in the first quarter of 2009 due in part to increased activity on programs such as the F-22 prior to the [president’s] defense budget recommendations made on April 6,” Jeff Adams, a Lockheed Martin spokesman, said in a statement to Roll Call.

Lockheed Martin saw some gains in the budget but is facing big cuts with the shutdown of the F-22 Raptor.

Despite publicly saying it isn’t fighting the decision to stop production of the F-22, Lockheed hasn’t completely stood down.

“It’s very much a soft sell,” one lobbyist who works for several defense contractors said of Lockheed’s efforts.

“That doesn’t mean they’ve given up,” added another defense industry lobbyist, who has run several campaigns in the past for defense contractors facing program cuts.

“It comes to the logical conclusion of leaving the program in the very good hands of F-22 champions on Capitol Hill,” he added.

Lawmakers, including House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), have defended the program in the past.

Lockheed Martin has also redoubled its efforts on the F-35 joint strike fighter to ensure the program’s continued funding, according to defense lobbyists.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he wants to speed up testing of the planes and order around 500 F-35 planes over the next five years.

While Lockheed will be hit by the stoppage of the F-22, Boeing is facing some of the largest program cuts.

Gates wants to shut down production of the C-17 military cargo plane and cut missile- defense programs as well as Boeing’s Airborne Laser program. Boeing also makes the wings for the F-22.

It isn’t all bad news for Boeing.

Lawmakers have come to the defense of the Boeing F-18. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who counts Boeing’s St. Louis-based division as one of the biggest companies in her state, has spoken out in support of the program.

It appears Congress will add funding for Boeing’s C-17 Globemasters in the defense supplemental bill. The House moved to add eight of the cargo planes to the budget.

The increase may not be enough, though, because decreasing the number of cargo planes will increase the cost per plane, according to industry analysts.

The Lexington Institute’s Thompson says the C-17 program has the greatest chance of seeing money restored, noting that Congress is accustomed to funding the program and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given it her stamp of approval.

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