The Lockheed Martin Corp. chief executive says the company’s goal is to build and maintain a robust fleet of fighter jets in the face of increasing threats and that its engineers are “unafraid to innovate.”
The comments were made in an interview with The Wall House’s John F. Sweeney, who asked Mr. Smedley if the company has a plan for the future.
“I don’t have a strategy for the next five years, but we’re not going to be constrained by anything,” he said.
“We’re just going to keep innovating, keep learning and keep working at it.”
Mr. Sbedley said Lockheed has the capability to build fighter jets for decades to come.
He said the company is investing in new technologies and developing new technologies.
Mr. Sweeney said the U.S. is losing about 1,200 F-35 jets a month.
Lockheed has spent billions of dollars to make the plane safer and more reliable, he said, but there are limits to how much money can be put into the program.
“It is not going away, but I do think there is a chance that in the next 10 to 15 years, we may see the last of these jets, as opposed to just the last, but the F-18s and the F/A-18,” he added.
“We have the capability of building a whole new generation of aircraft, but it will be a process.”
Mr Smedleys comments come as Lockheed Martin is facing a federal court case seeking to block an order to stop it from making the plane in response to a lawsuit filed by Boeing Co.
Boeing is challenging the order to halt Lockheed’s F-X aircraft program.
In a motion filed last month, Boeing says the government is violating its own Commerce Department order by requiring the Pentagon to continue with its plans to purchase the F35A fighter jet, which is the second-largest fighter jet in the world after the F16.
Mr Sbedleys comments echoed comments made earlier this year by Mr. Mattis, who said the F15, the F18, and the X-47B, the plane that powered the first Gulf War, are the best planes in the Air Force.
“There are other aircraft in the air that are a lot more capable than those two,” he told Congress in January.
“It is time for us to stop spending billions of our hard-earned dollars on these aircraft that will be used for decades and years to come, and instead to put them to use as the primary weapon system of our air force, to provide a new generation, the best weapons of the future, for the Air Guard and the Navy.”