back to article Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

The power of the president elect to shake things up was amply demonstrated on Monday morning – when a single tweet knocked more than $2bn off the valuation of Lockheed Martin, the maker of the F‑35 fighter jet. "The F‑35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) …

  1. Youngone Silver badge

    He doesn't understand

    Someone needs to sit the Aberdeenshire business owner down and explain to him that the F-35 (and that stupid destroyer) are not for fighting, they're for providing jobs in the right people's electorates.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: He doesn't understand

      Yes but that is California - who voted the wrong way.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: He doesn't understand

        No, US politicians have perfected the art of making shit cost 3x what it should by divvying up the work into such small pieces so there is some of it in every single one of America's 435 congressional districts, thereby insuring that it becomes 'must pass' legislation, lest a congressman's opponent be able to run against him by saying "he voted against this bill and that's why 2000 people at this defense contractor's facility the next town over got laid off last year!"

        The avionics for the F35's boondoggle helmet as well as some of the systems in the plane itself were designed less than an hour from where I live...which is nowhere near California or Washington DC, I can assure you!

        1. Truckle The Uncivil

          Re: He doesn't understand

          @DougS

          For a moment I read that as "were designed in less than an hour.." and my first though was "why am I not surprised by that". My very own straw man.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fatman Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: He doesn't understand

      <quote>Someone needs to sit the Aberdeenshire business owner down and explain to him that the F-35 (and that stupid destroyer) are not for fighting, they're for providing jobs in the right people's electorates squandering $Billions of tax revenue that could be used to improve infrastructure needs; but end up in the hands of defense contractors due to Congressional interference.</quote>

      There!!!

      FTFY!!!

      Remember your history boys and girls; back during those dark days of World War 2, the necessity to Arm America to defend the free world against fascism was seen as a Gravy Train by companies that undertook that task. When the war ended, it would appear that a peace dividend would curtail such massive spending. Right???

      But, NOOOOOOO! We had The Cold War, our escapades in Korea and VietNam, and elsewhere. We had endless sessions of poke and counterpoke with the Soviets. And $Billions were spent. Now, with the past 25 years under our 'belt', it is apparent that continual warfare in the Middle East is going to consume more of any peace dividend. The R's can't ever been seen as weak, so they are so Goddammed willing to throw more and more $$$$ at defense contractors, lest it cost them elections.

      Who the fuck cares, it just TAX PAYER MONEY, anyway!!!!

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Fatman Re: He doesn't understand

        "....VietNam....Korea....the Rs...." So you're another Leftie that coveniently forgot that even your fellow Lefties admit the Vietnam ramp up began under your beloved Democrat POTUS, JFK? Or that another Democrat POTUS, Truman not only approved the US involvement in the UN's defence of South Korea, but also was the principle creator of NATO. Maybe you need to do some more historical reading to straighten out some of the myths you've swallowed?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Fatman He doesn't understand

          Not sure why the downvotes on this. I would add that under Johnson, the war ramped up and up and he personally micromanaged it while all the while reviewing his polling numbers on daily basis. He had a couple of opportunities to end the war and ignored them. If we go back FDR wasn't much better. Going forward, Nixon was an self-centered egotist and an alcoholic who held onto the war to get re-elected.

        2. cream wobbly

          Re: Fatman He doesn't understand

          Now now, sunshine. Democrats and Republicans are all neoliberals nowadays.

        3. JLV Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Fatman He doesn't understand

          Dang, I upvoted Matt. Does not compute.

          Yeah, and let's not forget JFK almost got WW3 going with the Cuban missile crisis. Even as the US was playing pretty much the same games with their missiles in Turkey. JFK, who was on a Senate Defense committee, campaigned in '60 on a supposed missile gap (to the detriment of the US) while the opposite was true. Which, given his committee he was perfectly aware of.

          Too bad he got shot, his death gives his crappy policies a shine they don't deserve.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Peace dividend

        The only peace dividend happened under Clinton after the Cold War ended. Republicans whined that he was weakening US defense and they continued to play that tired old line under Obama - despite the fact that the US spends more on defense than the next 7 or 10 (whatever the number is today) countries combined. Trump campaigned on a promise to rebuild our military that he claimed Obama had "gutted" so that means more pork for his fat cat campaign contributors he's been appointing to his administration.

        You don't fight ISIS with F-35s and destroyers, but that doesn't matter - to military contractors the answer to every problem from the next Hitler to terrorists wielding IEDs to kids egging your house on Halloween is major weapons programs with costs measured in billions, or ideally, trillions.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    billions lost?

    I read the story on this site, about Uber. They operate at a loss, despite being worth $60??

    Twitter, we often hear, is not in profit and has been struggling for a while.

    Facebook bought Whatsapp for $17 billion (or something like that).

    Now, one tweet can drop a company's price by $2 billion?? And not a company that is likely to disappear or become unprofitable anytime soon.

    Nevermind the causation vs correlation... my main take away here is that its all completely bonkers monopoly money that only exists on paper.

    All the money for the planes is likely getting spent on something tangible (even if that is bonuses for employees), the other figures are just banking numbers on a piece of paper swayed by markets and opinion.

    More and more i think economics has little connection with mathematics.

    1. JLV Silver badge

      Re: billions lost?

      There are plenty of reasons to lose 3% of your value if...

      - the product at hand is about as useful as a rasher of bacon at a bar mitzvah*, but happily contributes 20% of your revenue. Before it reaches volume sales. Nice.

      - the tweeter has a large influence on purchasing decisions for said product at your biggest customer.

      - other customers have privately had doubts, but have been told to toe the party line by the lead customer.

      I don't think scuttling the F35 will make up for all the mess The Donald is likely to make. But doing so would be a small start.

      My actual expectation that it will either be cancelled or seriously rationalized? Very limited.

      * I wonder if the Israelis are paying full price for those F35s. Or if they got them, wanted or not, as part of the yearly US military aid packages. Israel is usually rather clever about their weapon procurement - they can't afford BS near as much as everyone else on their military budget. For example, workable (cheap) UAV combat drones were an Israeli innovation.

      1. Dr Scrum Master

        Re: billions lost?

        I wonder if the Israelis are paying full price for those F35s. Or if they got them, wanted or not, as part of the yearly US military aid packages. Israel is usually rather clever about their weapon procurement - they can't afford BS near as much as everyone else on their military budget. For example, workable (cheap) UAV combat drones were an Israeli innovation.

        The Israelis certainly got a better deal for servicing the F35 than the UK did.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: billions lost?

          Putting American materiel into Israeli hands is the next best thing, for the US, to placing its own airbase in the region. In fact probably better : there is every chance the Israeli IT community will fix at least the software problems before the US. Most likely the hardware too : Israeli air aces are a rare and expensive commodity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: billions lost?

            " Israeli air aces are a rare and expensive commodity"

            Because they haven't actually engaged anything air-to-air recently?

      2. Strahd Ivarius

        Re: billions lost?

        Israel buys the F35 with money given by the USA as military aid...

        But the military there are as septical of the capabilities of the plane as ElReg's readers

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: billions lost?

          It is easier not to complain about how crappy the F35 is when you're effectively getting them for free like Israel is. Hell, I'd take one if they were free, it would look cool in my backyard.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: billions lost?

          "But the military there are as septical of the capabilities of the plane as ElReg's readers"

          Having them isn't the same as using them - and they don't need much maintenance if they're only wheeled out of the hanger and carefully flown around the block once a week.

          1. Vic

            Re: billions lost?

            they don't need much maintenance if they're only wheeled out of the hanger and carefully flown around the block once a week.

            Actually, that's quite wrong.

            Figher aircraft need an amount of maintenance even if you don't switch the electrics on; starting engines increases the amount you require, running at full power (e.g.for takeoff) increase it yet again, ...

            During the last year of its displays, the Vulcan ran at a continuous, high power setting. This greatly shortened the lifetime of the airframe, but reduced the wear on the engines. They had plenty of life in the airframe, but the engines were running out[1].

            Aircraft maintenance regimes can be complicated.

            Vic.

            [1] According to the manufacturer's original schedule, anyway. The XH558 team were generally considered to be the worldwide experts on that machinery by the end of its life, and they were of the opinion that the engines they had were barely run in. But without RR's support, the aircraft was not permitted to fly - and although RR did the best job they could, they simply didn't have the expertise or the data to keep those engines running.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: billions lost?

      Oh, that's just peanuts tulips.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      It didn't drop the company's value

      It dropped the market cap. Not the same thing, despite how journalists like to conflate the two.

    4. Triggerfish

      Re: billions lost? @ Jeremy 3

      Have a read of this

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlboro_Friday

      Been working all night and that description is very short, pretty sure I remember some people made (Aligned with Phillip Morris) a killing on the stock price drop and recovery though, but CBA to find the details at the moment. There was a program about it a few years back.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "More and more i think economics has little connection with mathematics."

      It's the stock market valuation of a company having little relation to it's actual assets, normally seen in the case of Facebook.

      In accounting the difference between what the assets of the company actually add up to (quite a lot in the case of LM or Boeing, not that much for Facebook) and what the total share capital would cost to buy is called (no trace of irony here) "goodwill."

  3. elDog Silver badge

    Neither direct correlation or causation - look to the unnamed factor

    What we get in our dribs and drabs of news is really just some noticeable burps from whence we try to ascertain "meaning".

    Perhaps there are some other components that influence the orange-u-thing and the MIPC (the original name: Military Industrial Political Complex.)

    If we stop trying to say that Alice caused Bob to do something, but rather looked at another actor that is influencing both, and that actor does everything it can to remain hidden, then we need to delve more deeply.

    Causation can lead to correlation. You just need to understand that pesky arrow of time and effect.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    . "It's a great program for Lockheed Martin and its industry partners to profit from understand the importance of affordability for the F‑35 program.

    There, fixed for Lockheed....

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Tccc.... Naughty... Disclosing such secrets

      Let's put it this way - I know a few people in this profession in different countries. None of them is worth less than a few millions after they dealt with their respective idiot (or alcoholic) in chief for a few years.

  6. Captain DaFt

    Back to front?

    Instead of the tweet dropping the stock price, maybe the drop in stock price triggered the tweet?

    "Oh crap! The shit's about to hit the fan at Lockheed, and we need a cover to bail out! Trump, help a body out?"

    >Trump tweets< Your plane are crap and should be scrapped! (Very loosely paraphrased)

    "There, That outta throw SEC off the scent! Keep selling!"

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Back to front?

      Keep watching... once is happenstance... twice is coincidence. If it happens a third time.... someone's manipulating things.

  7. EarthDog

    400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

    The total cost of the program. I could be the weapons system that bankrupts the American Empire.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

      I could be the weapons system that bankrupts the American Empire.
      You're not cheap then... Or short on ego.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

      They say that every dollar spent on NASA generates 18 in the economy. I'm guessing a similar multiplier for defence spending in the US. Money doesnt just disappear* it flows around the system and is used many many times. The US are fully aware of this and I'd bet the stock market in the US will take a noticeable hit if Trump is not talked out of 'saving' taxpayers money.

      *the UK seems to be able to make money disappear into bank black holes or offshore though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

        They say that every dollar spent on NASA generates 18 in the economy. I'm guessing a similar multiplier for defence spending in the US

        if you believe that nonsense (that simply spending borrowed money creates wealth), then the $400bn spent to date on F35 has generated over $7 trillion in wider wealth. If we posit that most of that money was spent in the past five years, then about 10% of gross US GDP is attributable to a programme that's produced token numbers of such a high quality product it couldn't even be delivered on time because of the weather, and whose underlying design concept was Russian.

        That's the problem with these misunderstood views of the multiplier effect - it does certainly exist, but it is (a) often overstated by people wanting to hose money all over their pet cause, and (b) it doesn't work in economic terms if the original investment is on something without real economic value. That of course is why Japan's had two decades of no growth, despite throwing huge amounts at infrastructure projects, showing that it isn't just space or defence programmes that can burn money.

        At the heart of this is the misunderstood idea of Keynes around stimulus. Keynes simply suggested that government could even out booms and busts by selective increases and decreases in public spending, and it was a reasonable idea. Sadly today's politicians didn't understand that Keynes was starting from an assumption that governments would in fact balance the books over time, and they've proven in most developed economies that every year they will spend more than they raise in taxes, and never pay down the debt, or balance their budget. That's akin to using your credit card every day for two decades, but never making anything other than the minimum payment. In the case of Japan, they got to the stage that the credit card company said "no", so the answer was (in effect) to make their own credit card, issuing themselves a higher credit limit every time they maxed out.

        The Trump gets a bad press, and some if it is deserved. On the other hand at least he's spotted some of the big challenges that previous presidents have refused to even acknowledge exist. If he cuts back on the F35 and US hobby wars, but them spends the same amount on make work infrastructure programmes then economically the US will still be in a pickle - although arguably at there's a benefit that it won't be dropping bombs on foreigners.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

        " I'm guessing a similar multiplier for defence spending in the US "

        You'd be guessing wrong.

        NASA is subject to so many levels of oversight that the money is traceable.

        the US military isn't and the vast majority of spend disappears into only a few pockets.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

      "the weapons system that bankrupts the American Empire."

      maybe that's what Trump is thinking... an overpriced "cool, shiny" weapons platform that has too many impracticalities.

      WW2 was won with 'leser capable' aircraft, etc. by the Allies in the face of "superior" equipment on both sides. The Zero was faster than U.S. planes [they could only catch one by diving] until late in the war, and Germany had practical jet fighters. Yet the Allies won, in many ways through NUMBERS, not technical prowess.

      Translate that into more modern terms, Reagan pulled WW2 battleships out of mothballs and 'modernized' them for a fraction of the cost of new ships. And here is a nice photo of one of them through a periscope...

      U.S.S. New Jersey ca 1984

      In any case, the principle here is that "it can be done for less" and Trump is apparently heading in that same direction that Reagan so successfully went back in the 80's.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: bombastic bob Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

        ".....WW2 was won with 'leser capable' aircraft, etc. by the Allies in the face of "superior" equipment on both sides....." Up vote for most of the comment, but that bit needs a bit of a reality check. As an example, the Spitfire was a better interceptor and dogfighter than the Axis fighters for most of the War. True, the Mk V was kept in the frontline too long, but it was superior to the Zero in every way except a low speed climb (with the correct tactics, even the pretty awful P-40 Tomahawk could dominate the Japanese fighters, as shown by the Flying Tigers). The arrival in numbers of the Spitfire Mk IX (and the tropicalised Mk VIII) in 1942-43 on all fronts pretty much guaranteed local battlefield air superiority for the Allies, further bolstered by the P-47 and P-51 adding the longer range to achieve air superiority far into enemy territory. By 1944, the Allies were winning due to both a quantitative and qualitative edge, both in aircraft and pilot training.

        "....Germany had practical jet fighters....." No, they had designs that would have failed Allied standards for employment, and were only used because the Germans were desperate. The Me262's axial jet engines, for example, were notoriously fragile, much more so than the "less advanced" but more calmly developed centrifugal jets of the Meteor. With slower and more steady development, the post-War versions of the Meteor had far superior performance to the best Axis jet, the Me262, and were far more reliable. Allied research in many areas during the War, especially into supersonic flight, was actually more advanced than that of the Germans. Other so-called German "technological triumphs", such as the Me163 rocket fighters and the He162 jet, we're so dangerous they actually killed more German pilots than Allied aircrew!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: bombastic bob 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

          "No, they had designs that would have failed Allied standards for employment, and were only used because the Germans were desperate."

          A large chunk of the reason that the germans lost was that they spent huge amounts of time and effort turning out highly advanced (but buggy) designs that ended up being trounced by their fuel consumption(*) or sheer superior numbers of inferior weapons(**). The desperation part only kicked in in the latter stages of the war.

          Japan's war effort was doomed from the moment its fuel supplies were cut off, the fact that they kept fighting after that was sheer bloodymindedness on the leadership's part (same for the final days in Germany)

          Napolean is attributed as saying "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" - and most countries unfriendly to the USA are more than happy to let them keep making mistakes with the F35.

          (*)Tiger tanks - it was easy to disable them by targetting their fuel supply. From that point you could simply stay out of range and arrange for them to be picked off when attackers were ready.

          (**) Shermans might have been tommycookers, but for every one the germans destroyed with their superior Panzers there were 3 more behind it firing back. Ditto on the soviet T34s.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            Re: Alan Brown Re: bombastic bob 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

            ".....Tiger tanks - it was easy to disable them by targetting their fuel supply....." The Tiger was the perfect example of an attempt to ensure dominance through making a vast and unproven leap in technology. The result was massively unreliable in the few advancing campaigns it participated in (such as Kursk, where the majority of Tigers broke down before even reaching the start lines), gaining its reputation in the predominantly defensive operations the Germans were forced into after 1942. Throughout 1944-45, more Tigers were abandoned and lost due to mechanical problems than lack of fuel. However, the fuel point raised is still valid as the Tiger used twice as much as even the "good enough" long-75mm-armed PzIVs. Indeed, the Tiger took more than twice as long to build and used up almost twice the resources as the arguably more effective PzIV.

            ".....The desperation part only kicked in in the latter stages of the war....." No. When Hitler committed Germany to war in 1939, his generals and most of his economic staff had already twigged that Germany did not have the economic and production resources, especially for high-quality steel and refined oil, to pursue a long war. Hitler's Chief of Staff, Ludwig Beck, opposed the annexation of Czecheslovakia in 1938 because he was one of the Nazis to realise that Germany couldn't win a war with France and Britain without significant changes to supply and production. The Germans had already absorbed the lessons of WW1, where Germany and her partners had been unable to compete economically with the Allies (as an example of this, Germany was so short of high-quality steel by 1916 that the Germans were forced to recycle the engines from crashed Allied aircraft, the engine in one of Manfred von Richtifen's scouts being a recycled French unit). In the 30s this led the Nazis to a policy of "dominance though superior technology" - Germany would beat her enemies by making such giant leaps in science and technology that they would maintain a qualitative edge for the duration of the expected short war (staring in mid-1940 at the earliest, and preferably not until 1942, and lasting only six months), yet require the production of fewer actual weapons. This strategy dictated that a "supertank" would use less resources and defeat ten or more ordinary tanks expected to be produced by the more economically-affluent Allies or Russians over the timeframe of a short war. This chimed neatly with the Nazi ideal of Aryan superiority (and why the T-34 was such a shock to those ideas of racial superiority). Thus, schemes which promised quick rewards (such as the Tiger "supertank") were encouraged, whilst those requiring slow and steady development (such as the Heinkel 280, the actual first jet fighter) were ignored or ordered to stop. When the actual War went on longer than the few months expected, and the programs didn't provide the war-winning superweapons expected, the desperation set in very early on (in cases as early as November 1940, when it became clear Germany could not invade Britain and bring the War to a quick conclusion). Fortunately for the Allies, the Nazis had instilled such a focus on the "dominance through superior technology" mantra, and with resources getting ever fewer, the Germans simply pushed even further into unproven technologies (and ridiculous "supersupertank" projects like the Maus tank), producing designs that consumed even more resources for less returns than their Allied counterparts. Last ditch attempts to rationalise development and production programs eventually churned out masses of ordinary weapons which were actually technologically-inferior to the best Allied designs (such as the Bf109K compared to the P-51D or Tempest V), but failed because the Germans didn't meet easily anticipated shortfalls in other areas (aero fuels and pilot training in the case of the Bf109K).

            ".....Shermans might have been tommycookers....." The Sherman tank was actually arguably the best all-round tank when introduced to combat in 1942. It had good enough armour, a good gun that also fired a good HE shell, was manoeuvrable and fast enough, was quick to build in numbers, and was easy to train on, service and reliable in use. The problem was the Yanks didn't understand the irrational "dominance through superior technology" mantra pushing the Nazi scientists and engineers, and thought the Sherman was such a technological leap whilst still being reliable that they could not see anyone producing a better all-round tank by the expected end of the War (which the Yanks predicted in 1941 as ending by Christmas 1943!). Therefore the Yanks virtually stopped development of a real heavy tank, and were later surprised by the appearance of the heavier (but much less reliable) Tiger and Panther. Even so, the majority of Shermans knocked out in 1944 and 1945 were attacked by German infantry using cheap recoiless weapons (such as the Panzerscrechk, a copy of the American Bazooka technology) and not Tiger tanks (as many as 70% of all T-34s destroyed are thought to have been lost to the cheap and simple Panzerscrechk and Panzerfaust weapons).

            ".....Japan's war effort was doomed from the moment its fuel supplies were cut off...." The Japanese had plenty of fuel (they went to war to seize oilfields in Malaya and Java, and were still in control of them through 1945), what they lacked was the industrial capability to produce enough aircraft and pilots of good enough quality to fight the more numerous and better-armed Allies. The Japanese never did produce a tank to match even the Sherman, but they did produce some excellent fighters (such as the Ki-84 and the chop-shop Ki100). Their problem was producing those fighters in numbers and training enough pilots to the level of their Allied opponents, both of which proved impossible. As an added problem, no-one had predicted and prepared Japan for bombing by B-29s, and so what industry they did have was not dispersed and was poorly protected. The Japanese also tried to make technological leaps so they could produce "superweapons" to defeat the larger numbers of superior Allied planes, but these projects were even less successful than those of the Germans.

  8. Pompous Git Silver badge

    "when The Orange One made his pronouncement"

    "I am not a man of etiquette, I don't know manners. I simply call a spade a fucking spade, because that's what it is." -- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (another orange one).

    1. Colin Millar

      Re: "when The Orange One made his pronouncement"

      The Bhagwan seems to have done that EFL thing of not quite getting that the phrase is actually a joke and getting a key word wrong

      Said of a blunt talker

      "He calls a spade a fucking shovel"

      My favourite was always

      "You think I know damn nothing - well you're wrong - I know damn all"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "when The Orange One made his pronouncement"

        "The Bhagwan seems to have done that EFL thing of not quite getting that the phrase is actually a joke and getting a key word wrong"

        It isn't a joke and he hasn't got a word wrong. YPC.

        It's about blunt (/unimaginative /rude /honest, select as you see fit) speaking as you say but was always 'call a spade a spade' (in English at least; it's something else in the original Greek, and the French seem to prefer cats).

        "Call a spade a shovel" arrives later and has a few different meanings, often tending to the opposite of the original meaning (i.e. precisely not calling a spade a spade).

  9. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Devil

    Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

    "One interesting facet to the whole sorry saga is in the timing of the tweet and subsequent share price drop..."

    I for one will be collecting further such correlations. It is all too easy to believe in a cabal of crooks making money off Trump Twitter proclamations.

    Step 1: Signal the cabal of an impending tweet.

    Step 2: Sales or purchases of relevant stocks commence.

    Step 3: The tweet is transmitted.

    Step 4: The trampling herd then responds.

    The cabal smiles and says: 'It's only correlation. Nothing statistically significant is happening here. Move along. Move along'.

    But collect enough correlation data points and you may reach statistical significance.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

      I see a problem with step 1, though. While it's probably safe to assume that there is allways an impending tweet, given how many he churns out, he seems to be quite spontaneous as to what the next tweet will be about.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

        it doesn't mean that he actually types and transmits the tweet. Perhaps his trusted meek mild mannered aide/mistress does it for him....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

      Alternatively investigate who, operating anonymously through offshore shell companies no doubt, sold or shorted the shares before the announcement.

    3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

      The people who work in the stock exchange soon recognise "strange" dealings. After all, it is money that is not going their way. Unless they are in on the racket, of course.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

        The people who work in the stock exchange soon recognise "strange" dealings. After all, it is money that is not going their way. Unless they are in on the racket, of course.

        They're like bookies. No matter what happens to the market, they make money. If weren't for the SEC keeping an eye on things, the market would wilder and more manipulated than it is.

    4. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

      About cabals...

      Occam's razor: persons close to Trump's group, (or to the government in general) knew of this being discussed, and most importantly knew about "when" the decision was going to be made public.

      Now proving inside trading it is another matter altogether.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Go

        Re: John Sanders Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

        "......Occam's razor: persons close to Trump's group, (or to the government in general) knew of this being discussed, and most importantly knew about "when" the decision was going to be made public......" Or, much simpler - jittery market analysts saw Trumpet slate Boeing on the new Air Force One contract, heard his promise to stop waste in military spending, and jumped on that as a reason to advise against Lockheed as the F-35 program is always being painted as a massive cost by the MSM. Trumpet's tweet was then probably (a) a coincidence, but he will love the idea his pronouncements sway the markets, or (b) his team spotted the dip in Lockheed's share price and quickly threw out the tweet so they could claim Trumpet could sway the market with one tweet.

        Amusingly, it's hard for the haters to complain because they are usually the anti-military types that have been shrieking about the F-35 program, and it also plays to his supporters by saying he is "draining the swamp" by taking aim at Lockheed. El Reg's coverage - "we don't want to agree with Trump, but we kinda agree with Trump, so let's look for another angle (insider trading) where we can report this, but still slate Trump" - just shows how The Orange One plays even the non-mainstream (but equally anti-Trump) media like a well-tuned banjo!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optional

    "Nice but I think I'll wait for the F50" - Roger Waters

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      F-15, I think, not F-50 (I don't think there IS an F-50 is there?) Superb album, btw, "Amused to Death", up there with the best of Pink Floyd.

      1. Sadie

        Re: Optional

        There is, it's a Turboprop airliner that was made by Fokker in the 1990s. Now out of production.

  11. Frank Zuiderduin

    Grounded by bad weather? A fighter jet? You have GOT to be kidding me...

    If that's true, Lockheed Martin deserves to lose a whole lot more than $2bn.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Shhh... some folks believe no one ever attacks when it's raining. I knew an officer in 'Nam who died believing that.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Well, if the bad weather was, say, a hurricane, then I wouldn't expect a ferry run to want to fly through that.

      Or, perhaps the pilots had a big night the night before, and were still feeling the effects the next morning even after a nice greasy breakfast of bacon and eggs. In which case the pilots thinking may have been something along the lines of "fly through that, not a problem, but after some bad weather jostling I might have some some visibility problems in the cockpit caused by my stomach turning inside out. I don't want to have to fly with that stench in the cockpit, or have to clean it ip, so let's postpone the ferry flight for a bit".

      Or even, flying through the weather may add stress to the airframe and engines, reducing service lifetime time by a few hours more than normal conditions, which would be perfectly acceptable for a combat mission, but for a non-critical ferry mission? Not a chance.

    3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Grounded by bad weather? A fighter jet? You have GOT to be kidding me"

      Military aircraft are always being grounded by bad weather. Read the history of the Battle of the Bulge for starters. One reason that air war was so significant in WW2 was the warm dry summers in Europe.

      1. jrd

        Re: "Grounded by bad weather? A fighter jet? You have GOT to be kidding me"

        > Military aircraft are always being grounded by bad weather.

        Well, yes - but you'd hope avionics had moved on in the last 70 years. Civilian airliners manage to fly in (nearly) all weathers, after all, and most of them are not state-of-the-art aircraft.

    4. Steve Todd
      Stop

      You want a pilot to risk his/her life

      In peace time? You don't think they might be prepared to risk more during war? Weather is a big and powerful thing. It can rip the wings off airliners, make taxiing impossible never mind landing. You don't fly in bad weather if you don't have to.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Grounded by bad weather?

      It's the Russian-specced one. Great in the Middle East but won't be of any use against the Red Army in a Moscow winter.

    6. Rob Daglish

      Pity...

      ... we'll never see them up here then. We've seen pretty much every other aircraft the RAF (or their partner services) have flown on low flying practice, but if these dont' like rain, they won't be here in winter as it rains too much. Nor SUmmer, as in summer we get warm(er) rain...

    7. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      I read that the F35 got its ass kicked by the Rafale in a joint demo in the middle east, too. Superiority plane, well, if the weather is fair and the enemy has nothing able to take off!

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        " Superiority plane, well, if the weather is fair and the enemy has nothing able to take off! "

        You may be jesting, but that's pretty close to the design truth.

        The F35 isn't designed to go up against enemy aircraft or ground-based air defences. That's the F22's job.

        Relabelling an air support/strike plane as an air superiority fighter - and then selling it to other countries is one of the more egrarious frauds I can think of.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        The F-35 isn't, and was never meant to be, a superiority fighter.

        It's a low-observable bomb-truck with some self-defense capabilities.

        Basically, it's an F-117 with far superior self-defense/air-to-air combat capability.

        I'd consider it as a modern version of the A-4 skyhawk.

        Or perhaps more like an F-16, with the F-15 being the superiority fighter to clear the skies of the enemy, but retaining enough self-combat capability to defend itself from the few enemy aircraft that managed to avoid the F-15's (or F-22's or Rafael's or Eurofighters in this case).

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      F-35 comment

      The fact is that everything about this F-35 project was stolen by PRC hackers and is the basis for their new fighter. Boeing, CIA and Obama just sat their and sucked their collective "thumbs" while billions of dollars of engineering were stolen by China. Now there IS ACTUAL PROOF of China's military hacking the USA and others.

      But the "Russians hacked our elections". Sure, they did, now sit down, shut up and let some real people have a shot for a change.

      1. Vic

        Re: F-35 comment

        everything about this F-35 project was stolen by PRC hackers and is the basis for their new fighter

        I shouldn't think so. The Chinese have created some great aircraft in their time; I can't see them copying this bag of shite.

        Vic.

    9. Sadie

      Wonder if the plan was to do a display for the VIPs, bit difficult if it's foggy (not for the plane, but the top brass are not going to be impressed by listening to it loop through a fog bank)

  12. tom dial Silver badge

    "One interesting facet to the whole sorry saga is in the timing of the tweet and subsequent share price drop..."

    Lockheed dropped by$6.12 on Dec. 12 following Trump's tweet. It also dropped by $7.13 on Dec 8. After those "major" drops (and a small rise in the trading day between) it remains $16.83 above its recent low on Nov. 4, a few days before the election.

    According to https://www.thestreet.com/quote/LMT.html, the LMT price was $248.50 at 08:20 (well below its Friday close at $259.53) and $248.64 at 08:26; It rose to $249.92 at 08:55 and dropped to a low of $245.52 at 10:08, after which it generally rose for the rest of the day and closed at 253.11. If there was insider trading, it did not happen at 08:20, and it probably did not happen on Monday.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      News (real or not) doesn't make the market, it only moves it :)

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    The new President

    should change his name to

    Donald Tweeter

    After all, that seems how he is going to run the White House after Jan 20.

    Even though the GOP controls both the Senate and Congress the 'Dear Tweeter' seems determined to bypass them and rule by tweet. Apparently he has 17 Million followers.

    These are the boots on the ground that will mobilise to follow his orders.

    This won't end well for the USA or the World.

    Could he be impeached by his own party? That would be interesting.

    1. Magani
      FAIL

      Re: The new President

      You beat me to it!

      NEWS FLASH: For the next 4 years starting Jan 2017, White House press conferences will be replaced by 'Tweets From The Top (tm)'.

      What a way to run a country.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: The new President

        "What a way to run a country."

        To be fair we haven't seen how Pence will run the country yet.

        Trump is going to be spending all his time being presidential, he doesn't rely have time for policy, domestic or foreign.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          At least when

          Cheney was running the US, Dubya had the good sense to go off reading children stories about animals. Now Pence has to run the country while convincing Trump that he's really the one doing it, all the while stopping regularly to duck the orange one's curve-balls. Add to that the fact that the Republican party chose Cheney but Trump chose Pence and you've got one mega-omnishambles coming up.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The new President

        Considering that ALL liberal news outlets (including THIS one) have COMPLETELY LIED ABOUT TRUMP throughout the ENTIRE campaign, I prefer that he cuts the liberal media completely out of the equation. They will no longer have a chance to alter the words and meanings of Conservative's statements!

        Welcome to actual karmic retribution!

        1. Rattus Rattus

          Re: The new President

          "liberal media". Hahahahahaha.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: The new President

      should change his name to

      Donald Tweeter

      Might breathe a new lease of life into this.

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: The new President

        If we change his name to Donald Tweeter, I think there will be more airing of this:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzMKTZdkaU4

        Might make that Nobel make sense.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: The new President

      "should change his name to"

      I was hoping for Trumplethinskin

      "Could he be impeached by his own party?"

      Yes. They actively dislike him and would prefer Pence to be well and truely in the driving seat.

      All this is presumptive, of course. The _actual_ presidential election is still 4 days away.

  14. juul

    F*** winning a fight

    "Whoever has it will have the most advanced air force in the world, and that's why we're building the F‑35"

    Dear nation leaders

    You have the most advanced air force in the world, you might not win any air-to-air fights or any air-to-ground fights, but you have the most advanced air force in the World (along with a lot of other nations)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: F*** winning a fight

      You have the most advanced air force in the world, you might not win any air-to-air fights or any air-to-ground fights, but you have the most advanced air force in the World (along with a lot of other nations)

      War is horrible, beastly and expensive. Lockheed Martin are proposing that in future instead of wars, we settle the dispute by a physical manifestation of Top Trumps (no Donald relevance, just coincidence). It's still expensive, but as a general rule less beastly and horrible.

      I'd call that progress wouldn't you? And the whole game is simplified. Instead of dissimilar attributes like speed, payload or reliability that might see a MiG 25 beat an F35, the attributes are now twofold, just cost and technical complexity. And there's nothing to challenge the F35 on either.

  15. Haku

    It's a shame the tweeting thing doesn't work the other way round.

    I'd actually join twitter if my tweets could wipe billions off Trump's worth.

  16. pauleverett

    as much as I detest Trump, he is calling some good shots.

    1. ruffle china's feathers, on Taiwan. About time someone sorted that situation out. F*ck you China, etc,etc.

    2. F-35 project is insane. Put a halt to hit. Use that money to build the wall ?

    Trump could grow on me. At this rate, if he was not being such a dick on climate, and hired less frightening madmen to do his bidding, I may grow to like him.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Only Nixon could go to China. But only Trump could go to Taiwan.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Taiwan - when it was more commonly known as Formosa

        The USA shafted Taiwan once before. They WILL do it again.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "I may grow to like him"

      You might anyway. It's called Stockholm Syndrome.

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      I'd reserve judgement on the wisdom of getting into a fight with China until all the consequences, reprisals, retaliations, back and forth and such have worked themselves out if I were you. A trade war with China would nuke the Chinese economy;

      (1) that would hose the world economy pretty comprehensively, and

      (2) who do you think owns all those US T-bills that financed the F-35 and all the rest of it?

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        "(2) who do you think owns all those US T-bills that financed the F-35 and all the rest of it?"

        Trump might conceivably default. If you've started a trade war with China, why bother honouring your debts to them?

        "A trade war with China would nuke the Chinese economy;"

        And I think China know this. Which makes it interesting -- in the Chinese sense of the word "interesting". The question is who's the bigger bully and who's got the most to lose? So far, in this game of top Trump, it's one-nil to the orange one. But we might end up finding out how effective those F-35's are. *shivers*

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          "The question is who's the bigger bully and who's got the most to lose?"

          No-one bullies the swivel eyed loony in the playground, you just don't know what he's going to do next!

      2. Dr?

        "who do you think owns all those US T-bills that financed the F-35 and all the rest of it?"

        It's more than a little debatable whether, on its own, China selling down US treasury bonds would create any financial problems for the US. The amount China owns amounts to little more than a days trading volume and there's still plenty of demand from outside of China to invest in US debt.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "(2) who do you think owns all those US T-bills that financed the F-35 and all the rest of it?"

        The _interest_ from those T-bills pays for virtually the entire of the PRC military.

        The chinese economy is now the largest in the world and they're in a pretty good position to weather an economic storm just on their internal markets.

    4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      RE: pauleverett

      Trump could grow on me

      So could athlete's foot, but that's hardly enough to recommend it.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps next he could tell Israel that they'll get no more F35s' or any other support from the USA, until they've published and agreed to a plan to pull out from the territories they currently occupy.

      Handing control back to country and people that the land actually belongs to!

  17. Chris G Silver badge

    Between knocking billions off the value of Lockheed and the CIA running a campaign against him, if I were Twump I would steer clear of grassy knolls.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      I hear he was attacked during the campaign for playing golf or building golf courses (possibly racist and/or elitist ones), so it's hard to avoid grassy knolls, really.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        it's hard to avoid grassy knolls

        That's fine on a golf course - there are bunkers everywhere.

  18. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    If there is correlation between the two events...

    Then it would be interesting to see who was buying the shares during the fall.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: If there is correlation between the two events...

      No-one - that's why the price fell. (Ok there are going to be a few obviously :P)

  19. sawatts

    Pentagon Wars?

    The F35 fiasco reminds me of the "Pentagon Wars" [https://youtu.be/iDYpRhoZqBY] - a humorous retelling of the fiasco around the Bradley AFV.

    The F35 may be the last manned (canned meat) warplane in any case - expect it to be outperformed by autonomous vehicles within 10 years at a much lower deployable-dollar cost.

    1. Vic

      Re: Pentagon Wars?

      The F35 may be the last manned (canned meat) warplane in any case - expect it to be outperformed by autonomous vehicles within 10 years

      Expect it to be out-performed by interceptors from the 1950s...

      Vic.

  20. Andy 97

    This F-35 had better be the most incredible aircraft ever made or we'll all look like total mugs.

  21. Brandon 2

    Corelation =/= causation... especially where the stock market is concerned.

  22. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Puppetry...

    If Putin doesn't like the F-35 then maybe it's better than we think.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Puppetry...

      "If Putin doesn't like the F-35 then maybe it's better than we think."

      Or he thinks it's crap and wants the US to keep pouring money into the bottomless pit. Putin is ex-FSB, he probably thinks up six double bluffs before breakfast.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My wife told me about this...

    Her: "Did you hear that Donald Tweet made a Trump about the F35... I mean..."

    Me: "No, I think you got it the first time"

  24. PapaD

    Interesting side question

    Based on the fact that a notable part of TTIP and TTP was creating a deal that allowed US companies to sue governments if governmental action caused a loss of profit, the question has to be, is this something US companies can currently do to the US government (or would they only have become able to if the relevant treaties actually happened)?

    If they can sue the US government for stuff done that causes a loss in profits, how long before a US company sues the US government because of something Trump said or did?

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Interesting side question

      Remember:

      Tweeter is cancelling the TPP on day one.

      And building a wall, that someone else will pay for.

  25. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Yeah - but...

    What is the Pentagon going to do apart from buy the F-35?

    Their F-15s and F-18s are at the end of their lives, the F-22 production line has been dismantled - there is only the F-35 sort of available to replace the fleet. This horror show should have been killed ten years ago, but it is too late now and the Pentagon is contracted to pay Lockheed full whack for each and every one of them.

  26. Jame_s

    captain lockheed

    this whole episode makes me want to listen to captain lockheed and the starfighters again

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: captain lockheed

      Ah the Lockheed Starfighter!

      While on a stint at a German Army base in the 70s, I remember a poster saying;

      Would you like a Lockheed Starfighter?

      Buy a farm and wait!

      For any too young to remember, the Luftwaffe had a lot of old Starfighers that had a strange habit of just falling out of the sky.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Re: captain lockheed

      here you go.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYdQA9maxWk

      Cynical enough for you ?

  27. W Donelson

    Don't fool yourselves, this is PART OF THE NEW AMERICA

    This is a warning to other corporations:

    OBEY or be screwed.

  28. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Another triumph for job-saving Gibbon-elect Trump.

  29. Norman123

    Peace is a lot cheaper

    MIC has forced continuous fear of nonexistent major attack on the US from any major or small state. With NSA collecting all planetary relevant/irrelevant information and various US intelligence/diplomatic/commercial outfits around the planet, it is literally impossible for anyone to attack the US without prior knowledge. That is why 911 does not make sense.

    It is a lot cheaper to pursue peaceful, coexistence policies around the planet helping all the people to cope with global warming, energy efficiency, organic farming, health, education, human service instead of building more war machines of destruction forcing others to follow due to fear.

    Trump may really shake things up if he continues on his path of addressing the economy's mega problems (MIC, waste, inefficiency and graft).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Peace is a lot cheaper

      "It is a lot cheaper to pursue peaceful, coexistence policies around the planet helping all the people to cope with global warming, energy efficiency, organic farming, health, education, human service instead of building more war machines of destruction forcing others to follow due to fear."

      I'd like to introduce to an Author, goes by the name of Orwell. He wrote a great book which covers that exact topic in a reasonable amount of detail. The title?

      1984.

  30. The Godfather
    Happy

    Gateman cheap...

    He could always have a word with his mate Putin... he's bound to have some spare Mig's or Sukhoy's at a nice price deal...!

  31. rchop

    Bending the knee to Trump

    This is remarkably similar to Putin's technique to bring CEO's into line. What are the odds we will see Lockheed quietly get compensating contracts after Lockheed bends the knee to Trump? Are we going to see a pattern of cancelled projects that are designed to allow us to compete with Chinese and Russian military tech?

  32. Strahd Ivarius
    Trollface

    If you liked the F-35 saga...

    Wait for the Stealth Bradley...

  33. hoola

    You never know........

    There is always the possibility that Trump will can this scheme. He clearly does not give a toss who he offends and that is one of the attributes that will make the next 4 years so interesting. He has no vested interests from the defence gravy train. If Trump does halt this then at least we will have spent a bit on some useless aircraft but still have the money to buy some real ones. It surely cannot delay the 2 carriers that much anyway. And just think of the cost saving, oops, I forgot, I am sure that the MoD is equally capable of pouring tax-payers money down one drain whilst watching shite come up from another.

    They could always use them as mobile football pitches, or maybe lease them to Bernie and stage a Grand Prix on them. Of course without the ski jump some of the fun is also missing.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: You never know........

      "There is always the possibility that Trump will can this scheme."

      No, he can't do that. Not that he might not try, but the fact is, he doesn't have the power to do so.

      The F35 embodies the lessons learned from the F111B debacle - specifically the ones which showed how programs are vulnerable to shutdown. Lockheed has made damned sure that it's impossible to shut the program down.

  34. CheesyTheClown

    F-35 is about jobs

    It's been said by others, but the US government has been quite successful at not only providing a lot of jobs by siphoning funds into defense contractors that gets spread out far and wide, but they did it under the heading of national security which always goes unchallenged and more importantly, they forced every NATO country to buy some as well feeding more money into the US economy. In the end, the F-35 program has been probably the most successful economy builder in the US for decades. And the best thing is, the cost of owning an F-35 is so ridiculously high that it will draw money into the US for decades.

    That said, for aerial combat, drones will probably take over. There's really just no point in spending that much money on a jet which while being quite cool, puts the pilot's life in danger. You can build 2000 armed drones for the cost of a single F-35. While an F-35 may be more effective in battle than a drone, a fighter against 2000 drones probably won't do so well.

    1. Adze

      Re: F-35 is about jobs

      Just one drone would probably do it, if designed specifically for the purpose. The trouble with lugging meat about up there is how squishy it is, 9 or 10G in a snap over perhaps, but less in a tight turn. Take the meat out of the aircraft and it will be capable of performance which would mince a human pilot inside their G suit.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: F-35 is about jobs

        "Take the meat out of the aircraft and it will be capable of performance which would mince a human pilot inside their G suit."

        Up to a point. You can only pull so may 9G turns in a 35 ton aircraft before the wings fall off and that limit isn't programmed in by the squishiness of the flight control computer.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: F-35 is about jobs

          Up to a point. You can only pull so may 9G turns in a 35 ton aircraft before the wings fall off

          Your anti-F35 drone isn't going to mass 35 tonnes though. You don't need the wetware support systems including the heavy eject system, so the payload is going to be a lot smaller. It's basically going to be a sophisticated air breathing missile. It can be designed to pull much higher g than a fighter while still being considerably lighter and much cheaper. It could even be designed for a one way trip with a single warhead. Where did that idea come from I wonder?

          As in the Stanislaus Lem story, the best we can hope for at the moment is that AI advances so fast that networked systems develop ethics and morality, and instead of fighting one another wander off to pick flowers.

          1. Vic

            Re: F-35 is about jobs

            including the heavy eject system

            Most ejection systems really aren't that heavy. You've got a fairly lightweight seat frame (that you'd have anyway), a parachute, a barostat, and a bit of charge. Although you're right that it's heavier than not having one at all, the ejection system really isn't much weight compared to the rest of the aircraft.

            Vic.

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