Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Lockheed CEO: “Not miffed” over Obama nixing presidential helicopter

December 14, 2009

President Barack Obama was quite blunt earlier this year about a  new fleet of presidential helicopters being built by Lockheed Martin Corp., citing it as an example of the procurement process “gone amok.”

And he axed the program, forcing the defense contractor to stop development of the helicopter in mid-air, so to speak. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

But Lockheed Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens says no hard feelings.

“I am not miffed at the president,” he said in an interview at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit.

“I think the responsibilities that accrue to the president of the United States are well beyond my own personal experience of the responsibilities that come across my desk,” he said.

“There are going to be changes of priorities, our job is to get alignment with our customers, understand what the emerging priorities will be,” Stevens said.

He rattled off a number of programs that are supported by the Obama administration such as tactical aircraft. Lockheed is also keen to participate in a “winner-take-all” competition in 2010 for a combat ship, he said.

“So I think when you take a step back and look at it there’s substantially much more alignment than misalignment in the program architecture,” Stevens said.

Photo credit: Reuters/Molly Riley (Stevens at Reuters summit)

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