A new report released today says Lockheed Martin has overstated the number of jobs its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program creates by roughly double.
“Lockheed Martin’s claim of 125,000 F-35-related jobs is roughly double the likely number of jobs sustained by the program,” said the report by the Center for International Policy.
Furthermore, the report found that 88 of 138 major F-35 contractors were foreign companies located outside the U.S.
The number of jobs created has been a major selling point for Lockheed Martin, its primary contractor, in generating support for the $391.2 billion program in Congress. Lawmakers, led by the "F-35 Congressional Caucus," fully funded the 29 jets the Pentagon requested in its 2014 budget, Bloomberg reports.
The report said that the “vast majority” of campaign contributions by the F-35’s four most important contractors — Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Technologies — have gone to congressional supporters of the aircraft.
The top five recipients of contributions in the past two election cycles are House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), F-35 Caucus co-chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), F-35 Caucus co-chair John Larson (D-Conn.), and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), according to the report.
Lockheed Martin representatives pushed back against the report, saying the company's job figures were derived from 32,500 direct and 92,500 "indirect" jobs created that totaled 125,000.
"The F-35 program has a very large positive economic impact in the U.S. producing high-technology jobs in small and large communities across the country," Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Laura Siebert told Bloomberg.
"We expect the positive U.S. economic impact to continue to grow as F-35 production volume increases," she said.
The report, entitled "Promising the Sky: Pork Barrel Politics and the F-35 Combat Aircraft," can be found here.