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Trump Says U.S. Should ‘Cancel Order’ for New Air Force One, Citing Costs

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested the U.S. government should cancel a planned order with Boeing Co. for planes to serve as the new Air Force One, making the aircraft maker the latest company to come under scrutiny by the incoming commander-in-chief.

The move broadens Mr. Trump’s effort to influence industrial policy beyond rebuking companies for moving jobs overseas by tackling the single largest source of discretionary federal spending: the federal defense budget.

In a Twitter post Tuesday, Mr. Trump said the cost for a new “Air Force One” plane for future presidents was “more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”

Shares in defense companies have climbed sharply since the election as investors expected the military budget to rise, with Mr. Trump focusing on reforms to the Pentagon bureaucracy to help foot the bill.

Wading into the complex system of buying weapons and other military systems and singling out individual programs wasn’t expected, said defense experts.

Defense stocks shrugged off early losses following Mr. Trump’s remarks and were broadly ahead by midday, in line with the broader market.

“The contractors are really bemused,” said Loren Thompson at the Lexington Institute, a think tank part-funded by Boeing and other defense companies.

Efforts to replace the fleet of aircraft and helicopters that serve the president have come under attack by previous administrations and even been canceled. The Pentagon is now looking to balance costs and capabilities by rewarding contractors with higher profits if they deliver on time and under budget.

Boeing is the second-largest Pentagon contractor after Lockheed Martin Corp.—which is building the fleet of new helicopters that will serve as Marine One—and makes fighter jets, surveillance planes, bombs and other systems that generated sales of almost $19 billion from the Pentagon last year, a fifth of its total revenues.

Chicago-based Boeing hasn’t...


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