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Trump takes aim at aerospace contractors, puts Huntsville in the crosshairs too

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  President-elect Donald Trump has taken aim at two major aerospace companies already, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which together account for nearly 4,000 Huntsville jobs, millions of dollars of local investment, and the backbone for a number of major community developments.

This week, Trump leveled a tweet at Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet program.

That one tweet chipped 5-percent off of Lockheed Martin's stock value.

Boeing took a hit just a week earlier, with a similar tweet from the president-elect.

Boeing's stock also took a hit, though it has slowly built its stock price back up above where it was before the Trump tweet. Lockheed is working its way there.

But these are ambitious targets for the president-elect. Washington Technology has a list of its top 100 federal prime contractors. Lockheed and Boeing were numbers one and three respectively in 2015.

Huntsville has good reason to keep a close eye on that line of attack.

The Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce says Lockheed Martin is their 21st largest employer with 1,084 jobs in the area.

Lockheed's website says the F-35 itself brings 160 direct and indirect jobs and $10.3 million of economic impact to Alabama. A company spokesperson tells WHNT News 19 that 120 of those jobs come to greater Huntsville with $8.3 million in economic impact following right behind.

They also point out that there are seven different suppliers for the program here in greater Huntsville alone, so it's not just Lockheed jobs linked to these contracts. It's Lockheed's suppliers as well.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Boeing says that the work for developing ideas for a new Air Force One isn't done in Huntsville, but Boeing does employ 2,750 people here according to the chamber. That makes the company the area's fifth largest employer, sandwiched between Huntsville City Schools and Madison County Schools.

Of course, the area's largest employer remains Redstone Arsenal, which sustains 35,000 jobs, many of which also support weapons system development.

The two companies already in the cross-hairs also have significant community commitment.

For example, Boeing's buildings headline the Redstone Gateway project -- a major development for Huntsville, with 4.4 million square feet of planned office space, mixed use development, and even a hotel.

The project at Redstone Gateway helped drive the mission to move Gate 9 back further on the arsenal, alleviating traffic all the way up Research Park and I-565.

Lockheed Martin has a large footprint in Research Park, which is part of a new master planning process for the city.

Aerospace contractors fuel Huntsville's economic engine in a number of ways, but their success also helps drive a number of important projects across town with wide-reaching impacts.

If companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin continue to draw the criticism or even corrective action of Donald Trump, Huntsville could pay the price.