In response to a fast-emerging brouhaha over toilets this week, Lockheed Corp. said Tuesday that it has drastically reduced the price of 54 toilet covers for its Navy P-3 Orion aircraft.
Lockheed President Lawrence Kitchen sent a telegram to Navy Secretary John Lehman on Tuesday saying that Lockheed would cut the cost of the toilet part to $100 each from the original price of $640.09.
The part in question is a molded fiberglass cover that encloses the stainless steel bowl and plumbing of the toilet on the Navy anti-submarine patrol aircraft.
The Navy had ordered 54 of the units at an original total cost of $34,564.86. In the course of a Navy audit, Burbank-based Lockheed told the Navy last week that it had overcharged for the covers by $4,600.
Lockheed agreed to refund the difference, a company spokesman said Tuesday.
But the matter did not die. This week several congressmen alleged in hearings that Lockheed had charged $600 for "toilet seats."
The Pentagon issued a statement Monday saying that it was investigating the high cost of the item. As national interest in the issue mounted, Kitchen decided to cut the price.
The firm says it is losing a considerable amount in the gesture. A spokesman suggested that the Navy try to find a cheaper producer of the unit.
Kitchen said in his wire to Lehman that Lockheed earned $4.1 million on $40.5 million in spare parts sales on the P-3 Orion in 1984, a pretax profit of slightly more than 10%, which Kitchen said "is not out of hand."