20 years-ago the stealth strike aircraft for the U.S. Navy known as the A-12 Avenger was cancelled by then U.S. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney due to insurmountable problems with the program.
"The A-12 I did terminate. It was not an easy decision to make because it's an important requirement that we're trying to fulfill. But no one could tell me how much the program was going to cost, even just through the full scale development phase, or when it would be available. And data that had been presented at one point a few months ago turned out to be invalid and inaccurate."
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, 1991.
After the cancellation, the U.S. Navy dusted off the plans for the advanced Hornet--something it previously rejected--and the Super Hornet was born.
Forget lawyers looking over the shoulder of a drone pilot ready to pull the trigger on a dirt insurgent. Big-dollar military industrial complex contracting is were the iron crosses grow for real lawfare.
The legal battle of who should pay what between the contractor and the government for the cancellation of the A-12 still rages on today.
"The Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling that would have required Boeing and General Dynamics to repay billions in federal payment, instead sending the 20-year old case over the failed A-12 stealth fighter jet back for further litigation."
The U.S. Government and Lockheed Martin figure that the alleged life of the F-35 program could go out to 2065. If it is cancelled in the coming years--alternatives and all that--this may be true; for the legal fallout anyway. And what historical lessons do you think industry lawyers looked at when they wrote up F-35 contracts for the government to sign? In the war to make bullet-proof contracts, traditionally, who has better lawyers; industry or government?