Navy Finally Gets a Refund on Canceled 1991 Stealth Attack Aircraft Project

An artist's concept of the plane in question.

An artist's concept of the plane in question. United States Navy via Wikimedia Commons

The service will receive $396 million in credits from A-12 manufacturers.

Back in 1991, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney abruptly canceled  the Navy’s plans to buy 858 A-12 stealth attack aircraft after the cost of the program had spiraled to $5 billion from original estimates of just under $2 billion.

The A-12 manufacturers - McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing) and General Dynamics – took the matter to court, including a trip to the Supremes, and lost, with a judgment requiring them to fork over $1 billion to the Navy.

This tale – rather quaint in 2013, when the Pentagon plans to spend $397 billion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – will soon come to an end if the Senate passes the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act this week.

The legislation provides the Navy with $198 million in credits from General Dynamics to install a deckhouse, hangar, and aft missile launching system on the second Zumwalt class destroyer and $198 million credit from Boeing for three EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

This may be one of the longest waits for a refund on a bum gadget in history.