Murphy's Law: Bleak House


December 12,2008:  Seventeen years after it was cancelled, the builders of the U.S. Navy A-12 carrier based light bomber are still fighting government attempts to get back $1.4 billion in unused money they received for the aborted project. This all began in 1987, when McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics won a $4.4 billion contract to develop and build eight development models of the A-12. In 1991, with $5 billion spent (including cost overruns), the Department of Defense cancelled the project. The manufacturers sued, on the grounds that the A-12 project was no more screwed up than any others and that the Secretary of Defense wanted to divert the money to the war effort in Kuwait. The manufacturers are demanding the government pay them $3.8 billion, because the government was unfair and compensation ought to be made. What with appeals and all, the case continues, and there is no end in sight.


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