Lockheed Martin Corp.’s troubled $31 billion Marine Corps helicopter program has demonstrated enough progress overcoming technical problems that it warrants receiving previously withheld research dollars, according to top lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee.
Committee Chairman Adam Smith and ranking Republican Mac Thornberry wrote then-Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist on July 17 that they agreed to free up $79 million for the CH-53K helicopter, known as the King Stallion. Their letter came two days after a Pentagon briefing on the copter’s progress.
“The committee is satisfied both with the Department of Navy’s actions to address program deficiencies and with the independent assessment” provided by Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, they said in the letter. “The committee expects to see continued progress on technical deficiency correction.”
In April, Smith turned down a Navy request to shift $158 million to correct flaws with the King Stallion, agreeing to move only half that amount from other programs. The shift was approved by the three other congressional defense panels, but one committee can block action. (end of excerpt)
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