Defense Secretary Dick Cheney has not made a decision yet on the fate of the troubled A-12 stealth aircraft, a Pentagon spokesman said Saturday.
Cheney met with Navy Secretary Lawrence Garrett and other top Pentagon officials for three hours Saturday to discuss the service's $50 billion program, said Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams.Although budget numbers must be submitted to the White House's Office of Management and Budget by the end of the day Monday, Cheney plans no other meeting on the aircraft during the remainder of the weekend.
Williams said the Defense Department has some room to maneuver and could get information on the A-12 to the White House sometime next week. The Pentagon spokesman said a formal announcement on the issue could come later in the week.
The Navy envisions that the A-12 will replace the aging fleet of A-6 Intruders, a carrier-based aircraft now deployed in the Persian Gulf.
However, the aircraft's contractors, McDonnell Douglas Corp. and General Dynamics Corp., have fallen at least 18 months behind schedule in building the first six prototypes.
They are also running at least $1 billion over budget and are demanding that the Pentagon absorb some of the extra expense.