Monday, August 29, 2011

Budget Talks Have Major Defense Contractors on Edge

Sunday 28 August 2011
by: Amanda Wilson, Inter Press Service | Report

Washington - When an expensive unmanned aircraft built by Lockheed Martin Corporation, a U.S. defence contractor, disappeared during a U.S. military test flight off the Pacific coast earlier this month, the debacle raised eyebrows.

The incident also raised criticism that the U.S. government is spending millions on hefty defence contracts to pay for technology that does not work.

The experimental craft was designed to travel at 20 times the speed of sound and be able to attack targets anywhere on earth within 60 minutes. Part of a defence department programme named "Prompt Global Strike" that has cost about 320 million dollars - this was only the aircraft’s second flight.

But Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defence contractor, held a press briefing here Wednesday to defend its technology and responded to speculation that a congressional super-committee, appointed in August to identify areas for federal budget cuts, might take a red pen to defence spending.

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