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Iran Press TV

Pentagon secretly sells spyship after huge spending

Iran Press TV

Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:59PM GMT

The US Department of Defense has secretly sold a seven-story spy aircraft to its British maker after spending $297 million to develop it.

The Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, under development at the height of the war in Afghanistan, was set to hover over the war zone for weeks at a time, but the Pentagon canceled the project after only one test flight, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The Pentagon sold the spyship back to the British company that built it for just $301,000, "a fraction of its investment."

The Times called the project "an example of military waste" in an era of contracting budgets and austerity.

The vehicle could give American troops on the ground an uninterrupted view of the war zone.

Republican Senator John McCain criticized the delay for the cancelation of the program.

'Maybe those decisions could have been made earlier - at a point when less taxpayer funding had been wasted?' he said.

'Critically, why were these programs allowed to continue beyond the point when senior acquisition management and their industry partners knew, or should have known, that their original cost, schedule and performance assumptions were no longer valid?'

However, the Army says selling the aircraft will save them money in the long run.

'We learned quite a bit from the technology,' Army spokesman John Cummings said. 'In the end, it was determined not to pursue it.'

The unmanned floating spy center was supposed to head to Afghanistan after the test flight. The project was canceled along with many other military programs, including a $211-million airship built for the Air Force.

AGB/HJ



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