Stung Hornet

New battle over a fighter

The Navy's troubled F/A-18 fighter-bomber is under fresh fire from Capitol Hill, flak so heavy that the fate of the program, expected to cost up to $40 billion, may now be in some doubt. The basic problem is a familiar one: cost overruns. But the powerful House Appropriations Committee, in a stinging letter of complaint to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, contends that the Navy has compounded its errors by trying to conceal the extent of the overruns, perhaps illegally. The charge comes at a bad time for the Pentagon, which has been maintaining that every bit of...

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