"That's not the kind of results you can take to your boss and ask for more money," says TIME's Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "It wasn't even hi-tech failures, but rudimentary stuff -- welding, guidance systems, booster rockets. You want failures you can learn from."
Thus did Lockheed offer to pay $15 million per missile if three out of their next five tests, starting in November or December, end ignominiously. A spokesman said the five failures had forced Lockheed to "apply additional resources in the area of quality." And this is a firm with plenty of resources to play with. As Thompson out, "$75 million isn't a lot of money to Lockheed" -- especially not with the approximately $3.2 billion the company has already received for THAAD from the government. No prizes for guessing who gets stuck with the bill at the end of the day: Step forward, John Q. Taxpayer.