San Diego Union Tribune

August 23, 2007

Heavily criticized plane is defunded


WASHINGTON – Congress has cut off funding for a heavily criticized military plane being developed by a La Jolla-based aerospace company with $63 million in taxpayer money, most of it put into funding legislation over the past two decades by Rep. Duncan Hunter.



The cutoff comes two months after the plane, the DP-2, was excoriated at a congressional hearing as a boondoggle pushed on the Pentagon by Hunter, R-Alpine, even though it has never passed a major technical review in 20 years of testing.

At the June hearing, Hunter defended the plane, saying “the idea around here that if the Pentagon doesn't come up with something, that if the services don't like it, you're not going to build it, is ridiculous.”

Hunter has received $36,000 in campaign contributions from Anthony duPont, president of duPont Aerospace, the company developing the plane at a facility in El Cajon.

The cutoff of funds might be the death knell for the project, duPont said.

But Hunter remains optimistic.

“Congressman Hunter continues to support the program, and DP-2 funding could very well be revisited in the next budget cycle,” said spokesman Joe Kasper.

Hunter had sought $6 million for the project next year.

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