From American Progress:
CONGRESS -- REP. HUNTER DEFENDS FAILED PET PROJECT:
Yesterday, members of the House Committee on Science and Technology watched videos "of what they got for $63 million spent on an experimental aircraft the military did not want: repeated crashes and significant failures."
According to testimony from the Office of Naval Research, the DP-2, a plane "designed to take off like a helicopter and then fly at high speed, failed to remain in the air for more than a few seconds in 49 separate tests last year."
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who had "aggressively supported the program over decades even though the Pentagon repeatedly questioned the jet's feasibility and lambasted the contractor's work," defended his role in leading the effort to secure funding "on behalf of a hometown company, DuPont Aerospace."
"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," said Hunter, who received $36,000 in campaign contributions from DuPoint Aerospace.
But experts who testified before the committee claimed that "the aircraft was nowhere near delivering on the promises cited by DuPont and its congressional supporters. 'It's a pipe dream,' said John Eney, an aerospace engineer who led a Navy team that evaluated the project in 1999."
As the San Diego Union Tribune notes, "Hunter's support of the DP-2 has thrust him into the center of the debate about earmarks, which congressmen sponsor to fund everything from new roads and museums in their districts to defense contracts that sometimes provide hundreds of jobs for constituents."