US Defence Secretary
Robert Gates is poised to announce cuts in Pentagon programmes Thursday under expectations that the Defence Department will have to do its part to help rein in the nation's ballooning deficit, dpa reported
Gates is expected to announce cuts in various weapons programmes and kill a Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicle that has cost billions and been beset by technical problems and delays.
The target, as The New York Times reported Thursday, is the 14.4- billion-dollar Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle designed to carry 17 Marines across water to land on shore and travel inland before stopping, well beyond enemy beach defences.
Initial estimates of the programme were at 9 billion dollars for 1,000 of the vehicles, but revised figures have pushed the cost to more than 14 billion dollars for 574 of EFVs built by General Dynamics.
Gates is under pressure to meet the White House goal of limiting the defence budget in 2012 to 554 billion dollars, just a modest increase over the 549 billion-dollar budget for 2011. Those figures do not include the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also expected to come under scrutiny is the Marine Corps version of the F-35 fighter. The Marine F-35 is meant to take off and land almost vertically, unlike the versions being employed by the Navy and Air Force. The Marine F-35 has been experiencing technical problems and development delays