The Navy awarded McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics a fixed-price contract worth $4.7 billion in 1988 to research and develop eight of the planes according to a specific delivery schedule between June 1990 and January 1991. The contract gave the Navy the option of purchasing additional planes.
But court records show the companies ran into difficulties meeting the contract schedule from the outset. The plane was built with new composite materials that were expected to reduce its weight but failed to do so, and it ended up being 30 percent heavier than design specifications.
The companies notified the Navy in June 1990 that they could not deliver the first aircraft on time and that the cost of completing the agreement would be well over the ceiling price, court records show.
Efforts to restructure the contract failed and the Navy declared the companies in default in early 1991, with no planes delivered. The Navy demanded the contractors return $1.35 billion in payments.
The two companies countered by suing the government, and the case has been in court ever since. Judgments have see-sawed back and forth between rulings in favor of the companies and the government.
The McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics A-12 Avenger II was a proposed American attack aircraft from McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics. It was to be an all-weather, carrier-based stealth bomber replacement for the Grumman A-6 Intruder in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Its Avenger II name was taken from the Grumman TBF Avenger of World War II.
A-12 Avenger II, a.k.a the 'Flying Dorito'
Known as the "Flying Dorito" because of its shape, the fighter was expected to fly by 1994 - but never did. Instead, the Pentagon scrapped what was known as the "black program" in 1991, grounding a deep strike attack airplane that relied on stealth technology. Work on the program occurred in St. Louis and in Fort Worth at Air Force Plant No. 4, now Lockheed Martin Corp., whose aeronautics division is based in Fort Worth. A McDonnell Douglas-General Dynamics team won its design concept in 1988.
The A-12 is being refurbished for display at the Veterans Memorial Air Park, Fort Worth, Texas