The Nation

The Pentagon has delayed the $2.1-billion purchase of 474 observation helicopters because the Army failed to conduct realistic tests of the aircraft, Defense Department documents show. Deputy Defense Secretary William Taft said in a recent letter he would decide whether to allow purchase of Advanced Scout helicopters, each costing $4.5 million, upon the Army's completion of more valid testing. An audit by the inspector general said the Army withheld information from the Defense Department about an equipment defect in the helicopters and offered flawed cost estimates.

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