The July 20 crash of a prototype V-22 Osprey military aircraft could doom the controversial plane, being developed by Boeing and Textron's Bell Helicopter unit. For three years, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney has tried to eliminate the $30 billion V-22 program. But the plane's many backers on Capitol Hill have repeatedly pumped money into V-22 development.
On July 2, Cheney reluctantly agreed to spend the $790 million Congress appropriated last year to build and test production prototypes. Cheney isn't backing away from his compromise agreement yet. But if investigators determine that a fundamental design flaw caused the crash, the second one in 13 months, the V-22 could be grounded permanently.