By Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon formally canceled a remote controlled minehunting system built by Lockheed Martin Corp after years of delays and questions about its reliability, the Defense Department said in a report on Thursday. It said there was no plan to buy more of the minehunters.
Lockheed Martin, which was building the weapons for use on a fleet of coastal warships, has delivered 10 of the Remote Minehunting Systems since the program began more than a decade ago. A senior defense official said approximately $750 million had been saved by cancelling the program. The official added that the cancellation was specific to the minehunting vehicle but a minehunting sonar produced by Raytheon Corp could continue in some form. Earlier this year the U.S. Navy said it was not satisfied with the reliability of the remote minehunting vehicle and was looking for alternatives. Last year, Senator John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the system was unreliable, prone to dropping communications, and missing mines it was supposed to find, despite nearly 17 years of development.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by David Gregorio)