WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Com
mittee on Monday blasted the Pentagon's decision to lift a 'probation' imposed on the Marine Corps variant of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter a year earlier than planned, saying the decision appeared premature and was not vetted with Congress.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the panel, questioned the decision and the lack of consultation in a strongly worded letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
They also asked the Defense Department to answer a series of detailed questions about its decision to back the F-35B model, which takes off from shorter runways and lands like a helicopter.
(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa) Keywords: LOCKHEED/FIGHTER CONGRESS
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