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Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, Committee 
on Armed Services, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

April 2007: 

Tactical Aircraft: 

DOD Needs a Joint and Integrated Investment Strategy: 

GAO-07-415: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-07-415, a report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Air 
and Land Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to invest $109 billion in its 
tactical air forces between 2007 and 2013. Long term, DOD plans to 
replace aging legacy aircraft with fewer, more expensive but more 
capable and stealthy aircraft. 

Recapitalizing and modernizing tactical air forces within todayís 
constrained budget environment is a formidable challenge. DOD has 
already incurred substantial cost and schedule overruns in its 
acquisition of new systems, and further delays could require billions 
of dollars in additional investments to keep legacy aircraft capable 
and sustainable. 

Because of the large investments and risk, GAO was asked to review 
investment planning for tactical aircraft. This report describes the 
current status of DODís new tactical aircraft acquisition programs; 
identifies current impacts on legacy aircraft modernization programs 
and retirement schedules; and assesses DODís overall investment plan 
for tactical aircraft. 

What GAO Found: 

DODís efforts to recapitalize and modernize its tactical air forces 
have been blunted by cost and schedule overruns in its new tactical 
aircraft acquisition programs: the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the Air 
Force F-22A, and the Navy F/A-18E/F. Collectively, these programs are 
expected to cost about $400 billionówith about three-fourths still to 
be invested. The JSF program, which is expected to make up the largest 
percentage of the new fleet, has more than 90 percent of its 
investments still in the future. Increased costs and extended 
development times have reduced DODís buying power, and DOD now expects 
to replace legacy aircraft with about one-third fewer new aircraft 
compared to original plans at each programís inception. 

The outcomes of these acquisition programs directly impact existing 
tactical aircraft systems. Until new systems are acquired in sufficient 
quantities to replace legacy fleets, legacy systems must be sustained 
and kept operationally relevant. Continual schedule slips and reduced 
buys of new aircraftóparticularly in the F-22A and JSF programsómake it 
difficult for program managers to allocate funds for modifying legacy 
aircraft to meet new requirements or to set retirement dates for legacy 
aircraft. Lengthening the life of legacy systems also impacts DODís new 
tactical aircraft acquisition programs. DOD has become increasingly 
concerned that the high cost of keeping aging weapon systems relevant 
and able to meet required readiness levels is a growing challenge in 
the face of forecast threats and reduces the departmentís flexibility 
to invest in new weapons. 

DODís tactical aircraft investments are driven by the servicesí 
separate acquisition planning. Moving forward, these plans are likely 
unexecutable given competing demands from future defense and non 
defense budgets. The EA-6Bóproviding tactical radar jamming 
capabilities for all services and one of the few examples of a joint 
assetóis also expected to be replaced by separate and unique aircraft 
for each of the services. Without a joint, DOD-wide strategy for 
tactical aircraft investments, it is difficult to identify potential 
areas where efficiencies might be achieved or where capability gaps 
might occur in DODís tactical aircraft acquisitions. 

Table: Planned Changes in Tactical Aircraft Inventories: 

Air force; 
Inventory 2006: 2,500; 
Inventory 2025: 1,800; 
Inventory reduction: 700; 
Percent reduction: 28%. 

Navy and Marine Corps; 
Inventory 2006: 1,200; 
Inventory 2025: 900; 
Inventory reduction: 300; 
Percent reduction: 25%. 

Total; 
Inventory 2006: 3,700; 
Inventory 2025: 2,700; 
Inventory reduction: 1,000; 
Percent reduction: 27%. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

Note: These numbers are approximate to show relative changes in 
amounts. 

[End of table] 

What GAO Recommends: 

To achieve better outcomes in acquisition programs and investment 
planning, GAO recommends that DOD (1) take decisive actions to shorten 
cycle times in developing and delivering new weapon systems and (2) 
develop an integrated and affordable enterprise-level investment 
strategy for tactical air forces. 

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-07-41]. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Michael J. Sullivan at 
(202) 512-4841 or sullivanm@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

New Acquisition Programs Are Spending Significantly More Dollars and 
Delivering Fewer Tactical Aircraft Later Than Originally Planned: 

New Acquisition Costs and Delays Have Made Resourcing Decisions for 
Legacy Systems Reactive and Less Efficient: 

A Joint Enterprise-Level Investment Strategy for Tactical Aircraft Is 
Lacking As Services Plan Independently: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Response: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Appendix III: Tactical Air Forces Funding Fiscal Years 2006 to 2011: 

Appendix IV: A Summary of Tactical Aircraft Systems Ongoing and Future 
Efforts: 

Appendix V: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgements: 

Related GAO Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: New Aircraft Replacing Legacy Fleets: 

Table 2: New Systems Acquisition Costs and Quantities: 

Table 3: Changes in Acquisition Quantities for New Tactical Aircraft 
Systems: 

Table 4: Changes in Key Outcomes of New Tactical Systems: 

Table 5: Total Investments in New and Legacy Tactical Aircraft from 
Fiscal Years 2007 to 2013: 

Table 6: Air Force Legacy Aircraft Modernization Costs: 

Table 7: Navy Legacy Aircraft Modernization Costs: 

Table 8: Changes in Tactical Aircraft Inventories Fiscal Years 2006 to 
2025: 

Table 9: F-22A Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 10: Navy JSF Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 11: Air Force JSF Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 12: F/A-18 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 13: EA-18G Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 14: A-10 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 15: F-15 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 16: F-16 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 17: F-117A Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 18: EA-6B Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Table 19: AV-8B Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: DOD Investment in Tactical Air Forces: 

Figure 2: Original Planned and Current Procurement Quantities for New 
Tactical Aircraft: 

Figure 3: Operating Costs per Flying Hour for Air Force Tactical 
Aircraft: 

Figure 4: Navy and Marine Corps Tactical Aircraft Force Structure: 

Figure 5: Air Force Tactical Aircraft Force Structure: 

Figure 6: Projected Budgets for Tactical Aircraft: 

Figure 7: F-22A Raptor: 

Figure 8: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF): 

Figure 9: F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: 

Figure 10: EA-18G Growler: 

Figure 11: A-10 Warthog: 

Figure 12: F-15A/B/C/D Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle: 

Figure 13: F-16 Fighting Falcon: 

Figure 14: F-117A Nighthawk: 

Figure 15: F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet: 

Figure 16: EA-6B Prowler: 

Figure 17: AV-8B Harrier II: 

Abbreviations: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 
ICAP III: Improved Capability electronic suite modification: 
IOC: initial operational capability: 
JCIDS: Joint Capabilities, Integration, and Development System: 
JSF: Joint Strike Fighter: 
OSD: Office of Secretary of Defense: 
QDR: Quadrennial Defense Review: 
RDT&E: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation: 
STOVL: short field take- off and vertical landing: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

April 2, 2007: 

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie: 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

Over the past three decades, the Department of Defense (DOD) has spent 
$534 billion to develop, procure, and modify its tactical air forces. 
Tactical air forces are critical to achieving and maintaining air 
dominance during combat operations and account for a significant share 
of the defense dollar. After procuring large numbers of fighter and 
attack aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s, DOD shifted its emphasis to 
procuring bombers, airlifters, and other systems. DOD now seeks to 
recapitalize and modernize its tactical air forces to ensure the total 
force has sufficient capabilities and capacity to meet operational 
requirements today and in the future. Over the next 20 years, DOD plans 
to replace several thousand aging tactical aircraft with a 
substantially smaller number of more expensive but more capable and 
stealthy new aircraft, while continuing to modify and sustain its 
current fleets in order to keep them operationally viable until 
sufficient numbers of the new systems are fielded. 

Recapitalizing and modernizing tactical air forces to meet the 
warfighter's needs within today's constrained budget environment is a 
formidable challenge. Our work in this area has shown that DOD has 
incurred substantial cost increases and delays in its acquisition of 
new systems. Further delays in delivering these aircraft, cost 
increases, and cuts in quantity could easily occur, meaning billions of 
dollars in additional investments could be needed to keep current 
(legacy) aircraft both capable and sustainable for longer periods of 
time than currently planned. 

Because of the costs, complexities, and interrelationships of the 
tactical air forces, and the need for greater insight, the Chairman of 
the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, House Committee on Armed 
Services, asked GAO to look at DOD's investment planning for 
recapitalizing and modernizing its tactical fighter and attack aircraft 
force portfolio. This report addresses (1) current risks for DOD's new 
tactical aircraft acquisition programs; (2) impacts on legacy aircraft 
modernization programs and retirement schedules; and (3) the extent to 
which DOD has developed an overall investment plan for future tactical 
aircraft that addresses capability gaps, limits redundancies, and 
considers the timing and affordability of planned actions. To conduct 
our work, we evaluated new acquisition and legacy modification plans, 
budgets, retirement and delivery schedules, and results to date for 
recapitalizing and modernizing tactical air forces. We analyzed Air 
Force, Navy, and Marine Corps plans and processes for establishing 
force and capability requirements and reviewed joint efforts and 
initiatives to look at integrated DOD-wide solutions. We also drew 
extensively on work conducted under other GAO engagements concerning 
weapon systems and force structure. We performed our work from June 
2006 through March 2007 in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. Appendix I further discusses this 
report's scope and methodology. 

Results in Brief: 

During the next 7 years, the military services plan to spend about 
$109.3 billion to acquire about 570 new tactical aircraft and to 
modernize hundreds of operational aircraft. Substantial cost increases, 
schedule delays, and changes in requirements have significantly reduced 
procurement quantities of new aircraft. For example, since its start, 
the development period for the F-22A doubled, threat conditions 
changed, new ground attack and intelligence-gathering requirements were 
added, and its unit costs more than doubled, resulting in a steady 
decline in the number of aircraft the Air Force can now procure. 
Similar conditions and risk of poor outcomes seem to be emerging for 
the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The JSF is the linchpin for future 
modernization efforts because of its sheer size and plans to replace 
hundreds of operational systems in all three services. However, its 
development costs have increased by $31.6 billion since 2004, and 
procurement and delivery schedules are slipping. 

Funding needs and plans for new and legacy aircraft are by nature 
interdependent. Legacy systems must be sustained and kept operationally 
relevant until new systems complete development and are ready to 
replace them. If quantities of new aircraft are reduced and/or 
deliveries slip further into future years, significantly more as yet 
unplanned money will be required to sustain, modernize, and extend the 
life of legacy systems to ensure that the total force is both capable 
and sufficient in numbers. Uncertainty about new systems costs and 
deliveries makes it challenging to effectively plan and efficiently 
implement modernization efforts and legacy retirement schedules. Over 
the next seven years, the services are investing an average of about 
$1.7 billion per year on legacy modifications, but there are large pent 
up demands--billions more--for unfunded requirements and potential life 
extension programs identified by program officials. Officials said the 
time is approaching when hard decisions on retiring or extending the 
life of legacy aircraft must be made. 

Looking forward, DOD does not have a single, comprehensive, and 
integrated investment plan for recapitalizing and modernizing fighter 
and attack aircraft. Lacking an integrated DOD-wide view of 
requirements, it is difficult to determine the extent of capability 
gaps and shortfalls, or, alternatively, duplication of capability. 
Rather, each military service operates largely within its own stovepipe 
to plan and acquire the resources needed to fill its individual force 
structure construct. In the Air Force's case, it is the forces deemed 
necessary to fill its air and space expeditionary wings; for the Navy, 
its carrier strike forces; and for the Marines, its expeditionary 
forces. Collectively, the services have underperformed to date in terms 
of delivering aircraft within desired costs and quantities, and future 
plans are likely unaffordable within projected funding levels. 
Individual service plans are largely dependent on favorable assumptions 
about the cost, quantity, and delivery schedules for new acquisitions 
and the ability to increase and sustain future funding levels 
substantially above current levels. These favorable assumptions are not 
realistic when juxtaposed with projected decline in future federal 
discretionary spending (including defense investment accounts), 
continued operational support requirements for the global war on 
terror, and looming start-ups of other big-ticket defense items, such 
as a strategic tanker aircraft and next generation long-range strike 
systems, competing for the same funds. Recent efforts to examine joint 
requirements on an integrated, DOD-wide basis have not significantly 
affected service plans and investments. 

In order to recapitalize and sustain capable and sufficient tactical 
air forces that reflect what is needed and affordable from a joint 
service perspective and that has high confidence of being executed as 
planned, GAO is recommending that DOD (1) take decisive actions to 
shorten cycle times in developing and delivering new tactical aircraft 
and (2) develop an integrated enterprise-level investment strategy for 
tactical air forces. 

Background: 

Tactical air forces are critical to achieving and maintaining air 
dominance during combat operations. These forces include Air Force, 
Navy, and Marine Corps fixed-wing fighters and attack aircraft with air-
to-air combat, air-to-ground attack, and defense suppression[Footnote 
1] missions, and related equipment and support activities. These forces 
operate in the first days of a conflict to penetrate enemy air space, 
defeat air defenses, and achieve air dominance. This allows follow-on 
ground, air, and naval forces freedom to maneuver and attack in the 
battle space. Once air dominance is established, tactical aircraft 
continue to vigorously and persistently strike ground targets for the 
remainder of the conflict. Some tactical aircraft are also essential to 
protect the homeland by defending against incoming missiles or enemy 
aircraft. 

Current operational tactical aircraft (referred to as legacy systems) 
are the Air Force's F-15, F-16, F-117A, and A-10 systems and the Navy 
and Marine Corps F/A-18, EA-6B, and AV-8B. Most of these aircraft were 
purchased in the 1970s and 1980s and are considerably aged as measured 
by the number of flying hours accumulated by an aircraft compared to 
its estimated life expectancy. Weapon systems also tend to cost more to 
operate and maintain as they age. To meet national defense security 
requirements, DOD sustains its legacy fleets and also modernizes some 
with new capabilities and enhanced structures to keep aircraft 
operationally viable until new systems can be delivered in sufficient 
quantities and the legacies can be retired. 

DOD is continuing efforts to recapitalize its tactical air forces 
(replace legacy with new) by acquiring and fielding the Air Force's F- 
22A, the Navy's F/A-18E/F and EA-18G, and the joint service F-35 Joint 
Strike Fighter (JSF) weapon systems. Recapitalization plans began 20 
years ago with the start-up of the F-22A program and are now expected 
to take another 20 years or more to fulfill culminating with the final 
JSF procurements. The JSF is being developed in three variants for the 
U.S. and allied forces.[Footnote 2] The Air Force's version, a 
conventional take-off and landing aircraft, is intended to replace the 
F-16 and A-10 and complement the F-22A. The Navy's carrier-capable 
version is intended to replace F/A-18C/D aircraft and complement the F/ 
A-18E/F. The Marines Corps is acquiring a short field take-off and 
vertical landing (STOVL) variant to replace its AV-8B and F/A-18D 
fleets. Table 1 shows the new aircraft with the legacy systems they are 
expected to replace. 

Table 1: New Aircraft Replacing Legacy Fleets: 

New tactical aircraft: Joint Strike Fighter; 
Legacy aircraft to be replaced: F-16 & A-10 (Air Force) F/A-18C/D 
(Navy) F/A-18D & AV-8B (Marine Corps). 

New tactical aircraft: F-22A; 
Legacy aircraft to be replaced: F-15C/D (Air Force). 

New tactical aircraft: F/A-18E/F; 
Legacy aircraft to be replaced: F/A- 18A/B/C (Navy). 

New tactical aircraft: EA-18G; 
Legacy aircraft to be replaced: EA-6B (Navy). 

Source: DOD. 

[End of table] 

Tactical Air Forces Costs: 

Tactical air forces account for a significant share of the defense 
budget. DOD spends billions of dollars every year to develop, procure, 
and modernize its tactical air forces. Figure 1 shows the trend in 
actual and projected investment over the 36-year period from fiscal 
year 1976 to 2011. To reflect the trend in relative buying power, we 
normalized the data to express costs in fiscal year 2007 dollars. The 
total investment for research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) 
and procurement during this time period approaches $1 trillion in 
constant dollars. The figure illustrates the large investments 
throughout the 1980s when most of the legacy fleets were acquired and 
the subsequent decrease in investment during the 1990s as DOD focused 
on other procurement priorities. The rise in investment starting in the 
mid-1990s reflects the build up and acquisition of the new systems. 
This data does not include another $3.3 billion requested by DOD for 
tactical aircraft in the fiscal year 2007 supplemental and fiscal year 
2008 budget request for the Global War on Terror. 

Figure 1: DOD Investment in Tactical Air Forces: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD historical budget data. 

[End of figure] 

In addition to the large expenditures for development and procurement, 
the services spend billions more annually to operate, support, 
maintain, and man the tactical air forces. Over the past decade, the 
tactical air forces share of the total defense budget has stayed 
remarkably consistent, annually receiving about 11 to 12 percent of the 
total DOD budget and about 15 to 16 percent of the investment 
appropriations. DOD programmed a total of $331.6 billion for personnel, 
operations and maintenance, military construction, and acquisition 
costs for the tactical air forces for fiscal years 2006 to 2011, an 
annual average of $55.3 billion. Appendix III shows the breakdown by 
military service and by appropriation. 

New Acquisition Programs Are Spending Significantly More Dollars and 
Delivering Fewer Tactical Aircraft Later Than Originally Planned: 

Midway through a 40-year effort to recapitalize and modernize its 
tactical air forces, DOD's efforts have been blunted by relatively poor 
outcomes in its cornerstone new acquisition programs. Increased costs, 
extended development times, requirement changes, and budget pressures 
have reduced DOD's buying power, and DOD now expects to replace legacy 
aircraft with about 1,500 fewer new tactical aircraft than it had 
originally planned--a reduction of one-third. Additionally, delivery of 
these new systems has lagged far behind original plans, not only 
delaying the fielding of capabilities to the warfighter, but also 
increasing operating and modernization costs to keep legacy aircraft 
relevant and in the inventory longer than expected. 

DOD Plans for New Aircraft and Their Implications for the Total Force: 

DOD's recapitalization plans center on the acquisitions of the JSF, F- 
22A, F/A-18E/F, and its electronic attack variant, the EA-18G. 
Collectively, these programs are expected to cost about $400 billion-- 
with almost three-fourths still to be invested--to acquire about 3,200 
aircraft (see table 2). Through the end of fiscal year 2006, Congress 
has appropriated about $111 billion, and the services have taken 
delivery on 480 new aircraft. Table 2 also shows that about 72 percent 
of the expected investment and 85 percent of the planned procurement 
quantity is in the future. The F-22 and the F-18 series acquisition 
programs are expected to be mostly completed over the next five years, 
but the JSF program is only halfway through development with 
procurement starting in 2007 and continuing until 2034. With most of 
its program still ahead, its sheer size, and its tri-service impact, 
the JSF is, in many ways, the linchpin of DOD's tactical aircraft 
future. 

Table 2: New Systems Acquisition Costs and Quantities: 

(In millions of current year dollars): 

JSF; 
Costs; 
Prior years: $24,796.7; 
Investments FY07-11: $41,688.1; 
To complete: $209,974.1; 
Totals: $276,458.9. 

JSF; 
Qty; 
Prior years: 1; 
Investments FY07-11: 202; 
To complete: 2,255; 
Totals: 2,458. 

F-22A; 
Costs; 
Prior years: $50,224.7; 
Investments FY07-11: $12,375.3; 
To complete: $0.0; 
Totals: $62,600.0. 

F-22A; 
Qty; 
Prior years: 123; 
Investments FY07-11: 60; 
To complete: 0; 
Totals: 183. 

F/A-18E/F; 
Costs; 
Prior years: $34,891.8; 
Investments FY07- 11: $9,592.8; 
To complete: $0.0; 
Totals: $44,484.6. 

F/A-18E/F; 
Qty; 
Prior years: 352; 
Investments FY07-11: 110; 
To complete: 0; 
Totals: 462. 

EA-18G; 
Costs; 
Prior years: $1,429.2; 
Investments FY07-11: $7,177.0; 
To complete: $564.6; 
Totals: $9,170.8. 

EA-18G; 
Qty; 
Prior years: 4; 
Investments FY07-11: 82; 
To complete: 4; 
Totals: 90. 

Totals; 
Costs; 
Prior years: $111,342.4; 
Investments FY07-11: $70,833.2; 
To complete: $210,538.7; 
Totals: $392,714.3. 

Totals; 
Qty; 
Prior years: 480; 
Investments FY07-11: 454; 
To complete: 2,259; 
Totals: 3,193. 

Percent; 
Costs; 
Prior years: 28%; 
Investments FY07-11: 18%; 
To complete: 54%; 
Totals: [Empty]. 

Percent; 
Qty; 
Prior years: 15%; 
Investments FY07-11: 14%; 
To complete: 71%; 
Totals: [Empty]. 

Source: Selected Acquisition Reports, Dec. 31, 2005. 

Note: F/A-18E/F and EA-18G costs include prorated shares of development 
costs for the Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar, funded in its 
own Navy program. 

[End of table] 

Increased costs, schedule delays, and budget pressures have combined to 
decrease procurement quantities of new tactical aircraft. Total 
quantities have been reduced by one-third compared to original plans at 
each program's inception (see table 3). 

Table 3: Changes in Acquisition Quantities for New Tactical Aircraft 
Systems: 

Aircraft: JSF; 
Original Qty: 2,988; 
Current Qty: 2,458; 
Decreased Qty: 530; 
Percent decrease: -18%. 

Aircraft: F-18; 
Original Qty: 1,000; 
Current Qty: 552; 
Decreased Qty: 448; 
Percent decrease: -45%. 

Aircraft: F-22; 
Original Qty: 750; 
Current Qty: 183; 
Decreased Qty: 567; 
Percent decrease: -76%. 

Totals; 
Original Qty: 4,738; 
Current Qty: 3,193; 
Decreased Qty: 1,545; 
Percent decrease: -33%. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

Note: Current F-18 quantities include 462 F/A-18E/Fs and 90 EA-18G 
electronic attack variant. 

[End of table] 

The cumulative impacts of delayed deliveries and reduced quantities on 
the total force (see fig. 2) have slowed the recapitalization of the 
legacy force and made it more expensive to modernize, operate, and 
maintain. Collectively, this means that the warfighters will have fewer 
of the newest and most capable aircraft throughout the recapitalization 
period. With fewer buys of new systems, legacy aircraft will make up a 
larger proportion of the future force and for a longer period of time 
than originally envisioned. Although legacy aircraft are still very 
capable--and will be expected to remain so through upgrades and life 
extension efforts--they are becoming increasingly more expensive to 
operate and maintain. Service officials are confident that new systems 
will provide improved capabilities compared to legacy systems they 
replace, but worry whether the numbers of aircraft acquired are 
sufficient to meet national security requirements at an acceptable 
level of risk. They are also concerned with managing risks using legacy 
systems in the near-and mid-terms. 

Figure 2: Original Planned and Current Procurement Quantities for New 
Tactical Aircraft: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

Cost, Schedule, and Performance Issues for New Acquisition Programs: 

Over the years, our extensive reviews of DOD's major weapon system 
acquisitions have usually found positive outcomes when programs follow 
the evolutionary, knowledge-based strategy espoused by the best 
practices of leading commercial firms and now established in DOD 
policy. This includes establishing a solid business case that 
accurately and realistically matches available resources (technologies, 
money, expertise, and time) to warfighter needs. The Defense 
Acquisition Performance Assessment report in January 2006 also found 
that a disciplined business approach was needed to improve DOD's weapon 
system acquisition process. One particular and key practice recommended 
was for time-certain development programs--delivery of the first unit 
to operational forces within about six years from the Milestone A 
decision point.[Footnote 3] We have usually found poorer outcomes--
significant cost increases, reduced procurement quantities, and 
schedule delays--in programs not following these practices. For 
example, immature technologies, design problems, and changes in threats 
and requirements underpinning the original business case, contributed 
to major cost increases for the F-22A program, a doubling of its years 
spent in development, and a sharp reduction in quantities deemed 
affordable. We are concerned that the JSF is on a similar risky path 
with highly concurrent plans to begin production while still early in 
development and with little testing completed. On the other hand, the 
F/A-18E/F program is employing a more evolutionary approach and is 
experiencing better cost and schedule outcomes. We have some concerns 
that its new electronic attack variant, the EA-18G, is pursuing a too- 
aggressive and more concurrent strategy, increasing its risks of poor 
program outcomes in the future. Table 4 summarizes outcomes to date on 
these four tactical aircraft programs. 

Table 4: Changes in Key Outcomes of New Tactical Systems: 

F-22A; 
Development cost changes: 47%; 
Quantity reductions: 465; 
Program unit cost increases: 186%; 
Cycle time delays: 27 mo. 

JSF; 
Development cost changes: 29%; 
Quantity reductions: 408; 
Program unit cost increases: 33%; 
Cycle time delays: 23 mo. 

F-18E/F; 
Development cost changes: (5)%; 
Quantity reductions: 538; 
Program unit cost increases: 36%; 
Cycle time delays: 12 mo. 

EA-18G; 
Development cost changes: 8%; 
Quantity reductions: 0; 
Program unit cost increases: 4%; 
Cycle time delays: 0 mo. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

Notes: Outcome measures compare costs and plans established at the 
start of system development with current costs and plans. 

Cycle time delays show added months required to reach initial 
operational capability. 

[End of table] 

An overview of key observations on each new system follows. More 
details on each system's mission, program status, major work 
activities, and funding are provided in appendix IV. 

* The F-22A "Raptor" needs a new business case that more accurately and 
realistically supports the changed conditions and the program of 
record, including justification for additional investments of $6.3 
billion to incorporate more robust ground attack and intelligence- 
gathering capabilities. There is a 198 aircraft difference between the 
Air Force's stated need for 381 aircraft and the 183 aircraft the 
Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) says is affordable. We have 
previously recommended that DOD develop a new business case for the F- 
22A program before further investments in new aircraft or modernization 
are made. DOD has not concurred with this recommendation, stating that 
an internal study of tactical aircraft has justified the current 
quantities planned for the F-22A. Because of the frequently changing 
OSD-approved requirements for the F-22A, repeated cost overruns, 
significant remaining investments, and delays in the program we 
continue to believe a new business case is required and that the 
assumptions used in the internal OSD study be validated by an 
independent source. 

* The JSF "Lightning II" acquisition strategy's high degree of 
concurrent development and production weakens its business case and 
poses substantial risks for cost overruns, schedule slips, and late 
delivery of promised capabilities to the warfighter. The program has 
contracted to deliver full capabilities for the three different 
variants in a single-step, 12-year development program and plans to 
begin production in 2007 with immature technologies, incomplete 
designs, undemonstrated system integration, and little knowledge about 
performance and producibility. Costs have increased another $31.6 
billion from the fiscal year 2004 rebaselined amount. Due to 
affordability pressures, DOD is beginning to reduce annual procurement 
quantities; recent plans indicate a 28 percent decrease in maximum 
annual buy quantities compared to last year's program of record. 

* The F/A-18E/F "Super Hornet" program adopted a more evolutionary and 
less risky approach, having substantial commonality with its 
predecessor C/D models and leveraging previous technology. Planned 
upgrades incrementally add new capabilities, some of which are having 
performance problems and delays according to OSD testers. Over half of 
the planned fleet has been delivered, and some have been used in 
combat. The mature and stable production program is on its second 
multiyear contract and is delivering aircraft ahead of the contract 
schedule and within cost targets. 

* The EA-18G "Growler" is the newest program and shares the same F/A- 
18F platform, but incorporates airborne electronic attack capabilities. 
Its acquisition schedule is very aggressive and concurrent. Only two of 
its five critical technologies are fully mature to best practice 
standards even though the program is well into development and plans to 
start producing electronic attack-capable aircraft this year. OSD's 
Director of Operational Test and Evaluation also cites its aggressive 
schedule to achieve an initial operational capability and special risks 
in integrating the electronic attack capabilities onto the F/A-18F 
platform. 

New Acquisition Costs and Delays Have Made Resourcing Decisions for 
Legacy Systems Reactive and Less Efficient: 

The problems and delays encountered by the new tactical aircraft 
acquisition programs have direct and significant impacts on legacy 
systems plans and costs. Funding needs and plans for new and legacy 
aircraft are by nature interdependent, and decisions to sustain, 
modernize, or retire legacy systems are largely reactive to the 
outcomes of new systems. The military services accord new systems 
higher funding priority, and the legacy systems tend to get whatever 
funding is remaining after the new systems' budget needs are met. If 
new aircraft consume more of the investment dollars than planned, the 
buying power and budgets for legacy systems are further reduced to 
remain within DOD budget limits. However, as quantities of new systems 
have been cut and deliveries to the warfighter delayed, more legacy 
aircraft are required to stay in the inventory and for longer periods 
of time than planned, requiring more dollars to modernize and maintain 
aging aircraft. Table 5 summarizes budgeted investments (development 
and procurement funding) for new and legacy systems. Over the next 7 
years, DOD plans to invest about $109.3 billion in tactical aircraft to 
acquire about 570 new systems and modernize hundreds of legacy systems. 

Table 5: Total Investments in New and Legacy Tactical Aircraft from 
Fiscal Years 2007 to 2013: 

(In millions of dollars): 

New systems: JSF; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $60,418.6; 
Legacy systems Air Force: A-10; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $2,026.8; 
Legacy systems Navy/Marines: F/A-18A-D; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $3,527.9. 

New systems: F-22A; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $16,665.2; 
Legacy systems Air Force: F-15A-D; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $2,667.8; 
Legacy systems Navy/Marines: E/A-6B; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $634.1. 

New systems: F/A-18E/F; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $13,083.6; 
Legacy systems Air Force: F-16; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $2,400.1; 
Legacy systems Navy/Marines: AV-8B; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $403.1. 

New systems: EA-18G; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $7,466.1; 
Legacy systems Air Force: F-117A; 
Investments FY 2007-2013: $16.0; 
Legacy systems Navy/Marines: [Empty]; 
Investments FY 2007- 2013: [Empty]. 

Total New systems: $97,633.5; 
Total Legacy Air Force: $7,110.7; 
Total legacy Navy/Marines: $4,565.1. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

Notes: The Navy consolidates budgets for the F-18 series aircraft; 
accordingly, investment amount shown above for the new E/F models 
includes some development funding for the legacy A-D models, and the 
investment amount for the legacy models includes some modification 
funding for the new models. 

Total investments also include $3,320.0 million for tactical aircraft 
funding requested in the pending Fiscal Year 2007 Global War on 
Terrorism supplemental and the Fiscal Year 2008 Global War on Terror 
budget requests. 

[End of table] 

Uncertainty about new systems costs and deliveries makes it difficult 
to effectively plan and efficiently implement modernization efforts and 
legacy retirement schedules. With unpredictable quantities and delivery 
schedules of the new systems, program managers for legacy aircraft are 
challenged to balance reduced funds for modifications with requirements 
to keep legacy systems operational and relevant longer than they had 
planned. Stable retirement plans are critical to effective management 
and efficient resource use, but in this environment retirement plans 
keep changing. Program managers are hard-pressed to allocate funds or 
set sunset schedules[Footnote 4] for legacy fleets until the outcomes 
of new acquisitions are known. Furthermore, the longer the services 
retain legacy systems in their inventories, the more money they will 
need for operation and maintenance costs in order to keep legacy 
aircraft operational and relevant. DOD has become increasingly 
concerned that the high cost of keeping aging weapon systems relevant 
and able to meet required readiness levels is a growing challenge in 
the face of forecast threat capabilities and is depleting modernization 
accounts, reducing the department's flexibility to invest in new 
weapons. 

Operating costs per flying hour for Air Force legacy systems are shown 
in figure 3. It illustrates that operation and maintenance costs 
typically increase as weapons systems age. It also shows the relatively 
high operating costs for the F-117A, a factor in the decision to retire 
that fleet early. Some officials believe that operating costs for new 
systems will be less expensive than the legacy systems they replace, 
but others challenge that notion, citing such factors as the higher 
technology, stealth characteristics, and private sector support 
arrangements. 

Figure 3: Operating Costs per Flying Hour for Air Force Tactical 
Aircraft: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

Since legacy programs typically receive less funding than requested, 
program managers must prioritize and fund first those modifications 
that are absolutely necessary--ones that are related to safety of 
flight or that will cause the aircraft to be grounded. As a result, 
there are large pent up demands of unfunded requirements the 
warfighters report as necessary to meet their mission requirements. 
Current estimates for unfunded modernization and sustainment 
requirements on legacy systems total several billions of dollars. The 
services are considering substantial service life extension programs 
and additional modernization enhancements for several of the legacy 
fleets, but many of these costs are not reflected in current programmed 
budgets or have yet to be estimated. 

Some of these issues and concerns about legacy systems are not new, but 
perhaps have gained more immediacy because of their interdependency 
with the large scale new systems recapitalization efforts. GAO has 
previously reported on the condition, program strategies, and funding 
for key existing DOD weapon systems, including tactical aircraft. Our 
2005 report[Footnote 5] found that the military services had incomplete 
long-term strategies and funding plans for some systems, in that future 
requirements are not identified, studies are not completed, funding for 
maintenance and upgrades was limited, or replacement systems were 
delayed or not yet identified. We recommended that DOD reassess and 
report annually on its near-and long-term programs for key systems 
until replacements are fielded. DOD partially concurred to reassess 
programs stating that it already does this in its planning, 
programming, budgeting, and execution process. It did not concur that 
additional annually reporting to Congress of this information was 
necessary as they stated the annual budget submission already includes 
a balanced overall program within available resources. 

The Air Force Is Increasing Investments in Legacy Systems to Keep Them 
Relevant and Capable: 

The Air Force plans to invest more than $7.1 billion from fiscal year 
2007 to 2013 to modernize legacy aircraft (table 6). These investments 
are heavily influenced by the ability of the Air Force to complete its 
recapitalization strategy for the F-22A and the JSF aircraft as 
currently planned. Further reductions in quantities and delays in 
delivering these new aircraft will impact the number of legacy aircraft 
retained and the amount of time they must remain in service. Future 
investments beyond those shown, including service life extension 
efforts costing billions of dollars, may be required to keep legacy 
fleets relevant and operational longer. Officials said the time is 
approaching when hard decisions on retiring or extending the life of 
legacy aircraft must be made. 

Table 6: Air Force Legacy Aircraft Modernization Costs: 

(In millions of current year dollars): 

A-10; 
Prior Two Years: $225.4; 
Investments FY07-13: $2,026.8; 
Totals: $2,252.2. 

F-15 (all series); 
Prior Two Years: $630.5; 
Investments FY07-13: $2,667.8; 
Totals: $3,298.3. 

F-16 (all series); 
Prior Two Years: $985.4; 
Investments FY07-13: $2,400.1; 
Totals: $3,385.5. 

F-117A; 
Prior Two Years: $59.0; 
Investments FY07-13: $16.0; 
Totals: $75.0. 

Totals; 
Prior Two Years: $1,900.3; 
Investments FY07-13: $7,110.7; 
Totals: $9,011.0. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

[End of table] 

The following provides an overview of key observations on the Air Force 
legacy systems. Additional details on these systems are in appendix IV. 

* The Air Force will retain the A-10 "Warthog" fleet in its inventory 
much longer than planned because of its relevant combat capabilities-- 
demonstrated first during Desert Storm and now in the ongoing Global 
War on Terror. However, because of post-Cold War plans to retire the 
fleet in the early 1990s, the Air Force had spent little money on major 
upgrades and depot maintenance for at least 10 years. As a result, the 
Air Force faces a large backlog of structural repairs and 
modifications--much of it unfunded---and will likely identify more 
unplanned work as older aircraft are inspected and opened up for 
maintenance. Major efforts to upgrade avionics, modernize cockpit 
controls, and replace wings are funded and underway. Program officials 
identified a current unfunded requirement of $2.7 billion, including 
$2.1 billion for engine upgrades, which some Air Force officials say is 
not needed. A comprehensive service life extension program (if 
required) could cost billions more. 

* F-15 "Eagles" will not be fully or as quickly replaced by F-22As as 
planned. For years, the Air Force modification efforts and funds have 
been concentrated on about half the fleet--the number projected as 
required to complement the new F-22A aircraft. With the F-22A 
quantities now reduced, more F-15s need to be modernized and retained 
for longer periods of time. Officials identified near-term unfunded 
requirements of $2.3 billion and much more if life extension efforts 
are needed. The newest F-15E aircraft with enhanced strike capabilities 
will be retained even longer. The Air Force deferred the start up of a 
major radar upgrade effort costing $2.3 billion, and program officials 
identified another $1.7 billion in unfunded requirements to address 
avionics, structural, and engine concerns among other efforts proposed 
for the F-15E. 

* Newer F-16 "Falcon" aircraft may be needed to stay viable and 
operational longer due to JSF schedule delays and deferrals. The F-16 
fleet consists of several different configurations that were acquired 
in a long and successful evolutionary program. The Air Force has 
invested billions over the years to upgrade capabilities, engines, and 
structural enhancements needed to achieve its original life expectancy 
of 8,000 hours. The program office estimated $3.2 billion in unfunded 
requirements, including radar upgrades to the aircraft capable of 
suppressing enemy air defenses, the Air Force's only platform for that 
mission. Significant unknowns exist about extending the life beyond 
8,000 hours should that be necessary. This makes any additional JSF 
schedule delays, deferrals, and cost growth very problematic for the 
overall Air Force fighter structure. 

* The Air Force plans to retire the F-117A "Nighthawk" stealth fighter 
in fiscal years 2007 and 2008, stating that there are other more 
capable assets that can provide low observable, precision penetrating 
weapons capability. Program Budget Decision 720, dated December 2005, 
directed the Air Force to develop a strategy to gain congressional 
support for this plan. Program officials estimate that the drawdown of 
the fleet and the shutdown of government and contractor offices and 
facilities would cost approximately $283 million. There is currently no 
funding allocated for these retirement costs of the F-117A. This cost 
does not include storage and maintenance of the fleet after such a 
retirement. 

Plans for Navy and Marine Corps Legacy Systems Are Evolving and Likely 
to Require More Funding: 

The Navy plans to invest about $4.6 billion in its legacy tactical 
aircraft over the next seven years (table 7). Officials are relying 
heavily on the acquisition of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the JSF as 
planned to complete its recapitalization strategy. Delays in the JSF 
program could require additional modifications beyond those already 
budgeted for the F/A-18C/D and AV-8B aircraft. Work on EA-6B aircraft 
is dependent on the timely delivery of the EA-18G Growler, its naval 
replacement, and on evolving Marine Corps plans for its future 
electronic attack capability. 

Table 7: Navy Legacy Aircraft Modernization Costs: 

(In millions of current year dollars): 

F/A-18 (all series); 
Prior Two Years: $1,106.6; 
Investments FY07-13: $3,527.9; 
Totals: $4,634.5. 

EA-6B; 
Prior Two Years: $254.4; 
Investments FY07-13: $634.1; 
Totals: $888.5. 

AV-8B; 
Prior Two Years: $119.9; 
Investments FY07-13: $403.1; 
Totals: $523.0. 

Totals; 
Prior Two Years: $1,480.9; 
Investments FY07-13: $4,565.1; 
Totals: $6,046.0. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

Note: The Navy consolidates budgets for the F/A-18 series; funding 
above includes some procurement modification funding for the new F/A- 
18E/F as well as the legacy F/A-18A/B/C/D aircraft. 

[End of table] 

The following provides an overview of key observations on the Navy and 
Marine Corps legacy systems. Additional details on these systems are in 
appendix IV. 

* The F/A-18C/D "Hornet" fleet may be given extra life to ameliorate a 
fighter shortfall projected by Navy officials. Service officials are 
considering efforts to extend the life of the legacy aircraft until 
replaced by the JSF. A service life assessment effort to be completed 
in December 2007 will determine the feasibility, scope of work, and 
total costs for extending the life of the system. A preliminary 
estimate, including the costs of the assessment, is about $2 billion, 
but officials said that number could very well increase substantially 
as the assessment progresses and cost estimates mature. Also included 
in the above estimate is the Center Barrel Replacement to eliminate 
structural limitations caused by cracking in the central fuselage. This 
effort is about half completed and will cost about $970 million. A 
Naval Air Systems Command official said they could very well identify 
additional modifications and structural work required beyond what is 
funded. Further delays in JSF could exacerbate problems. 

* The Navy will retire its EA-6B "Prowler" aircraft by 2013 and replace 
them with the new EA-18G, but the Marine Corps's future plans are still 
evolving. The Navy will transition its most capable aircraft to the 
Marines who will operate and maintain them until retirement. The Marine 
Corps had planned to retire its EA-6B fleet starting in 2015, but 
officials said plans could change depending on the transition of 
aircraft from the Navy and that they may need to keep these aircraft in 
the inventory longer depending on the JSF delivery schedule. The Marine 
Corps has not yet made firm plans as to its future electronic attack 
capability and is considering employment of the JSF and other assets. 
The Marine Corps has requested a total of $379 million in the fiscal 
year 2007 global war on terrorism supplemental and the fiscal year 2008 
global war on terror request to upgrade an additional 18 EA-6Bs with 
the Improved Capability III electronic attack suite and for other 
modernization enhancements. 

* The Marine Corps wants to replace its entire AV-8B "Harrier" fleet 
with the JSF STOVL aircraft as expeditiously as possible. The Harrier-
-the original STOVL aircraft--is costly to maintain, and has a 
relatively high attrition rate. Program officials have budgeted very 
little future funds for Harrier modifications, but delays in JSF 
deliveries and possible cutbacks in quantity may require some 
redirection. Harriers may need to be retained in inventory longer than 
expected, but officials have not determined the extent of work 
required, nor the potential cost. Between 1994 and 2001, the majority 
of AV-8Bs were remanufactured with new fuselages to add structural life 
and to accommodate night attack modifications and a higher performance 
engine. Currently, five day attack aircraft are being upgraded to night 
attack capability, and two training aircraft are being refurbished. 

A Joint Enterprise-Level Investment Strategy for Tactical Aircraft Is 
Lacking As Services Plan Independently: 

DOD does not have a single, integrated investment plan for 
recapitalizing and modernizing its tactical air forces. Rather, each 
service independently develops its requirements and programs its 
resources to size and shape its individual force structure. These plans 
to date have underperformed in terms of higher acquisition costs and 
fewer quantities delivered, and officials from each service forecast 
near-term and future shortfalls in the capabilities and numbers of 
aircraft. Moving forward, projected plans are likely unaffordable given 
competing demands from future defense and nondefense budgets. 

Efforts to build a more joint position continue with some promise, but 
recent studies did not significantly impact service acquisition plans. 
Without a joint, integrated investment strategy for tactical aircraft 
that plans and addresses requirements on a DOD enterprise-wide basis, 
it is difficult to evaluate the efficacy and severity of capability 
gaps or, alternatively, areas of redundancy. Also, it is difficult to 
fully account for and assess real and potential contributions from 
other current and future non-tactical systems providing similar 
capabilities, including bombers, missiles, and unmanned aircraft. 

Services Plan Tactical Aircraft Investments Independently: 

The national defense strategy, which comes from an enterprise level in 
DOD, requires the services to be able to successfully and 
simultaneously defend the homeland, win two overlapping major 
contingencies, operate in forward locations around the world to deter 
aggression, and handle lesser operations as needed such as humanitarian 
and peace-keeping missions. Defense strategy continues to evolve with 
an increased emphasis on the "long war"--the Global War on Terror--and 
other asymmetric operations and a reduced emphasis on major theater 
combat and conventional adversaries. 

While OSD and the joint staff provide oversight and may make 
adjustments, each military service is primarily responsible for 
assessing tactical aircraft requirements, sizing its force structure, 
developing investment plans, and programming resources to meet its 
individual assignments within the total national defense policy 
requirements.[Footnote 6] The future forces planned by the military 
services will be smaller than today's force, but more capable and 
stealthier, according to officials (see table 8). Even so, Service 
officials are forecasting shortfalls in force structure capabilities 
and numbers throughout this period. 

Table 8: Changes in Tactical Aircraft Inventories Fiscal Years 2006 to 
2025: 

Air Force; 
Inventory 2006: 2500; 
Inventory 2025: 1800; 
Inventory reduction: 700; 
Percent reduction: 28%. 

Navy & Marine Corps; 
Inventory 2006: 1200; 
Inventory 2025: 900; 
Inventory reduction: 300; 
Percent reduction: 25%. 

Total; 
Inventory 2006: 3700; 
Inventory 2025: 2700; 
Inventory reduction: 1000; 
Percent reduction: 27%. 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

Note: These numbers are approximate to show relative changes. 

[End of table] 

Two important factors in sizing and shaping forces are the types of 
forces and systems needed (capabilities) and the overall size of the 
force to meet operational demands (capacity). This means maintaining a 
force structure that not only has modern systems with advanced 
capabilities to meet projected threats, but also has enough assets to 
cover assigned targets, threats, and territories. Each Service also 
wants to size their force structure to enable them to employ rotational 
plans that cycle force packages through sequential phases of active 
deployment, return from deployment to reconstitute, and preparation for 
the next deployment. 

Department of the Navy Future Tactical Aircraft Plans: 

The Navy sizes and shapes its tactical fighter requirements to fill 10 
carrier strike forces. Each future force would comprise 44 aircraft--24 
F/A-18 E/Fs and 20 carrier capable Joint Strike Fighters--with 
equivalent capabilities and a mix of stealthy and non stealthy 
aircraft. EA-18Gs will also be assigned to carriers to provide tactical 
jamming support for the strike force. 

Marine Corps fighter squadrons are attached to Marine expeditionary 
units and are sized and positioned to provide direct fire support and 
protection to front-line forces and reinforcements. The future Marine 
Corps combat air force is tied to success of the JSF acquisition 
program as officials plan to have an all-JSF force in the future. The 
future force will also have 40 percent fewer aircraft assigned to each 
infantry battalion. 

In 2003, the Department of the Navy began implementing a tactical air 
integration plan to address affordability concerns. The plan was aimed 
at more closely integrating Navy and Marine Corps strike fighter 
inventories, in effect managing tactical air assets as a common pool. 
The Navy projected net savings of $18.5 billion through fiscal year 
2021 by reducing the number of operational legacy fighters required 
and, in turn, the number of new aircraft needed for recapitalization. 
This reduced future procurement plans by 409 JSFs and 88 F/A-18E/F 
aircraft. At the same time, it was recognized that integration would 
increase operating and maintenance costs because the smaller number of 
aircraft would need to be maintained at higher rates of readiness in 
order to meet emergency surge deployments. 

Actual and planned inventory levels for combined Navy and Marine Corps 
tactical aircraft from fiscal year 1990 through fiscal year 2025 are 
shown in figure 4. The Department of the Navy tactical aviation forces 
peaked in the early 1990s at about 1,800 aircraft and shrunk to about 
1,200 by 2006, principally through retirement of the A-6 fleet and 
beginning draw downs on the F-14 fleet. By 2025, the total tactical 
inventory is slated to decrease another 300 aircraft, or 25 percent 
(refer back to table 8). Therefore, the total inventory in 2025 is 
projected to be one-half the inventory in the early 1990s. Legacy 
aircraft would be virtually replaced by the more capable new systems. 

Figure 4: Navy and Marine Corps Tactical Aircraft Force Structure: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

Shortfalls Forecast by Navy and Marine Corps Officials: 

Navy officials are projecting persistent future shortfalls in both 
legacy and new FA-18 aircraft. The amounts of the shortfall vary 
depending on two key variables--the rate of procurement on the Joint 
Strike Fighter and service life estimates for F/A-18s. Navy and Marine 
Corps officials told us that buying the JSF at the current planned 
rate--requiring a ramp-up to 50 aircraft per year by fiscal year 2015-
-will be difficult to achieve and to afford, particularly if costs 
continue to increase and schedules slip. According to one study, a 
likely scenario assumes acquiring fewer JSFs annually and achieving a 
modest increase in flying hour life for legacy F/A-18C/Ds; this 
scenario would project shortfalls starting in 2010 and peaking at 167 
legacy strike fighters by 2017. Navy officials also project a shortfall 
of 131 F/A-18E/Fs by 2024 based on estimated usage, attrition, and 
assuming an increase in flying hour life from 6,000 to 9,000 hours. 
Options to erase these shortfalls include buying more new aircraft and 
extending the life of legacy aircraft. 

Marine Corps officials project a near-term shortfall in the AV-8B fleet 
ranging from 8 to 14 aircraft between fiscal years 2006 to 2011. 
Erasing this shortfall after 2011 depends upon acquiring the JSF STOVL 
in the numbers and time frames currently planned. According to 
officials, a one-year slide in the JSF schedule increases the shortfall 
by approximately three aircraft per year. As a result, the fleet would 
need to examine squadron structure and additional reductions to 
aircraft would be expected to negatively impact deployment 
capabilities. 

Department of the Air Force Future Tactical Aircraft Plans: 

The Air Force sizes its tactical air forces to meet warfighting 
requirements. In order to fill peacetime defense needs, the Air Force 
schedules ten air and space expeditionary forces, the planned 
organizations of Air Force aircraft, personnel, and support for 
operations and deployments. These individual force constructs are 
applied against rotational national security requirements. The Air 
Force's future plan for combat aircraft that is believed affordable is 
termed the programming force and is shown in figure 5. 

This plan assumes buying the 183 F-22As deemed affordable by OSD and 
the current program of record for the JSF, but with a slowdown in 
fielding. The programming plan projects the total number of tactical 
aircraft decreasing by about 700 aircraft--from 2,500 currently to 
about 1,800 in 2025 (refer back to table 8). This plan continues the 
overall decline in inventory since 1990 when the Air Force fielded 
about 4,000 tactical aircraft. The programming force shows significant 
quantities of A-10 and F-15C/D/E aircraft remaining in the force by 
2025 with phased drawdown of all F-16s. The 2025 force is now projected 
to be roughly 60 percent new systems and 40 percent legacy systems. 
This is a significant shift from earlier projections which had planned 
on an almost all new force. This shift reflects changes due to the cuts 
in total F-22A purchases and the reduced annual buys of JSF with 
consequent slowdown in fielding. 

Figure 5: Air Force Tactical Aircraft Force Structure: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD data, GAO analysis. 

[End of figure] 

Shortfalls Forecast by Air Force Officials: 

Officials at Air Combat Command--the requirement-setting command that 
supports the warfighter--told us that the programming (funded) force is 
not sufficient to meet national security requirements at acceptable 
levels of risk. According to these officials, the funded program would 
support only 100 combat aircraft (tactical fighters and bombers) in 
each air and expeditionary force compared to 150 aircraft today. While 
the new systems are expected to provide improved capabilities compared 
to the legacy systems they replace, officials do not think the force 
would have sufficient capacity to cover future security needs with 
acceptable risks. 

Air Combat Command develops another force plan known as the vision 
force (later reworked into a planning force by Air Force headquarters) 
that the requiring command believes provides the right mix and numbers 
to meet future needs at an acceptable level of risk. This plan would 
procure the full complement of JSFs and the Air Force's stated 
requirement for 381 F-22As, which would allow a full operational 
squadron to be assigned to each of the 10 air and space expeditionary 
forces. Under this plan, almost all legacy aircraft would be retired by 
2025 with the exception of the F-15E, the latest model in the F-15 
series that has an enhanced strike capability. This plan is not 
constrained by resources, and command officials estimated it would cost 
more than $100 billion over the funding levels currently expected 
through 2025. 

Affordability of Long-Range Plans Is Questionable: 

Looking forward over the next 20 years, DOD's collective tactical 
aircraft recapitalization plans are likely not affordable as currently 
planned. Acquisition strategies and plans assume favorable assumptions 
about cost and schedule and the ability to sustain funding at high 
levels over a considerable period of time. Historically, however, costs 
increase; quantities are reduced; and delivery schedules are delayed. 
The JSF program represents 90 percent of the investments to go for new 
tactical aircraft and projected plans are likely unaffordable given 
projected future budget constraints and competing demands. 

First, plans for new systems are based on conservative estimates of 
future cost growth to complete the programs but optimistic estimates on 
the availability of future funding, production rates, and quantities of 
new aircraft delivered to the warfighter on time. While it is 
understandable to project that programs will execute to cost and 
quantity targets as planned, the prevailing and historical evidence 
suggests otherwise. In 1997 we reported[Footnote 7] that the historical 
average cost growth of major acquisition systems was at least 20 
percent. Our annual assessment of weapon systems[Footnote 8] continue 
to show today that many programs cost more, take longer to develop, and 
deliver fewer assets than planned. While the F/A-18E/F program has 
generally executed to schedule, the F-22A did not, and we believe the 
recent cost escalation and potential delays in production indicate that 
the JSF is on a similar path. Air Force and Marine Corps officials told 
us that the planned maximum procurement rates for the JSF will be very 
difficult to sustain and there are already pressures to reduce or delay 
procurement before it even begins. The fiscal year 2008 budget has 
reduced near-term quantities and current planning projections suggest 
that the Air Force will significantly reduce annual procurement 
quantities midterm in the program and defer these aircraft to later 
years, extending the procurement period by 7 years. 

Second, the tactical aircraft plans do not consider billions in 
potential added costs for legacy systems. As discussed earlier in this 
report, substantial service life extension programs and additional 
modernization enhancements are under serious consideration for many of 
the legacy fleets. Some of these costs are not reflected in current 
programmed budgets or have yet to be estimated. For example, the Navy 
is considering options to extend the life of its F/A-18 fleets, but has 
not yet developed comprehensive cost estimates. An initial estimate is 
for $2 billion, but an official told us the cost will likely be much 
larger. The Air Force is now planning to keep the A-10 in inventory for 
a longer period of time, but the full costs to extend the life are not 
known, and some other potential costs, including $2.1 billion to 
improve the engines, are not funded. One estimate for extending the A- 
10's life in total was $4.4 billion. We also learned that $283 million 
to retire the F-117A during fiscal years 2007 and 2008 has not yet been 
funded, and given officials' comments about unstable divestiture 
schedules and changing retirement dates, it may be the case that other 
programs have also not factored in retirement costs to close contractor 
facilities and government programs. Furthermore, as legacies remain in 
the operational force longer, substantial funding for additional 
sustainment costs and annual operating and maintenance costs will be 
necessary, particularly if plans to defer JSF procurements are 
implemented. 

Third, tactical aircraft plans will face increasing competition for the 
defense dollar from other new procurements and from continuing costs 
for the Global War on Terror. DOD is planning the start-up of several 
big-ticket items including a new strategic tanker aircraft, a next 
generation strike aircraft, unmanned aircraft, and other more 
transformational programs. Projected costs for ongoing military 
operations in the Global War on Terror will continue to put pressure on 
defense investment accounts and are also expected to increase the share 
of the total budget going to ground forces which could decrease the 
share for aviation programs. Flat or lower funding levels and future 
systems that can perform the same or similar tactical air missions may 
substantially alter the ultimate mix, timing, and rate at which combat 
aircraft are acquired. 

Fourth, any questions on affordability must be viewed in a larger 
context relative to federal spending, demographic trends, and impacts 
on discretionary funding. The Comptroller General testified[Footnote 9] 
last year on the nation's unsustainable fiscal path and its large and 
growing structural deficit due primarily to known demographic trends, 
rising health care costs, and lower federal revenues as a percentage of 
the economy. Federal discretionary programs, including defense 
spending, will face serious budget pressures. Even so, defense programs 
are commanding larger budgets. Over the past 5 years, the department 
has doubled its planned investments in new weapon systems from about 
$700 billion in 2001 to nearly $1.4 trillion in 2006. 

The Congressional Budget Office evaluated the long-term implications of 
defense plans and determined that current investment plans would 
require sustained funding levels at higher real (inflation-adjusted) 
amounts than since mid-1980s, due to sustained purchase of new 
equipment, increased costs for new capabilities, increased operations 
and maintenance costs for aging legacy systems, and costlier new 
systems. At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office notes that 
increased medical and operating support costs competing for the defense 
dollar and national demographic trends will continue to put pressure on 
federal discretionary spending. 

Figure 6 illustrates the affordability challenge. It contrasts DOD's 
optimistic future-funding plans with a more conservative estimate. 
DOD's plan (top-line in figure 6) assumes funding levels well above 
historical amounts. The spike in funding required starting in 2008, 
clearly shows the typical bow wave effect in which weapon system budget 
requirements tend to move to the right (delayed to future years) as 
programs fail to receive full funding or do not execute as planned. 
DOD's projections show an optimistic bent that tactical aircraft 
procurement will be able to significantly increase its share of defense 
funding, exceeding historical levels when many project flat or falling 
funding levels. The lower line (shaded portion of fig. 6) assumes 
funding at the same level as fiscal year 2006 carried forward with 
annual inflationary increases. This more conservative projection is in 
line with historical experience. Our analysis of future-year defense 
plans indicates that the military services in total and the tactical 
aircraft procurement in particular have received similar shares of the 
defense dollar over time, a finding that argues against a strategy that 
requires a substantial increase in order to succeed. The gap between 
the lines thus represents DOD plans that are likely unaffordable. 

Figure 6: Projected Budgets for Tactical Aircraft: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

Efforts to Build Forces from a Joint Perspective Continue, but Recent 
Studies Have Not Had Substantial Impacts on Acquisition Plans: 

DOD continues broad efforts to improve jointness and bring a more 
integrated cross-service perspective to its plans and programs. There 
are promising, but still rather new efforts to enhance capabilities- 
based planning and portfolio management that could be used to better 
integrate and hone joint tactical aircraft requirements. However, 
recent efforts to apply jointness to tactical aircraft have not had 
much direct impact on service investment plans and strategies. We also 
note that one of the few mission capabilities that have been provided 
jointly, the tactical airborne electronic attack mission carried out by 
the EA-6B, is now expected to be replaced in the future by separate and 
unique aircraft for each of the services. 

New Planning Efforts Show Promise: 

DOD has several promising efforts to enhance jointness and bring a 
capabilities-based approach to defense investments. The Joint 
Capabilities, Integration, and Development System (JCIDS), portfolio 
management, and other initiatives are evolving mechanisms designed to 
bring top commanders' needs up-front and take a more joint, enterprise- 
wide view of requirements and funding decisions. Continuing efforts to 
develop joint capabilities-based assessment and planning methodologies 
will be essential to understand contributions to the warfighter, 
develop DOD-wide priorities, and craft investment strategies to 
mitigate shortfalls or eliminate duplication. 

JCIDS is a major, but relatively new initiative to shift from a service-
centric focus on individual acquisition programs to a more top- down 
and joint view of warfighting capabilities and effects. JCIDS is 
intended to involve a wide range of stakeholders, including combatant 
commanders, in identifying capability needs and alternative solutions. 
JCIDS introduces new methodologies intended to foster jointness and 
groups warfighting needs into eight functional areas based on 
warfighting capabilities--such as, force application, battle-space 
awareness, and focused logistics[Footnote 10]--that cut across the 
military services and defense agencies. JCIDS process emphasizes early 
attention to the fiscal implications of newly identified needs, 
including identifying ways to pay for new capabilities by divesting the 
department of lower priority or redundant capabilities. Our recent 
report[Footnote 11] discusses JCIDS and other steps DOD is taking to 
better identify and prioritize joint warfighting needs, but finds that 
DOD's service-centric structure and fragmented decision-making 
processes hinder successful implementation. 

Another promising and related initiative is joint capability portfolio 
management. The intent is to manage groups of like capabilities across 
the enterprise to improve interoperability, minimize capability 
redundancies and gaps, and maximize capability effectiveness. This 
would help build budgets around a set of capabilities instead of 
traditional military accounts. The idea is to take a more joint look at 
what capabilities combatant commanders and warfighters need, as opposed 
to the current more service-centric way in which the services 
independently buy and field capabilities they deem important. By 
shifting the focus from service-specific programs to joint 
capabilities, DOD should be better positioned to understand the 
implications of investment and resource trade-offs among competing 
priorities. In September 2006, DOD management selected four test cases 
for experimentation with the joint capability portfolio management 
concept. Depending on this outcome, tactical aviation would appear to 
be an excellent candidate for portfolio management by cross-decking 
similar capabilities in each service. Although the implementation of 
these portfolio management initiatives seems to have the potential for 
improving interoperability and minimizing capability redundancies and 
gaps, DOD still has a long way to go before the effectiveness of this 
capability-based planning and management effort can be determined. 

The Air Force is also implementing a new "associate wing" concept that 
is similar in its aims as the Navy-Marine Corps integration effort. 
Associate wings would pair up active and reserve component units to 
share the same aircraft and facilities, while retaining separate chains 
of command. Rather than each unit's operating and maintaining its own 
wings, the two would now operate and maintain just one wing in common. 
While still very new, the expected outcomes would be reduced 
inventories, reduced operating costs, and fewer future replacements 
needed. 

Joint Studies Have Not Been Very Directive: 

Despite the Quadrennial Defense Reviews (QDR) and other studies, there 
are many unanswered questions about whether services can achieve 
overarching goals for modernizing aging tactical aircraft fleets. In 
testimony on the results of the department's 2006 QDR, the Secretary of 
Defense stated that continued U.S. air dominance depends on a 
recapitalized fleet. Surprisingly, however, DOD's 2006 QDR report, 
issued in February 2006, did not present a coherent joint investment 
strategy for tactical aircraft systems that addressed needs, capability 
gaps, alternatives, and affordability. The Joint Strike Fighter, the 
largest aircraft acquisition program, was not mentioned and the F-22A 
only in relation to multi-year contracting. The QDR report did include 
some non prescriptive direction for joint air capabilities, emphasizing 
systems with greater range and persistence, larger and more flexible 
payloads, and the ability to penetrate and sustain operations in denied 
areas. 

In a 2005 testimony,[Footnote 12] we suggested that the QDR would 
provide an opportunity for DOD to assess its tactical aircraft 
recapitalization plans and weigh options for accomplishing its specific 
and overarching goals. By not specifically addressing these issues, the 
DOD missed an opportunity. With limited information contained in the 
QDR report, many questions are still unanswered about the future of 
DOD's tactical aircraft modernization efforts. 

In addition, DOD conducted a joint air dominance study that looked at 
current acquisition plans and capabilities. While it validated the need 
for three JSF variants, the study did not receive wide services 
support. Air Force officials said they submitted their own 
recommendations that were not adopted. Another consultant study, 
directed by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and intended to replicate 
the Navy-Marine Corps integration effort on a DOD-wide basis, also 
appears not to have had much direct impact on altering service 
acquisition plans going forward. 

Joint Tactical Radar Jamming Mission May End: 

In conducting military operations, U.S. and allied aircraft can be at 
great risk from enemy air defenses, such as surface to air missile 
systems. The airborne electronic attack mission employs specialized 
aircraft to suppress, destroy, or temporarily degrade enemy radars and 
communications and is a critical enabler to successful tactical air 
operations. Because these specialized aircraft protect aircraft of all 
services in hostile airspace, the electronic attack mission crosses 
individual service lines. DOD considers airborne electronic attack to 
be a key capability for many contingencies and predicts increasing 
roles and missions for aircraft with these capabilities. Since 1995, 
the EA-6B has been DOD's only tactical standoff radar jammer aircraft 
and has provided support to all services during numerous joint and 
allied operations against both traditional and nontraditional threats. 

This capability--one of the few examples of a truly joint asset shared 
by the military services--is now expected to diminish, to be replaced 
by separate and unique aircraft for each of the services. Concerned 
about a gap in defense suppression capabilities as a consequence of 
increasing modernization of enemy air defenses and aging of the EA-6B, 
DOD conducted an analysis of alternatives for airborne electronic 
attack. The May 2002 report concluded that the EA-6B inventory would be 
insufficient to meet DOD's future needs and identified many potential 
platform combinations to address capability shortfalls. DOD adopted a 
system-of-systems approach in which a multitude of systems are needed 
to provide required capabilities across the electronic spectrum. The 
report stated that before a service can begin a formal acquisition 
program, services decisions should consider whether one service will 
provide DOD's core capability and whether it would reside in a single 
platform. 

Subsequent to the report, the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps each 
decided to develop individual and unique electronic attack capabilities 
to replace the EA-6B in the stand-off tactical jamming role. The Navy 
is developing the EA-18G, but plans to procure only enough to support 
its carrier strike forces. The Air Force initially proposed a modified 
B-52 for the standoff radar jamming role. With OSD concurrence, the Air 
Force cancelled this program because of its high estimated costs, and 
is now considering other options. In the near-term, the Marine Corps 
will continue to use upgraded EA-6B aircraft, but anticipates using in 
the future an electronic attack-capable Joint Strike Fighter integrated 
with unmanned aerial systems. There is an OSD directed study underway 
to validate the services' requirements. 

While DOD continues to tout joint capabilities, it is a concern that 
one area of success is being curtailed. A September 2004 memorandum of 
understanding between the military services and joint staff stated that 
the Navy expeditionary EA-6B squadrons will decommission between fiscal 
years 2009 and 2012 to be replaced by indigenous Navy, Air Force, and 
Marine Corps electronic attack capability. DOD continues to assess 
requirements and options. 

Conclusions: 

Tactical air recapitalization and modernization is a costly and very 
challenging enterprise, requiring a delicate and dynamic balancing of 
funding, fielding schedules, and retirement plans between new system 
acquisitions and legacy aircraft to ensure that current and future 
forces can meet national security requirements at reasonable levels of 
risk. New tactical aircraft programs, for the most part, have not 
adequately employed evolutionary, knowledge-based acquisition 
strategies--resulting in escalating costs that undercut DOD's buying 
power, reduces aircraft purchases, and delays delivering needed 
capabilities to the warfighter. Because funding needs and plans for new 
and legacy aircraft programs are interdependent, cost, schedule, or 
performance problems experienced in acquiring new systems cause 
perturbations in modernization costs and retirement schedules 
throughout the operational fleets. Dependent largely on the future 
course of the Joint Strike Fighter, legacy programs are placed in 
reactive modes with uncertain and changeable future requirements, 
unstable retirement plans, and potential unfunded requirements in the 
billions of dollars. While the services strive to reduce war-fighting 
risks by fielding new systems and limiting investment in legacy 
systems, they are faced with increased prices and schedule risks for 
new aircraft while maintaining aging, capability-limited legacy 
aircraft. In the past, we have recommended the department use an 
evolutionary acquisition approach to develop weapon system programs 
coupled with a process that ensures at the start of development that 
requirements have been reduced to match mature technologies, a feasible 
design, and a reasonable expectation of available funding. While the 
department's acquisition policy has included such practices, DOD has 
not fully embraced the use of these practices as it executes current 
acquisition programs. 

Despite DOD's repeated declaration that recapitalizing its aging 
tactical aircraft fleet is a top priority, the department does not have 
a single, comprehensive, and integrated investment plan to adequately 
craft joint priorities, identify critical capability gaps, and allocate 
scarce funds. Instead, planning has been separately done by the 
services. Each military service independently plans and resources 
individual programs that, collectively, are likely unaffordable and 
that make it difficult to identify and quantify DOD-wide capability 
gaps or duplication. DOD needs to bring overall tactical aircraft 
investments into line with more realistic, long-term projections of 
overall defense funding and the amount of procurement funding expected 
to be available for aircraft purchases, and then establish and adhere 
to a plan that is militarily justified and can be executed within that 
amount. Efforts to improve joint capabilities-based planning and to 
manage tactical air assets as a portfolio should be encouraged. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

In order to recapitalize and sustain capable and sufficient tactical 
air forces that reflect what is needed and affordable from a joint 
service perspective and that has high confidence of being executed as 
planned, we are making two recommendations to the Secretary of Defense. 
The Secretary should: 

* take decisive actions to shorten cycle times in delivering needed 
combat capabilities to the warfighter including: 

- adopting a time-certain development cycle that can deliver an 
increment of new capability within 5 to 6 years after the start of 
system design and development; and: 

- reassessing requirements for ongoing weapon system acquisition 
programs to identify ways to reduce requirements and speed up delivery 
of initial capabilities; and: 

* develop an integrated enterprise-level investment strategy that: 

- is based on a joint assessment of warfighting needs and a full set of 
potential and viable alternative solutions, considering not only new 
acquisitions but also modifications to legacy aircraft to achieve this 
balance within realistic and affordable budget projections for DOD; 

- strikes a balance between maintaining near-term readiness and 
addressing long-term needs; and: 

- considers the contributions of bombers, long range strike aircraft, 
unmanned aircraft, missiles, and other weapons currently in the 
inventory and those planned that can be employed to attack the same 
type targets as the tactical aircraft. 

Agency Comments and Our Response: 

DOD concurred with both recommendations in written comments on a draft 
of this report. These comments appear in appendix II. They also 
provided technical comments that we incorporated in the final report as 
appropriate. 

Regarding our first recommendation that DOD take decisive actions to 
shorten cycle times in developing and delivering weapon systems, DOD 
stated that this is consistent with a major initiative of the Under 
Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics 
intended to put military capability into the hands of the warfighters 
faster and more affordably. The Department is also pursuing other 
efforts supporting such actions, including acquisition personnel pay 
incentives, acquisition policy changes, focused research and 
engineering investments in technology, and revised, earlier in-process 
reviews of requirements and proposed solutions by OSD and Joint Staff. 
At the same time, however, DOD stated that aircraft development is a 
highly complex engineering challenge and that it would be unreasonable 
to uniformly apply a six year cycle time to complex programs like the 
JSF. 

We think that it is precisely because of complexity that programs like 
the JSF could stand to benefit most from adopting a more evolutionary 
acquisition process to develop and evolve weapon systems through small, 
time-phased development increments. DOD's history of substantial cost 
growth and extended development times for major weapon systems 
acquisitions were factors driving recent policy changes to require a 
more knowledge-based evolutionary process with time-phased development 
increments--key recommendations also in the Defense Acquisition 
Performance Assessment report. We note that the JSF's predecessor, the 
F-16 fighter program, delivered an initial increment of capability to 
the warfighter within about 4 years after development began and then 
successfully delivered 2,200 aircraft with incremental improvements as 
technology became available over the span of about 30 years. We believe 
this alternative, less risky and more evolutionary approach is feasible 
and still available to the JSF as it seeks to develop multiple variants 
to recapitalize aging tactical fleets involving three services and 
international partners. 

Regarding our recommendation that DOD develop an integrated and 
affordable enterprise-level investment strategy for tactical aviation, 
DOD concurred but stated it already had elements of such a strategy. 
Officials cited key decisions to invest in fifth generation systems 
such as the JSF and F-22, prudent life extension programs for selected 
legacy aircraft, the Joint Air Dominance study conducted during the 
2006 QDR, and new processes--the Joint Capabilities Integration and 
Development System and portfolio management--as bringing integrated 
capabilities-based approaches in formulating a tactical aircraft 
investment strategy. We agree that the Department is making strides 
toward an integrated enterprise-wide investment strategy but that key 
processes are still in their beginning stages and that annual budget 
decisions are still primarily driven on a service-centric, weapon 
system-specific basis. The new Joint capability portfolio management 
initiative is a reaction to the current environment in which the 
services independently budget, buy, and field capabilities. It has the 
potential to bring a joint warfighter, cross-service view and 
disciplined budgeting over sets of mission area capabilities, but test 
cases for experimenting and proving the concept are just beginning. The 
2006 QDR had the potential, but did not present a coherent joint 
investment strategy that addressed needs, capability gaps, 
alternatives, and affordability. These are critical, but now largely 
missing, elements to the comprehensive and integrated investment 
strategy we are recommending. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense, the 
Secretary of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Navy, the Commandant 
of the Marine Corps, and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. 
Copies will also be made available to others upon request. In addition, 
the report will be available at no charge on the GAO web site at 
http://www.gao.gov. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any 
questions concerning this report. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. Major contributors to this report are listed in 
appendix V. 

Sincerely yours, 

Signed by: 

Michael J. Sullivan: 
Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

To determine current risks and future plans for DOD's new tactical 
aircraft acquisition programs, we evaluated plans, budgets, delivery 
schedules, and results to date on the JSF, F-22A, F/A-18E/F, and EA- 
18G. We compared cost, schedule, and performance data to prior 
estimates to identify significant changes and their causes. We 
discussed concerns and emerging issues with officials from the program 
offices, the requiring commands, and service headquarters. To limit 
impacts on the services and leverage our work, we drew extensively upon 
prior and ongoing GAO engagements on the JSF, F-22A, and EA-18G. 

To determine impacts on legacy systems and retirement schedules, we 
reviewed work content and funding requirements for ongoing and 
projected modernization and sustainment projects for tactical aircraft. 
We discussed future plans for legacy systems, retirement schedules, and 
the degree they have been affected by cost, schedule, and performance 
outcomes for new acquisition systems. We compiled lists of unfunded 
requirements and estimates of costs for service life extension 
programs. 

To determine the extent to which DOD has developed an integrated 
investment plan for future tactical aircraft, we analyzed Air Force, 
Navy, and Marine Corps plans and processes for establishing force and 
capability requirements, the factors used to size and shape future 
force structure to meet national security requirements, and how 
capability gaps or redundancies are addressed. We reviewed OSD and 
joint staff responsibilities and processes for exercising program 
management and oversight of service programs and new initiatives 
intended to improve enterprise planning and look for integrated DOD- 
wide solutions. 

In performing our work, we obtained information and interviewed 
officials from the F-22A System Program Office, Wright-Patterson Air 
Force Base, Ohio; F/A-18 System Program Office, Patuxent River, MD; 
program offices for Air Force legacy systems, Wright-Patterson Air 
Force Base, Ohio; program offices for Navy and Marine Corps legacy 
systems, Patuxent River, MD; Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force 
Base, VA; Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD; Navy, Marine 
Corps, and Air Force headquarters offices, OSD, and Joint Chiefs of 
Staff offices, Washington, D.C. We performed our work from June 2006 
through March 2007 in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of The Under Secretary Of Defense: 
3000 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, DC 20301-3000: 
Acquisition, Technology And Logistics: 

Mar 2 8 2007: 

Mr. Michael J. Sullivan: 
Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
G Street, N.W. 
Washington, DC. 20545: 

Dear Mr. Sullivan: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO Draft 
Report, GAO-07-415 "Tactical Aircraft: DoD Needs a Joint and Integrated 
Investment Strategy," dated February 23, 2007 (GAO Code 120564). 

The report recommends DoD take decisive actions to shortest cycle times 
in developing and delivering new weapon systems and develop an 
integrated and affordable enterprise-level investment strategy for 
tactical air forces. 

The DoD concurs with both of the GAO recommendations, but disagrees 
with the GAO's supposition that we do not have an enterprise level 
investment strategy for tactical aviation. The Under Secretary of 
Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) 
established seven major acquisition related goals for the Department. 
Three of those goals directly pertain to shortening of acquisition 
cycle These goals flow down directly from the National and Defense 
Strategic Guidance. Three of the USD(AT&L) goals also pertain to 
improvement of how we invest our scarce resources. The enclosures 
provide additional comments on how the Department is addressing the 
GAO's recommendations and technical comments. 

The Department appreciates the opportunity to comment on the draft 
report. My point of contact far this effort is Mr. David Hersh, (703) 
697-3619, David.Hersh@osd.mil. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

David G. Ahern: 
Director: 
Portfolio Systems Acquisition: 

Enclosures:As stated: 

GAO Draft Report Of February 23, 2007 GAO-07-415 (GAO Code 120564): 

"Tactical Aircraft: DoD Needs a Joint and Integrated investment 
Strategy" 

Department Of Defense Comments To GAO Recommendations: 

Recommendation: 1: The GAO recommended that be DoD We decisive actions 
shorten cycle times in developing and delivering needed combat 
capabilities to the warfighter including: 

* Adopting a time-certain development cycle that can deliver an 
increment of new capability within five to six years after the start of 
system design and development, and: 

* Reassessing requirements for ongoing weapon system acquisition 
programs to identify ways to reduce requirements and speed up delivery 
of initial capabilities. 

DOD Response: Concur. Acquisition cycle time reduction is a major Under 
Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) 
initiative intended to put military capability into the hands of the 
warfighters faster and more affordably. The GAO recommendation is 
consistent with that initiative. Improving cycle time is a daunting 
challenge, and is a focus area in three of the USD(AT&L) goals. 1 he 
USD(AT&L) goals have been communicated to all members of the 
acquisition community and are being codified in the Department's 
acquisition management policy. Under the National Security Personnel 
System, implemented by the Department, acquisition community personnel 
pay is tied directly to employee performance towards achievement of 
those goals. The acquisition policies being put into place brings 
together the requirements, acquisition, programming, and budgeting 
communities to improve affordability, and cycle time. The Department's 
investments in research and engineering are focused towards 
technologies to take advantage of opportunities to affordably and 
rapidly improve military capability. This includes actions to ensure 
the technology readiness levels of the systems selected for development 
are sufficient to minimize risk and accelerate procurement. The EA4 8G 
program is an example of a program that does this well, providing an 
incremental new capability that uses the proven T'/t'9- I$17 platform 
and integrates the proven EA-6B ALQ-218 receiver system. The EA-1 8G is 
on track to deliver this capability on time, less than five years from 
program start. 

The Joint Staff now reviews technical maturity levels before validating 
Service requirements documents. Our intent is to avoid requiring 
technical solutions at the cutting edge in favor of those that can be 
developed incrementally and more rapidly. The department. is also 
reviewing potential materiel and non-materiel solutions far earlier in 
be process than ever before. This initiative, called "Concept 
Decision," is intended to stabilize requirements and improve funding 
stability critical to reducing risk, accelerating cycle time, and 
ensuring predicable outcomes. Stability of requirements is another area 
we are addressing. Requirements growth increases risk, adds cost, and 
slows development. Another major factor we are attempting to address is 
funding stability. Funding cuts, whether internally by the Department 
or by the Congress, can also add risk, increase cost, and slow 
development. 

It is important to recognize that aircraft development, even when not 
pushing the cutting edge of technology, is a highly complex engineering 
challenge that can easily take longer than five or six years. It would 
be unreasonable to uniformly apply a six year cycle time to complex 
programs like the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which has multiple 
variants and involves multiple services and international partners. 
Simply conducting the developmental and operational testing necessary 
for such programs can consume two years or more. If we were to await 
successful completion of that testing before beginning procurement, we 
would add an additional two years or more. It is necessary to 
intelligently accept some risk in concurrency to minimize the cycle 
time. Future improvements to tactical aircraft will follow the 
incremental approach described in the GAO's report, keeping the F-22 
and JSF as viable in service weapon systems for many decades, much like 
we have achieved with the B-52, F/A-18, F-15, F-16, EA-6, AV-8 and A- 
10. 

Recommendation 2: The GAO recommended that the DoD develop an 
integrated and affordable enterprise-level investment strategy that: 

* Is based on a joint assessment of warfighting needs and a full set of 
potential and viable alternative solutions, considering not only new 
acquisitions, but also modifications to legacy aircraft to achieve this 
balance within realistic and affordable budget projections for DoD. 

* Strikes a balance between maintaining near-tern readiness and 
addressing long-term needs; and considers the contribution of bombers, 
long-range strike aircraft, missiles, and other weapons currently in 
the inventory and those planned that can be employed to attack the same 
type targets as the tactical aircraft. 

DOD Response: Concur. The DoD has developed and implemented an 
investment strategy for tactical air forces as reflected in the 
President's Fiscal Year 2008 Budget submission. The first key element 
of the Budget is to buy Joint Strike Fighter aircraft (JSF). Investing 
in fifth generation platforms such as the F-22 and JSF, instead of 
legacy aircraft, for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines will reduce 
attrition losses in high-threat environments. The second key element 
incorporates a planned buy of 183 F-22 aircraft to field air dominance 
capabilities and hedge risk. For the third key element, as DoD 
modernizes with stealth platforms, the services will maintain needed 
capabilities and force structure via prudent life extension programs 
for selected aircraft such as the F/A-18C/D. 

This investment strategy was formulated based on high-level guidance, 
such as the National and Defense strategies, and key studies such as 
the Joint Air Dominance study conducted during the 2005 Quadrennial 
Defense Review. In addition, the Joint Capabilities Integration and 
Development System (JCIDS) and portfolio management are key processes 
which bring a capabilities-based approach to the tactical aircraft 
investment strategy. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council takes a 
joint enterprise-wide view of requirements, vice a Service-centric 
approach to tactical aircraft investment. The Service chiefs, in 
carrying out their responsibilities to train and equip their respective 
Services, develop force structure plans which they believe best serve 
their Service mission requirements. The individual Service plans are 
vetted through the joint process which results in a unified fiscally-
constrained Department position on force structure. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Tactical Air Forces Funding Fiscal Years 2006 to 2011: 

Dollars in thousands: 

Air Force. 

Military construction; 
2006: $380,760; 
2007: $296,077; 
2008: $533,027; 
2009: $913,709; 
2010: $754,934; 
2011:$358,505; 
2006-2011: $3,237,012. 

Military personnel; 
2006: $9,355,951; 
2007: $9,570,892; 
2008: $9,594,455; 
2009: $9,788,140; 
2010: $10,017,144; 
2011: $10,345,118; 
2006-2011: $58,671,700. 

Operations and maintenance; 
2006: $12,776,725; 
2007: $13,019,158; 
2008: $13,640,801; 
2009: $13,698,510; 
2010 $14,196,380; 
2011: $14,428,658; 
2006-2011: $81,760,232. 

Procurement; 
2006: $7,587,576; 
2007: $7,321,053; 
2008: $9,841,779; 
2009: $10,671,089; 
2010: $10,104,223; 
2011: $10,379,510; 
2006-2011: $55,905,230. 

Research, development, test, and evaluation; 
2006: $5,909,282; 
2007: $6,170,332; 
2008: $5,840,288; 
2009: $5,288,475; 
2010: $4,624,294; 
2011: 3,588,672; 
2006-2011: $31,421,343. 

Navy. 

Military construction; 
2006: $0; 
2007: $0; 
2008: $0; 
2009: $0; 
2010: $0; 
2011: $0; 
2006-2011: $0. 

Military personnel; 
2006: $1,157,408; 
2007: $1,181,013; 
2008: $1,197,863; 
2009: $1,234,087; 
2010: $1,273,850; 
2011: $1,302,516; 
2006-2011: $7,346,737. 

Operations and maintenance; 
2006: $2,027,062; 
2007: $1,922,443; 
2008: $1,945,247; 
2009: $1,901,132; 
2010: $1,941,628; 
2011: $1,922,958; 
2006-2011: $11,660,470. 

Procurement; 
2006: $5,990,828; 
2007: $5,977,071; 
2008: $7,820,351; 
2009: $11,419,657; 
2010: $11,461,509; 
2011: $10,081,260; 
2006-2011: $52,750,676. 

Research, development, test, and evaluation; 
2006: $2,871,719; 
2007: $2,626,234; 
2008: $2,147,384; 
2009: $1,480,793; 
2010: $1,231,906; 
2011: $893,068; 
2006-2011: $11,251,104. 

Marine Corps. 

Military construction; 
2006: $0; 
2007: $0; 
2008: $0; 
2009: $0; 
2010: $0; 
2011: $0; 
2006-2011: $0. 

Military personnel; 
2006: $1,543,652; 
2007: $1,571,905; 
2008: $1,637,699; 
2009: $1,701,146; 
2010: $1,755,634; 
2011: $1,816,020; 
2006-2011: $10,026,056. 

Operations and maintenance; 
2006: $906,053; 
2007: $820,374; 
2008: $849,582; 
2009: $884,860; 
2010: $880,779; 
2011: $882,676; 
2006-2011: $5,224,324. 

Procurement; 
2006: $709,064; 
2007: $508,526; 
2008: $441,031; 
2009: $220,030; 
2010: $239,761; 
2011: $245,740; 
2006-2011: $2,364,152. 

Research, development, test, and evaluation; 
2006: $0; 
2007: $0; 
2008: $0; 
2009: $0; 
2010: $0; 
2011: $0; 
2006-2011: $0. 

Total DOD. 

Military construction; 
2006: $380,760; 
2007: $296,077; 
2008:$533,027; 
2009: $913,709; 
2010: $754,934; 
2011: $358,505; 
2006-2011: $3,237,012. 

Military personnel; 
2006: $12,057,011; 
2007: $12,323,810; 
2008: $12,430,017; 
2009: $12,723,373; 
2010: $13,046,628; 
2011: $13,463,654; 
2006-2011: $76,044,493. 

Operations and maintenance; 
2006: $15,709,840; 
2007: $15,761,975; 
2008: $16,435,630; 
2009: $16,484,502; 
2010: $17,018,787; 
2011: $17,234,292; 
2006-2011: $98,645,026. 

Procurement; 
2006: $14,287,468; 
2007: $13,806,650; 
2008: $18,103,161; 
2009: $22,310,776; 
2010: $21,805,493; 
2011: $20,706,510; 
2006-2011: $111,020,058. 

Research, development, test, and evaluation; 
2006: $8,781,001; 
2007: $8,796,566; 
2008: $7,987,672; 
2009: $6,769,268; 
2010: $5,856,200; 
2011: $4,481,740; 
2006-2011: $42,672,447. 

Grand Total; 
2006: $51,216,080; 
2007: $50,985,078; 
2008: $55,489,507; 
2009: $59,201,628; 
2010: $58,482,042; 
2011: $56,244,701; 
2006-2011: $331,619,036. 

Source: DOD's 2007 Future Years Defense Program. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: A Summary of Tactical Aircraft Systems Ongoing and Future 
Efforts: 

This appendix provides more details on new and legacy tactical aircraft 
to expand upon summary information provided in the body of this report. 
We include a brief description of each aircraft's mission, program 
status, and our observations on program execution and outcomes. Where 
applicable, we also highlight recent GAO work on some systems. The 
appendix also includes a funding table for each aircraft that 
consolidates the budget requests in the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense 
Budget, the Fiscal Year 2007 Global War on Terrorism Supplemental, and 
the Fiscal Year 2008 Global War on Terror request. The budget 
information in these tables is expressed in current (then year) dollars 
and the totals may not add exactly because of rounding. The fiscal year 
2007 funding shown in these tables has been appropriated by Congress 
except for the supplemental requests. 

Figure 7: F-22A Raptor: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The F-22A is the Air Force's next generation air superiority fighter 
and incorporates a stealthy and highly maneuverable airframe, advanced 
integrated avionics, and a supercruise engine. It will replace or 
complement the F-15 as the Air Force's primary air-to-air fighter and 
was originally intended to counter threats posed by the Soviet Union. 
The Air Force has decided to add more robust air-to-ground and 
intelligence-gathering capabilities not previously envisioned at 
program start, but now considered necessary to increase its utility. 

Program Status: 

Demonstration and validation began in October 1986 and system 
development in June 1991. Low-rate initial production was approved in 
August 2001 and full-rate production in March 2005. The first 
production aircraft was delivered in June 2003 and, as of October 2006, 
78 aircraft had been delivered to the operational forces. The program 
of record is to acquire a total of 183 aircraft at a total cost of 
$62.6 billion. The Air Force plans to complete procurement in 2010 
under a multiyear contract. 

Initial operational capability was declared in December 2005. In its 
December 2006 annual report, DOD's Director of Operational Test and 
Evaluation has determined that the F-22A is operationally effective in 
the air-to-air mission role and in the air-to-ground mission against 
fixed targets using the Joint Direct Attack Munition. The aircraft is 
not yet operationally suitable due to reliability and maintainability 
deficiencies. Operational users report that the aircraft has performed 
excellently in military exercises against representative threats and 
represents a large advantage over the F-15. 

The Air Force is implementing a modernization and reliability 
improvement program and plans to invest another $6.3 billion to develop 
and integrate more robust ground attack, intelligence-gathering, and 
other new capabilities. Formally established in 2003, the F-22A's 
modernization program is currently being planned for three increments 
of increasing capability to be developed and delivered over time, from 
fiscal year 2007 to 2013. Additional modernization is expected, but the 
content and costs have not been determined or included in projected 
budgets beyond 2013. 

GAO Observations: 

The Air Force's current stated need is for 381 F-22As. However, because 
of past cost overruns and current budget constraints, OSD states that 
183 are all that is needed and affordable. This leaves a 198-aircraft 
gap with the Air Force's stated need. We have reported on F-22A issues 
for many years and have recommended that a new and executable business 
case be prepared that more accurately and realistically supports the 
current program of record and which resolves a capability gap between 
what the Air Force requires and what DOD can afford.[Footnote 13] 
During the more than 20 years the aircraft has been in development, the 
conditions underpinning the original business case substantively 
changed--threat and employment plans changed, costs increased, the 
development period doubled, and new mission requirements were added. 
Without a new relevant business case--on the appropriate number of F- 
22As for our national defense--it is uncertain whether additional 
investments in the modernization program are advisable. 

The Air Force is working with the contractor to fix structural 
deficiencies on the F-22A. Fatigue testing identified cracks in the 
aircraft near the horizontal section tail of the aircraft. The Air 
Force is planning modifications to strengthen the structure to get the 
8,000-hour service life. The Air Force estimates the costs to modify 72 
F-22As will be approximately $124 million. These modifications will not 
be fully implemented until 2010. 

At the start of modernization, all three critical technologies 
essential to achieving capability requirements were considered mature 
by best practice standards. Since that time, however, the program added 
three additional critical technologies, all of which are immature. 
Immature and untested technologies, as the program pushes forward, 
significantly increase the risk of poor cost and schedule outcomes. 

Table 9: F-22A Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget;. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $472.5; 
FY08: $743.6; 
FY09: $666.8; 
FY10: $510.3; 
FY11: $417.3; 
FY12: $512.0; 
FY13: $495.8; 
Total: $3,827.3. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 3,385.4; 
FY08: 3,579.4; 
FY09: 3,673.0; 
FY10: 45.9; 
FY11: 46.9; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 10,730.6. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 145.6; 
FY08: 281.9; 
FY09: 345.6; 
FY10: 337.9; 
FY11: 433.3; 
FY12: 271.4; 
FY13: 291.6; 
Total: 2,107.3. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Total; 
FY07: $4,003.5; 
FY08: $4,604.9; 
FY09: $4,685.4; 
FY10: $894.2; 
FY11: $897.4; 
FY12: $792.4; 
FY13: $787.4; 
Total: $16,665.2. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 8: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF): 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The JSF program goals are to develop and field an affordable, highly 
common family of stealthy, next-generation strike fighter aircraft for 
the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and U.S. allies. The carrier 
suitable variant will provide the Navy a multirole, stealthy strike 
aircraft to complement the F/A-18E/F. The conventional take-off and 
landing variant will primarily be an air-to-ground replacement for the 
Air Force's F-16 and the A-10 aircraft, and will complement the F-22A. 
The short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant will be a multi-
role strike fighter to replace the Marine Corps' F/A-18 and AV-8B 
aircraft. 

Program Status: 

The JSF program is DOD's most costly aircraft acquisition program. DOD 
estimates that the total cost to develop and procure its fleet of 
aircraft will be $276 billion, with total costs to maintain and operate 
the JSF adding another $347 billion over its life cycle. It is also 
DOD's largest cooperative development program. Eight partner countries 
are providing funding for system development and demonstration: 
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and 
the United Kingdom. 

Concept demonstration began in November 1996. The program entered 
system development and demonstration in October 2001 and is expected to 
run through fiscal year 2013. Manufacture and assembly of test aircraft 
is continuing, and first flight of the Air Force's variant occurred in 
December 2006. Overall, the cost estimate to develop the JSF has 
increased from $34.4 billion in 2001 to $44.5 billion in 2005--about 29 
percent. Procurement costs have increased from $196.6 billion in 2001 
to $231.7 billion in 2005--about 18 percent. Since program start, JSF 
quantities have been reduced by 530 aircraft. Current estimated program 
acquisition unit costs are about $112 million, a 38 percent increase 
since 2001. 

GAO Observations: 

We recently issued our third annual report on the JSF 
acquisition.[Footnote 14] The development team has achieved first 
flight and has overcome major design problems found earlier in 
development. However, the current acquisition strategy still reflects 
very significant risk that both development and procurement costs will 
increase and that aircraft will take longer to deliver to the 
warfighter than currently planned. Even as the JSF program enters the 
midpoint of its development, it continues to encounter significant cost 
overruns and schedule delays. As a result of the program reporting a 
Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breach, a new baseline was established in 2004 
with additional costs of $19.4 billion; since then, estimated costs to 
complete the acquisition have increased another $31.6 billion. OSD cost 
analysts are concerned about worsening cost performance and believe the 
cost to complete the program will further escalate. The program has 
also experienced delays in several key events, including the start of 
the flight test program, delivery of the first production 
representative development aircraft, and testing of critical missions 
systems. 

Our past reports have found that the acquisition program is not 
following a knowledge-based evolutionary approach that places it at 
risk of continued poor program outcomes. The degree of concurrency 
between development and production in the JSF's acquisition strategy 
includes significant risks for cost and schedule overruns or late 
delivery of promised capabilities to the warfighter. For example, at 
the time of the low-rate initial production decision, only one aircraft 
will have flown; less than 1 percent of the flight test program will 
have been completed; and none of the three variants will have a 
production representative prototype built. The 7-year flight test 
program of more than 11,000 hours of testing just began in December 
2006. It will not be until 2011 that a fully capable, integrated JSF is 
scheduled to begin flight testing. By that time, DOD expects to have 
committed to buy 103 production aircraft for $20 billion. Therefore, 
almost all of critical flight testing remains to confirm the aircraft 
will indeed deliver the required performance. Manufacturing and 
technical problems can delay the completion of the flight test program, 
may necessitate design changes, increase the number of flight test 
hours needed to verify the system will work as intended, and affect 
when the capabilities are delivered to the warfighter. 

DOD appears to be taking some actions to lessen funding risk--the 
ability to sustain funding in times of austere budgets or against 
competing priorities. DOD's plan in 2006 assumed extremely high annual 
funding rates averaging $14 billion between 2012 and 2023. This is an 
extremely large annual funding commitment that carries a 
correspondingly high level of funding risk as the program moves forward 
and must annually compete with other programs for the defense dollar. 
Due to affordability pressures, DOD is beginning to reduce procurement 
budgets and annual quantities. The recently released fiscal year 2008 
defense budget shows declining procurement quantities for the first 
years of production. To meet future constrained acquisition budgets, 
Air Force and Navy officials and planning documents suggest a decrease 
in maximum annual buy quantities from 160 shown in the current program 
of record to about 115 per year, a 28 percent decrease. While this will 
reduce annual funding requirements, it will also stretch the 
procurement program at least seven years to 2034, assuming buy 
quantities are deferred rather than eliminated. 

Table 10: Navy JSF Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $2,163.9; 
FY08: $1,707.4; 
FY09: $1,548.9; 
FY10: $1,045.3; 
FY11: $1,065.9; 
FY12: $745.6; 
FY13: $663.7; 
Total: $8,940.7. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 124.5; 
FY08: 1,317.1; 
FY09: 1,809.0; 
FY10: 3,608.0; 
FY11: 3,422.7; 
FY12: 5,675.7; 
FY13: 5,647.2; 
Total: 21,604.2. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Total; 
FY07: $2,288.4; 
FY08: $3,024.5; 
FY09: $3,357.9; 
FY10: $4,653.2; 
FY11: $4,488.6; 
FY12: $6,421.2; 
FY13: $6,311.0; 
Total: $30,544.9. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Table 11: Air Force JSF Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $2,132.9; 
FY08: $1,780.9; 
FY09: $1,541.2; 
FY10: $1,146.0; 
FY11: $789.1; 
FY12: $975.2; 
FY13: $734.9; 
Total: $9,100.1. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 648.5; 
FY08: 1,461.7; 
FY09: 1,906.3; 
FY10: 2,457.3; 
FY11: 3,544.1; 
FY12: 4,914.1; 
FY13: 5,222.6; 
Total: 20,154.6. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: [Empty]. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 389.0; 
FY08: 230.0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: [Empty]. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: [Empty]. 

Total; 
FY07: $3,170.4; 
FY08: $3,472.6; 
FY09: $3,447.5; 
FY10: $3,603.3; 
FY11: $4,333.2; 
FY12: $5,889.3; 
FY13: $5,957.5; 
Total: $29,873.7. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 9: F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program was approved as a major modification 
in the F-18 series in May 1992. It is a twin engine, single-and two- 
seat, multi-mission tactical aircraft designed to perform fighter 
escort, interdiction, fleet air defense, and close air support 
missions. The F/A-18E/F is replacing the F/A-18A/B/C, has improved 
range and payload, and is less detectable. In addition to the 
procurement quantity of 462 E/F aircraft, the Navy is also procuring 84-
90 airframes for the EA-18G program (total acquisition up to 552 
aircraft). 

Program Status: 

Development began in 1992, procurement in 1996, and initial operational 
capability was declared in September 2001. Through fiscal year 2006, 
the Navy has taken delivery of 272 aircraft and has 210 aircraft on a 5-
year multiyear contract.[Footnote 15] The Navy has received an 
unsolicited draft proposal for a third multiyear contract that would 
complete the planned program. Navy officials believe this could reduce 
unit costs, but told us to be effective the contract would need a 
quantity higher than the 70 aircraft remaining to be bought. This would 
seemingly require an increase in Navy buys or the addition of potential 
foreign military sales.[Footnote 16] 

Super Hornet aircraft have flown over 340,000 hours by the end of 
December 2006 and have been employed in combat operations. The Navy 
originally planned to buy 1,000 aircraft, but the quantity was reduced 
to 548 by the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review, expecting to transition 
more quickly to the JSF, but with provisions for additional procurement 
if the JSF is delayed. In 2003, the quantity was further reduced to 462 
when a study showed closer integration of Navy and Marine Corps 
aviation fleets would provide greater efficiency for common assets. 

GAO Observations: 

The F/A-18E/F acquisition program is mature and has had relatively good 
procurement cost and schedule outcomes. One substantive reason for good 
outcomes is the low risk, evolutionary acquisition strategy adopted. 
The E/F variant is part of the F/A-18's family of aircraft that has 
gradually upgraded capabilities since delivery of the original F-18 in 
the late 1970s. It has substantial commonality with its predecessor C/ 
D models and leveraged previous technologies. For example, the initial 
release of the E/F models incorporated the avionics suite from the C/D 
models with provisions for upgrades to occur subsequent to the basic 
air vehicle development. Planned upgrades to the F/A-18E/F continue to 
incrementally add capabilities. Current production is phasing in block 
upgrades including the active electronically scanned array radar, 
advanced crew station, network-centric operation, and time-critical 
strike modifications. Navy program officials cited that, for the past 
three years, full rate production aircraft have been consistently 
delivered up to 3 months ahead of schedule, that the program is mature, 
and its current costs remain well-defined and within targets. 

While platform production and fielding has been successful, the 
December 2006 report of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation 
identified ongoing tests and deficiencies in several of the aircraft's 
major systems, including radar, defensive countermeasures, and weapons. 
The report states it is paramount that all systems interoperate 
properly in order to allow for optimal operational effectiveness and 
suitability. 

The program has reported two Nunn-McCurdy (10 U.S.C. 2433) breaches in 
unit cost since 1999, but these are attributable more to external 
factors than to system development, production, or management problems. 
The first breach occurred in 1999 when the procurement quantity was 
significantly reduced by the QDR. The second breach occurred in 2005 
when the quantity was again reduced. Also, the OSD Comptroller decided 
to break out program reporting for the EA-18G aircraft separate from 
the E/F models. In doing so, common support costs for both programs 
were budgeted in the E/F program. 

Prior to this review, we last reported on the E/F program specifically 
in our 2003 annual weapon systems' assessment.[Footnote 17] At that 
time program officials noted that the aircraft demonstrated two to 
three times the quality of the F/A-18C/D and have provided measurable 
improvements to squadron readiness. In addition, all F/A-18E/F 
preplanned upgrades continued to track to their program schedules. 
Program officials also stated that the active electronically scanned 
array radar program continues to execute as planned, and the program 
received the first engineering and manufacturing development unit in 
2003. 

Table 12: F/A-18 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $39.3; 
FY08: $44.9; 
FY09: $66.3; 
FY10: $66.3; 
FY11: $61.0; 
FY12: $52.1; 
FY13: $35.4; 
Total: $365.3. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 2,560.7; 
FY08: 2,135.4; 
FY09: 1,780.5; 
FY10: 1,986.0; 
FY11: 1,708.1; 
FY12: 1,604.7; 
FY13: 201.2; 
Total: 11,976.6. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 424.7; 
FY08: 441.9; 
FY09: 460.2; 
FY10: 480.4; 
FY11: 510.6; 
FY12: 521.9; 
FY13: 529.6; 
Total: 3,369.3. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 1.5; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 1.5. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 16.0; 
FY08: 725.7; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 741.7. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 96.8; 
FY08: 60.8; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 157.1. 

Total; 
FY07: $3,137.4; 
FY08: $3,409.7; 
FY09: $2,307.0; 
FY10: $2,532.7; 
FY11: $2,279.7; 
FY12: $2,178.7; 
FY13: $766.3; 
Total: $16,611.5. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

Note: This table includes all F/A-18 series budget data as the Navy 
consolidates investment funding for all models. Procurement funds 
requested are for the purchase of the new F/A-18E/F, while RDT&E and 
modification funds include amounts for both new and legacy F/A-18A/B/C/ 
D aircraft. 

[End of table] 

Figure 10: EA-18G Growler: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The EA-18G is the replacement for the Navy's EA-6B Prowler and will 
provide carrier strike forces with electronic attack and tactical 
jamming capabilities to defeat enemy air defenses and to protect strike 
fighters and the carrier group. Derived from the combat proven F/A-18F 
aircraft, the EA-18G incorporates advanced airborne electronic attack 
avionics for the suppression of enemy air defenses, including accurate 
emitter targeting for employment of onboard weapons such as the High- 
Speed Anti-Radiation Missile. 

Program Status: 

The two-seater EA-18G airframe is about 90 percent common with the F/A- 
18F airframe and is procured under the same multiyear contract. The two 
models diverge at a point in the production line and airframes destined 
to be Growlers receive the electronic attack subsystems. System 
demonstration and design was about 70 percent complete by October 2006. 
Two test articles were delivered in 2006 and first flight was in August 
2006. The low-rate initial production decision is scheduled for late 
April 2007 and initial operational capability is planned for the last 
quarter in 2009. 

The Navy is proposing to reduce the total quantity of EA-18Gs from 90 
to 84. The reduction is a result of re-evaluating inventory 
requirements in association with the Navy's fiscal year 2008 budget and 
the application of tiered readiness, as well as a reduction of four 
aircraft from the first low-rate production buy. The Navy expects to 
receive its first EA-18G in 2009. 

GAO Observations: 

We reported in 2006 on the EA-18G's acquisition schedule for 
integrating the electronic attack subsystems.[Footnote 18] Our analysis 
showed that the program was not fully following the knowledge-based 
approach espoused in best practices and DOD's acquisition guidance, 
thus increasing the risk of cost growth, schedule delays, and 
performance problems. None of its five critical technologies were fully 
mature when system development started, and, at the time of our review, 
flight testing hadn't begun. The Navy proposed buying one-third of the 
total quantity as low-rate initial quantity aircraft based on limited 
demonstrated functionality. We recommended DOD consider outfitting 
additional EA-6Bs with the improved electronic suite for an interim 
capability, which would allow the restructuring of EA-18G production 
plans to begin procurement after full functionality was demonstrated. 

This year, our follow on review as part of our annual assessments of 
major weapon systems determined that progress has been made but that 
three of the five critical technologies are still not fully mature to 
best practices standards with production slated to start in 
2007.[Footnote 19] Flight testing is underway and, until full 
functionality is demonstrated, there are risks of redesign and 
retrofit. Fifty-six aircraft are already on the F-18 multiyear 
contract, most procured as low-rate initial production aircraft based 
on limited demonstrated functionality. A fully functioning Growler, one 
that meets or exceeds the upgraded EA-6B capability, will not complete 
operational testing until January 2009, 20 months after production 
starts and after more than one-third of the total fleet has already 
been bought. 

Navy officials agree that EA-18G's schedule is aggressive, but 
disagreed with our overall assessment of the EA-18G. Officials reported 
that the program has been stable since its schedule was developed in 
2003 and is meeting or exceeding all cost, schedule and performance 
parameters. Furthermore, officials stated that some technologies are 
evolutionary upgrades of systems previously tested on its EA-6B 
aircraft with demonstrated effectiveness. We note, however, that these 
technologies are in new environments with form and fit challenges, 
including space constraints, which could impact performance and 
ultimate design. The December 2006 annual report from the Director of 
Operational Test and Evaluation stated that the schedule remains 
aggressive with plans to fully assess risk areas to achieve initial 
operational capability in fiscal year 2009. The Director reported that 
the primary risks include the integration of multiple components of the 
electronic attack system onto the F/A-18E/F platform and the operator 
workload for the two-man crew in missions currently performed by the 
four-person EA-6B aircraft. 

Table 13: EA-18G Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $372.1; 
FY08: $272.7; 
FY09: $135.2; 
FY10: $72.3; 
FY11: $45.2; 
FY12: $36.7; 
FY13: $28.3; 
Total: $962.5. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 669.8; 
FY08: 1,427.6; 
FY09: 1,652.7; 
FY10: 1,352.9; 
FY11: 707.9; 
FY12: 242.6; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 6,053.5. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 450.0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 450.0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Total; 
FY07: $1,492.0; 
FY08: $1,700.3; 
FY09: $1,788.0; 
FY10: $1,425.1; 
FY11: $753.1; 
FY12: $279.3; 
FY13: $28.3; 
Total: $7,466.1. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 11: A-10 Warthog: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The A-10 was the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close 
air support of ground forces. It is a simple, effective and survivable 
twin-engine jet used against all ground targets, including tanks. 
Officials cite exceptional combat results during Desert Storm and the 
Global War on Terror. Some aircraft are specially equipped for airborne 
forward air control. 

Program Status: 

Because of the A-10's relevant combat capabilities--demonstrated first 
during Desert Storm and recently in the Global War on Terror--the Air 
Force now plans to keep it in the inventory longer than anticipated. 
How long and with what upgrades is also dependent on whether the JSF 
aircraft are delivered on schedule. The Air Force is pursuing several 
major modifications to upgrade systems and structures on the A-10 
fleet. A major re-winging effort is planned for 2007 through 2016 that 
will replace the "thin skin" wings on 242 aircraft at an estimated cost 
of $1.3 billion. This effort will help to extend the A-10's service 
life to 16,000 hours. Precision Engagement modernizes cockpit controls 
and upgrade avionics and weapons. All 356 aircraft in the force are 
slated to receive the Precision Engagement suite. Total cost to 
complete the modification is estimated to be $420 million. 

GAO Observations: 

Significant investments are underway and others planned or proposed to 
modernize 356 A-10s and to extend service life from 8,000 to 16,000 
flying hours in order to achieve the goal of keeping the aircraft in 
service until 2025 or later. However, because of post-Cold War plans to 
retire the aircraft starting in the early 1990s, the A-10 fleet 
received no money for major modifications or programmed depot 
maintenance during the 1990s. As a result, the Air Force is now faced 
with a very large backlog of maintenance, structural repairs, and 
extensive modifications to modernize the A-10 fleet and keep it viable. 
Officials have begun major upgrades to modernize the cockpit and major 
subsystems and to replace the wings on most of the fleet. Officials are 
also finding that as older aircraft are inspected and opened up for 
modification, additional and more costly structural and sustainment 
work is being identified beyond initial plans. 

Even with the higher priority accorded the aircraft, program officials 
identify at least another $2.7 billion in unfunded 
requirements.[Footnote 20] Chief among these are an engine upgrade 
program estimated at $2.1 billion. It is intended to provide the A-10 
with significantly improved engine capabilities. However, the proposal 
was deferred by the requiring command because of limited funding and 
higher warfighter priorities. The Air Force's Fleet Viability Board, 
which assesses aging aircraft fleets and recommends to the Secretary 
and Chief of Staff of the Air Force whether aircraft should be retired 
or continued in service, recently determined that the A-10 is still 
viable and validated many of the modifications and repairs already 
underway. The Board recommended funding this engine upgrade in order to 
extend the A-10's service life until 2030. The Board's assessment 
identified mission limitations due to insufficient thrust to maximize 
survivability in the current threat environment with existing engines. 
Although agreeing that the engine upgrade would be desirable if funds 
were available, the requiring command continues to defer this program 
as a lower priority. We note that the Air Force has requested 
development funding of $230 million for the engine upgrade program in 
the 2008 supplemental request. 

Table 14: A-10 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget;. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $31.9; 
FY08: $2.0; 
FY09: $0; 
FY10: $3.0; 
FY11: $0; 
FY12: $0; 
FY13: $0; 
Total: $36.9. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 106.9; 
FY08: 161.7; 
FY09: 145.6; 
FY10: 306.0; 
FY11: 274.5; 
FY12: 268.9; 
FY13: 268.9; 
Total: 1,532.5. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 10.0; 
FY08: 230.0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 240.0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 217.4; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 217.4. 

Total; 
FY07: $366.2; 
FY08: $393.7; 
FY09: 145.6; 
FY10: 309.0; 
FY11: $274.5; 
FY12: $268.9; 
FY13: $268.9; 
Total: $2,026.8. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 12: F-15A/B/C/D Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The F-15A/B/C/D Eagle is a single-and two-seat, twin-engine, all- 
weather tactical fighter designed to gain and maintain air supremacy 
over the battlefield. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a two-seater dual-role 
fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. An 
array of avionics and electronics systems gives the F-15E the 
capability to strike targets at low altitude, day or night, and in all 
weather. 

Program Status: 

The Air Force has a number of ongoing improvement efforts for the F-15 
fleet, including: 

* helmet mounted cueing system, 

* a new identification friend-or-foe system, 

* various computer upgrades, and: 

* new radar for the F-15E: 

The Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System is planned for several DOD 
systems and provides pilots the capability to aim weapons and sensors 
by looking at the intended target. The new friend-or-foe identification 
system will solve obsolescence issues, add capability, and be 
upgradeable for the future. Computer upgrades also resolve obsolescence 
issues, enhance on-board computers, and improve avionics performance. 
The F-15E model will receive the improved active electronically scanned 
array radar. 

GAO Observations: 

For years, modernization efforts and funding for the F-15C/D aircraft 
had been concentrated on about half the fleet--178 aircraft of its 
total inventory of 391. These were the number of aircraft the Air Force 
projected was needed to provide sufficient force structure to meet 
defense requirements and to complement the F-22A. That projected number 
was predicated upon the Air Force receiving its full F-22A stated 
requirement of 381 aircraft. However, due to affordability, the Air 
Force now faces a 198 aircraft shortfall in the quantity of F-22As it 
is slated to receive. As a result, officials expect more F-15C/Ds need 
to be modernized and retained for longer periods than planned. 
Originally planned for retirement by 2015, the Air Force now needs to 
keep substantial numbers of F-15C/D aircraft operational to 2025 and 
perhaps beyond. 

A multi-staged improvement program for the 178 aircraft, including 
recent upgrades of the engines and radar, is mostly complete. Officials 
identified near-term unfunded requirements on these aircraft totaling 
$2.3 billion, including new radars and countermeasure sets. In 
addition, potential service life extension efforts on the fleet and 
backlogged unfunded requirements to modernize aircraft in addition to 
the 178 may be needed but the full costs have not been identified. 

The Air Force also plans to keep 224 F-15Es in service beyond 2025. 
These are the newest F-15s with enhanced strike capabilities. The major 
upcoming upgrade effort on the F-15E is a radar modernization program 
to add active electronically scanned array radar. Estimated to cost 
$2.3 billion, the Air Force has delayed funding for this effort and now 
plans to start procurement in 2010. Program officials identified 
unfunded requirements totaling about $1.7 billion, including upgraded 
radar warning receivers, helmet mounted cueing system, and long-term 
sustainment efforts to address electrical, structural, and power plant 
concerns to keep the aircraft viable for another 25 or more years. 

Table 15: F-15 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $137.5; 
FY08: $101.3; 
FY09: $186.4; 
FY10: $165.6; 
FY11: $120.0; 
FY12: $120.8; 
FY13: $123.2; 
Total: $954.8. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 164.3; 
FY08: 19.2; 
FY09: 58.2; 
FY10: 256.6; 
FY11: 336.6; 
FY12: 287.2; 
FY13: 148.5; 
Total: 1,270.6. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 97.5; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 97.5. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 192.0; 
FY08: 152.9; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 344.9. 

Total; 
FY07: $493.8; 
FY08: $370.9; 
FY09: $244.6; 
FY10: $422.2; 
FY11: $456.6; 
FY12: $408.0; 
FY13: $271.7; 
Total: $2,667.8. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 13: F-16 Fighting Falcon: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single engine multi-role fighter with 
full air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capability. It provides a 
relatively low cost, high-performance weapon system for the United 
States and allied nations. The F-16 currently comprises more than half 
of the Air Force's fighter force. The fleet includes several different 
configurations or blocks. The newest blocks incorporate the high-speed 
anti-radiation missile targeting system, the Air Force's only platform 
specifically for the suppression of enemy air defenses. 

Program Status: 

The Air Force is not currently purchasing any new F-16's, but the 
contractor is still producing them for foreign sale. The production is 
slated to continue past 2009 to accommodate recent sales. If the Air 
Force were to buy new aircraft, officials estimated that it would cost 
$380 million for development and about $50 million per aircraft 
procured. 

The Air Force has a number of ongoing improvement efforts for the F-16, 
including: 

* structural airframe modifications, 

* avionics and capabilities upgrades, 

* engine service life extension program, and: 

* new engines for some F-16 models. 

Falcon STAR is an effort to modify the airframe to allow the F-16 to 
reach the original 8,000 hours estimated for its flight life. Due to 
increased workload and weight that exceed the original specifications 
of the aircraft, the F-16 must be structurally modified to compensate 
for the increases. A number of common avionics and capabilities 
upgrades are necessary to provide increased processor speed and 
memories, color displays, and incorporate the Joint Helmet Mounted 
Cueing System. The F110 engine service life extension program addresses 
safety, reliability and maintainability concerns and new engines for 
the Block 42 aircraft will provide needed thrust improvements. 

GAO Observations: 

With over 1,300 aircraft, the F-16 fleet comprises more than one-half 
the Air Force's fighter and attack forces. The fleet includes several 
different configurations that were acquired and upgraded in 
evolutionary fashion over a considerable period of time. Reduced annual 
buy quantities on the JSF and deferred deliveries to the warfighter 
means that F-16s slated to be replaced by the JSF and retired will need 
to remain operable and relevant for additional years. Already investing 
several billions of dollars to keep the fleet operable, improve 
capabilities, and sustain it to meet its original expected service 
life, a preliminary unfunded cost estimate to increase the life 
expectancy of the newer fighters is $4.5 billion. 

Without improvements, almost 90 percent of the fleet would exceed 
design limits on engines by 2010. High usage, increased stresses, and 
more weight than planned threatened to cut life expectancy in half. 
Significant unknowns exist about extending the life beyond 8,000 hours 
should that be necessary. This makes any additional JSF schedule 
delays, deferrals, and cost growth very problematic for the overall Air 
Force fighter structure. 

If it becomes necessary to enable the newest F-16 aircraft to reach a 
10,000 flying hour life, a program official estimated an additional 
cost of $2.2 billion for structural enhancements. The program office 
also identified another $3.2 billion in unfunded requirements, 
including radar upgrades to aircraft capable of suppressing enemy air 
defenses. The oldest F-16s are to be retired over the next few years, 
and the Air Force has halted modifications and funding for these 
aircraft. 

Table 16: F-16 Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $152.0; 
FY08: $90.6; 
FY09: $113.8; 
FY10: $117.6; 
FY11: $108.6; 
FY12: $110.7; 
FY13: $112.9; 
Total: $806.2. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 366.4; 
FY08: 329.3; 
FY09: 292.4; 
FY10: 234.4; 
FY11: 202.6; 
FY12: 72.3; 
FY13: 41.2; 
Total: 1,538.6. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 55.3; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 55.3. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Total; 
FY07: $518.4; 
FY08: $475.2; 
FY09: $406.2; 
FY10: $352.0; 
FY11: $311.2; 
FY12: $183.0; 
FY13: $154.1; 
Total: $2,400.1. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 14: F-117A Nighthawk: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The F-117A Nighthawk is the world's first operational aircraft designed 
to exploit low observable stealth technology. This precision strike 
aircraft penetrates high-threat airspace and uses laser-guided weapons 
against critical targets. 

Program Status: 

As part of its transformation plans, the Air Force proposed retiring 
the F-117A aircraft in 2007 and 2008, stating that there are other more 
capable assets that can provide low observable, precision penetrating 
weapons capability. Program Budget Decision 720, dated December 2005, 
directed the Air Force to develop a strategy to gain congressional 
support for this plan. Congress has agreed, with certain limitations, 
mandating that the Air Force retire F-117As in "pristine" storage in 
case the aircraft would need to be recalled into service. 

GAO Observations: 

Program officials estimate that the drawdown of the fleet and the 
shutdown of government and contractor offices and facilities would cost 
approximately $283 million. However, there is currently no funding 
allocated for these retirement costs of the F-117A. This cost does not 
include long-term storage and maintenance of the fleet after such a 
retirement. 

Table 17: F-117A Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $14.0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: $14.0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 2.0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 2.0. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: [Empty]; 
FY08: [Empty]; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: [Empty]; 
FY08: [Empty]; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: [Empty]; 
FY08: [Empty]; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Total; 
FY07: $16.0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: $16.0. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 15: F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The F/A-18A/B/C/D is an all-weather fighter and attack aircraft also 
known as the Hornet. It is a single-and two-seat, twin engine, multi- 
mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft 
carriers or land bases. The F/A-18 fills a variety of roles: air 
superiority, fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, 
reconnaissance, forward air control, close and deep air support, and 
day and night strike missions. 

Program Status: 

The major modification effort ongoing is the Center Barrel Replacement 
to eliminate structural limitations caused by cracking in the central 
fuselage. This effort is expected to cost about $970 million. During 
scheduled inspections of the aircraft, the Navy also identified cracks 
in the wing structure in about 40 percent of the aircraft. These could 
cause safety of flight issues in the future but are not thought to be 
serious enough at this time to ground the aircraft or to require 
immediate repair. 

GAO Observations: 

The F/A-18s are the backbone of the naval tactical aircraft fleet, but 
are quickly running out of service life. The Navy plans to soon retire 
the A and B models, and the Marine Corps plans to transition entirely 
to the JSF for its future strike force. The Navy's modernization 
efforts are focused on the remaining 421 F/A-18C/D aircraft. The Navy 
has an ongoing assessment of the service life of this aircraft that is 
expected to be completed in December 2007. At this time, it is not 
clear as to the need for or extent of future modifications, but a Naval 
Air Systems Command official said the assessment could very well 
identify additional modifications and structural work required beyond 
what is funded. Further delays in JSF could exacerbate funding 
shortfalls to sustain and modernize the operational fleet. 

While the F/A-18C/D legacy aircraft are currently meeting both the 
Navy's and Marine Corps's force structure requirements and readiness 
levels, inventory reductions though the Navy-Marine Corps tactical 
aircraft integration plan, JSF delays, and better defined structural 
limits of the F/A-18C/D have created a shortfall starting in 2011 in 
the number of aircraft that Navy officials project as needed to support 
its war-fighting plans. One option the Navy is considering would be the 
purchase of additional F/A-18E/F models to resolve this shortage. 

Another option under consideration is extending the life of its F/A- 
18C/D fleets to mitigate projected shortfalls. The full cost of the 
life extension program is not known at this time. The service life 
assessment effort to be completed in December 2007 will determine the 
feasibility, scope of work, and total costs for extending the life of 
the system. Current estimate for extending service life, including the 
costs of the assessment, is about $2 billion, but officials said that 
number could very well increase substantially as the assessment 
progresses and cost estimates mature. 

Concerned over the looming gap in the Navy's inventory, in May 2006, 
the Senate Committee on Armed Services recommended that the Navy 
consider buying more F/A-18E/Fs to mitigate any possible shortfall in 
aircraft until JSF aircraft are delivered. 

Note: Budget information for the F/A-18A/B/C/D is included earlier in 
this appendix with the discussion of the F/A-18E/F (see table 12, p. 
50). The Navy consolidates investment budgets for all models of the F- 
18. 

Figure 16: EA-6B Prowler: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The primary mission of the EA-6B Prowler is the suppression of enemy 
air defenses in support of strike aircraft and ground troops by 
interrupting enemy electronic activity and obtaining tactical 
electronic intelligence within the combat area. The Prowler is a long- 
range, all-weather aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures 
capability, and enhances combat survivability of strike force aircraft 
and weapons by denying, delaying, and degrading the acquisition of 
friendly forces by enemy air defense systems. Both the Navy and Marines 
maintain Prowler assets. 

Program Status: 

In 1995, the EA-6B was selected to become the sole tactical radar 
support jammer for all services after the Air Force decided to retire 
its fleet of EF-111 aircraft. This decision resulted in increased use 
of the EA-6B, as the Prowler provided airborne electronic attack 
capability during numerous joint and allied operations since 1995. The 
Navy plans to start retiring its EA-6B in 2008 and replace it with the 
EA-18G as its core airborne electronic attack component. The Marine 
Corps had expected to retire their EA-6B assets in 2015, but that could 
change as future plans for its replacement are still evolving. 

Three significant upgrades to the EA-6B are: 

* the Improved Capability electronic suite modification (ICAP III), 
which provides the EA-6B with greater jamming capability; 

* an upgrade to the aircraft's current electronic pods, which improves 
frequency band capability; and: 

* replacement of the wing center sections of the entire fleet and outer 
wing panel replacement on portions of the fleet. 

The ICAP-III modification includes the addition of software to allow 
the EA-6B to automatically pinpoint enemy signals and better receive 
and utilize data. Aircraft not receiving ICAP III are having the 
current electronic attack systems upgraded. Funding to replace the wing 
center sections was added by Congress. To date, 114 wings have been 
procured and 100 have been installed on aircraft. In addition forty- 
seven EA-6Bs are also in need of an outer wing panel replacement; Navy 
officials said that the first four pairs have already been delivered, 
and procurement will be ramped to 18 sets per year in order to receive 
deliveries through 2008. 

GAO Observations: 

In 2006 GAO reported[Footnote 21] that, as a result of DOD's decision 
to move to an electronic attack system of systems, the EA-6B would be 
able to meet the defense suppression needs of the Navy until 2017 and 
those of the Marine Corps until 2025 if the aircraft were fitted with 
the ICAP-III electronic suite upgrade. Because the EA-18G's five 
critical technologies were not fully mature and posed a costly risk for 
design changes, GAO recommended that DOD consider outfitting additional 
EA-6Bs with the ICAP III suite, which would allow the Navy to slow EA- 
18G low rate production until its technologies become fully mature and 
functionality demonstrated. 

The Navy and Marine Corps operate the EA-6B, which provides electronic 
attack support DOD-wide at this time. The EA-6B has been upgraded over 
time to increase its reactive jamming capability. The most important on-
going effort to the EA-6B is the ICAP-III electronic suite 
modification, which provides more rapid emitter detection, selective 
reactive jamming, and expanded coverage. The Navy has two squadrons 
currently deployed with ICAP-III and plans to equip a total of 15 of 
its EA-6Bs with the ICAP-III suite. The Navy plans to start 
decommissioning the EA-6B from its fleet starting in 2008 and retire 
all aircraft by 2013, replacing them with the new EA-18G that will 
provide electronic attack support to its carrier strike forces. 

The Navy will start transferring aircraft to the Marine Corps in fiscal 
year 2010 and complete transfers in 2013 with delivery of the ICAP III 
aircraft. The Marines Corps planned to retire its EA-6Bs by 2015, but 
officials said plans could change depending on the transfer schedule 
and that they may need to keep these aircraft in the inventory longer 
depending on the JSF delivery schedule. The Marine Corps has not yet 
made firm plans for its future electronic attack capability and is 
considering employment of the JSF and unmanned aircraft systems. We 
note that the Marine Corps has requested a total of $379 million in the 
fiscal year 2007 and 2008 global war on terror requests to upgrade an 
additional 18 EA-6Bs with the ICAP-III suite and for other 
modernization enhancements. 

Table 18: EA-6B Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $0; 
FY08: $0; 
FY09: $0; 
FY10: $0; 
FY11: $0; 
FY12: $0; 
FY13: $0; 
Total: $0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: 0; 
FY10: 0; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 48.8; 
FY08: 30.6; 
FY09: 33.7; 
FY10: 32.8; 
FY11: 33.3; 
FY12: 37.5; 
FY13: 38.1; 
Total: 254.8. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: [Empty]; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: [Empty]; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 178.6; 
FY08: 200.7; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 379.3. 

Total; 
FY07: $227.4; 
FY08: $231.3; 
FY09: $33.7; 
FY10: $32.8; 
FY11: $33.3; 
FY12: $37.5; 
FY13: $38.1; 
Total: $634.1. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

Figure 17: AV-8B Harrier II: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

[End of figure] 

Mission: 

The AV-8B Harrier II is a short field take-off and vertical landing 
(STOVL) jet aircraft that deploys from naval ships, advanced bases, and 
expeditionary airfields. Its mission is to attack and destroy surface 
targets and escort friendly aircraft, day or night, under all weather 
conditions during expeditionary, joint or combined operations. The 
Harrier is responsible for conducting close air support, armed 
reconnaissance and air interdiction, offensive and defensive anti-air 
warfare, including combat air patrol, armed escort mission, and 
offensive missions against enemy ground-to-air defenses. The first 
Harrier squadron is expected to be replaced by the JSF starting in 
fiscal year 2011. 

Program Status: 

The AV-8B, a more powerful and longer range model, than its predecessor 
the AV-8A, was introduced in 1985. The AV-8Bs were originally designed 
as day attack only aircraft, but some were later upgraded to add night 
attack and radar capabilities. The night attack and radar upgrades 
enhance the pilot's ability to locate and destroy targets under various 
weather conditions and at night. Some of the AV-8Bs received an upgrade 
to enhance night attack with improved multimode radar in 1991-1992. 
Between 1994 and 2001, the majority of AV-8Bs were remanufactured with 
new fuselages to add structural life to the airframe and to accommodate 
the new radar upgrade. 

Currently there are several on-going efforts to add capabilities and 
improve sustainment for the AV-8B until replaced by the JSF, including: 

* remanufacturing 5 old, day attack aircraft to receive the night 
attack capability and refurbishing 2 training aircraft; 

* using a more accurate method to track the useful life of the 
aircraft; and: 

* continuing efforts to improve sustainment through a readiness 
management plan for the airframes and an engine life management plan. 

The AV-8B was originally designed to last for 6,000 flying hours. This 
estimate was based on engineering fatigue projections on a 20 year 
service life, flying 300 hours per year, on very rigorous mission 
profiles. However, the aircraft have typically not been flown in such 
stressful flight envelopes and the Marines estimate they will be able 
to exceed the original 6,000 hour service life and maintain an 
additional 66 aircraft in service through 2015. In addition, the Marine 
Corps plans a set of modifications, largely unfunded, that would add 
important capabilities by 2012 or later to enable the Harriers to be 
more effective in future threat environments. 

GAO Observations: 

The AV-8 aircraft was DOD's first STOVL system. The aircraft is costly 
to maintain and has a relatively high attrition rate. The Marine Corps 
has 134 AV-8Bs in its current fleet and plans to replace them all with 
STOVL JSFs by 2025. The new fuselages increased the estimated service 
for the AV-8Bs from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours. Further, the AV-8Bs 
have not been used as vigorously as mission profiles used to project 
its useful life and officials believe that the fleet can remain in 
inventory well beyond the expected delivery dates of the JSF, if 
necessary. 

Ongoing and planned modernization efforts are minimal. The Marines are 
upgrading five AV-8Bs that did not get previous upgrades so that they 
will now have the night attack capability, and refurbishing two 
training aircraft In fiscal year 2007, the Marine Corps began repairs 
on four aircraft damaged during combat operations using supplemental 
funding. As another step to mitigate potential slips in JSF production, 
officials are also increasing the amount of depot level maintenance on 
the AV-8B fleets to ensure sufficient numbers are available and 
capable. The Harrier is scheduled to remain in service until at least 
2021, but its retirement is dependent upon the delivery of the JSF. 

Table 19: AV-8B Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Budget (in millions of 
dollars): 

FY 2008 Budget. 

RTD&E; 
FY07: $21.7; 
FY08: $17.4; 
FY09: $26.3; 
FY10: $14.8; 
FY11: $12.5; 
FY12: $12.7; 
FY13: $12.9; 
Total: $118.1. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 3.0; 
FY09: 3.4; 
FY10: 3.4; 
FY11: 0; 
FY12: 0; 
FY13: 0; 
Total: 9.9. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 57.5; 
FY08: 37.5; 
FY09: 51.7; 
FY10: 37.3; 
FY11: 29.2; 
FY12: 23.0; 
FY13: 22.6; 
Total: 258.8. 

Supplemental. 

RDT&E; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 6.4; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 6.4. 

Procurement; 
FY07: 0; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 0. 

Modifications; 
FY07: 9.9; 
FY08: 0; 
FY09: [Empty]; 
FY10: [Empty]; 
FY11: [Empty]; 
FY12: [Empty]; 
FY13: [Empty]; 
Total: 9.9. 

Total; 
FY07: $89.9; 
FY08: $64.3; 
FY09: $81.4; 
FY10: $55.5; 
FY11: $41.7; 
FY12: $35.7; 
FY13: $35.5; 
Total: $403.1. 

Source: DOD budget data. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix V: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgements: 

GAO Contact: 

Michael J. Sullivan (202) 512-4841: 

Acknowledgments: 

Principal contributors to this report were the Assistant Director 
Michael Hazard, Bruce Fairbairn, Marvin Bonner, Erin Clouse, Matthew 
Lea, Sara Margraf, Robert Miller, and Karen Sloan. 

[End of section] 

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Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. GAO-07- 
406SP. Washington D.C.: March 30, 2007. 

Best Practices: An Integrated Portfolio Management Approach to Weapon 
System Investments Could Improve DOD's Acquisition Outcomes. GAO-07- 
388. Washington, D.C.: March 30, 2007. 

Defense Acquisitions: Analysis of Costs for the Joint Strike Fighter 
Engine Program. GAO-07-656T. Washington, D.C.: March 22, 2007. 

Joint Strike Fighter: Progress Made and Challenges Remain. GAO-07-360. 
Washington, D.C.: March 15, 2007. 

Tactical Aircraft: DOD Should Present a New F-22A Business Case before 
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2006. 

Electronic Warfare: Option of Upgrading Additional EA-6Bs Could Reduce 
Risk in Development of EA-18G. GAO-06-446. Washington, D.C.: April 26, 
2006. 

Defense Acquisitions: Actions Needed to Get Better Results on Weapon 
Systems Investments. GAO-06-585T. Washington, D.C.: April 5, 2006. 

Tactical Aircraft: Recapitalization Goals Are Not Supported by 
Knowledge-Based F-22A and JSF Business Cases. GAO-06-487T. Washington, 
D.C.: March 16, 2006. 

Systems Acquisition: Major Weapon Systems Continue to Experience Cost 
and Schedule Problems under DOD's Revised Policy. GAO-06-368. 
Washington, D.C.: April 13, 2006. 

Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Major Weapon Programs. 
GAO-06-391. Washington D.C.: March 31, 2006. 

Joint Strike Fighter: DOD Plans to Enter Production before Testing 
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15, 2006. 

Defense Acquisitions: Business Case and Business Arrangements Key for 
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2006. 

Defense Acquisitions: DOD Management Approach and Processes Not Well- 
Suited to Support Development of Global Information Grid. GAO-06-211. 
Washington D.C.: January 30, 2006. 

Defense Acquisitions: DOD Has Paid Billions in Award and Incentive Fees 
Regardless of Acquisition Outcomes. GAO-06-66. Washington D.C.: 
December 19, 2005. 

DOD Acquisition Outcomes: A Case for Change. GAO-06-257T. Washington 
D.C.: November 15, 2005. 

Defense Acquisitions: Progress and Challenges Facing the DD(X) Surface 
Combatant Program. GAO-05-924T. Washington D.C.: July 19, 2005. 

Defense Acquisitions: Incentives and Pressures That Drive Problems 
Affecting Satellite and Related Acquisitions. GAO-05-570R. Washington 
D.C.: June 23, 2005. 

Defense Acquisitions: Resolving Development Risks in the Army's 
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GAO-05-669. Washington D.C.: June 15, 2005. 

Tactical Aircraft: F/A-22 and JSF Acquisition Plans and Implications 
for Tactical Aircraft Modernization. GAO-05-519T. Washington D.C.: 
April 6, 2005. 

Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Major Weapon Programs. 
GAO-05-301. Washington D.C.: March 31, 2005. 

Defense Acquisitions: Changes in E-10A Acquisition Strategy Needed 
Before Development Starts. GAO-05-273. Washington D.C.: March 15, 2005. 

Tactical Aircraft: Air Force Still Needs Business Case to Support F/A- 
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March 15, 2005. 

Tactical Aircraft: Opportunity to Reduce Risks in the Joint Strike 
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Washington D.C.: March 15, 2005. 

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Implications for Tactical Aircraft Modernization. GAO-05-390T. 
Washington D.C.: March 3, 2005. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Defense suppression is the neutralization, destruction, or 
temporary degradation of enemy air defenses, either by physical attack 
with munitions or by electronic means to jam and confuse enemy radar. 

[2] JSF is being developed jointly with eight other nations: United 
Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, 
and Norway. 

[3] A project enters technology development at Milestone A. The purpose 
of this phase of development is to reduce technology risk and to 
determine the appropriate set of technologies to be integrated into a 
full system. 

[4] Sunset schedules can be impacted by a statutory prohibition (10 
U.S.C. 2244a) on making modifications to a weapon system within five 
years of its planned retirement. 

[5] GAO, Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Identify and Address Gaps and 
Potential Risks in Program Strategies and Funding Priorities for 
Selected Equipment, GAO-06-141 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 25, 2005). 

[6] While aircraft investment budgets are consolidated at the 
Department of the Navy level, the Navy and Marine Corps largely plan 
independently to fill individual force structure requirements. 

[7] GAO, Aircraft Acquisition: Affordability of DOD's Investment 
Strategy, GAO/NSIAD-97-88, (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 8, 1997). 

[8] GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs, 
GAO-07-406SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2007). 

[9] GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Actions Needed to Get Better Results on 
Weapons Systems Investments, GAO-06-585T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 5, 
2006). 

[10] The other capability areas are command and control, net centric 
warfare, force management, force protection, and joint training. 

[11] GAO, Best Practices: An Integrated Portfolio Management Approach 
to Weapon System Investments Could Improve DOD's Acquisition Outcomes, 
GAO-07-388 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2007). 

[12] GAO, Tactical Aircraft: F/A-22 and JSF Acquisition Plans and 
Implications for Tactical Aircraft Modernization,GAO-05-519T 
(Washington, D.C.: Apr. 6, 2005). 

[13] The latest report is GAO, Tactical Aircraft: DOD Should Present a 
New F-22A Business Case before Making Further Investments, GAO-06-455R 
(Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2006). 

[14] GAO, Joint Strike Fighter: Progress Made and Challenges Remain, 
GAO-07-360 (Washington D.C.: Mar. 15, 2007). 

[15] This multiyear procurement contract, the program's second of this 
contract type, includes 154 F/A-18E/F and 56 EA-18G airframes for a 
total of 210. 

[16] There are currently seven foreign counties that have F/A-18A/B/C/ 
Ds in their fleets: Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, 
Spain, and Switzerland. 

[17] GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Major Weapon Programs, 
GAO-03-476 (Washington, D.C.: May 15, 2003). 

[18] GAO, Electronic Warfare: Option of Upgrading Additional EA-6Bs 
Could Reduce Risk in Development of EA-18G, GAO-06-446, (Washington, 
D.C.: Apr. 26, 2006). 

[19] GAO-07-406SP. 

[20] We obtained another preliminary estimate that suggests a service 
life extension program for the A-10 could cost $4.4 billion, which may 
include some of these unfunded requirements. 

[21] GAO-06-446. 

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