Tactical Aircraft:

Continuing Difficulty Keeping F-22 Production Costs Within the Congressional Limitation

GAO-01-782: Published: Jul 16, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2001.

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The Air Force F-22 Raptor, an air superiority aircraft with an air-to-ground attack capability is set for completion in September 2003. However, contracts to begin 10 low-rate initial production aircraft for fiscal year 2001 have been delayed until after completion of the President's review of Department of Defense (DOD) programs. The Air Force plans to procure 333 production aircraft through 2013. The cost of F-22 production is limited by law, but the total number of aircraft to be procured is unspecified. This report (1) identifies the cost reduction plans by F-22 contractors, (2) compares the military's latest F-22 production cost estimates with the congressional cost limitation and determines the extent to which cost reduction plans were considered in establishing these estimates, and (3) provides the status of DOD's actions to implement GAO's earlier recommendations on production cost estimates and cost reduction plans for the F-22 program. GAO found that enhancing production technology, improving manufacturing techniques, and improving acquisition practices have contributed to cost reductions. Both the Air Force and the Office of the Secretary cost estimators projected that F-22 production costs would exceed the congressional cost limitation if the Air Force were to procure 333 F-22s. DOD and the Air Force have partially responded to the recommendations in GAO's August 2000 report on the F-22.

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