F-16 Integrated Logistics Support:

Still Time To Consider Economical Alternatives

LCD-80-89: Published: Aug 20, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 20, 1980.

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The F-16 aircraft is being developed in a cooperative undertaking between the United States and four European North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries. The current program provides for coproduction of 1,113 aircraft. An integrated logistics support (ILS) plan was developed to coordinate and control the logistics tasks necessary to support the aircraft, but the plan has had little influence on subsystem selections and support because: (1) the F-16 was a prototype program and integrated logistics support was not included in the prototype contract; and (2) the first ILS plan was not final until 10 months after the aircraft entered full-scale development.

GAO found that the Air Force could save $56 million in avionics equipment by centralizing intermediate maintenance in Europe and the United States. Centralization would also reduce requirements for personnel, equipment, and facilities. A Memorandum of Understanding with the European participating governments (EPG) commits the United States to having Europeans do depot repair for the F-16 aircraft in Europe. The Air Force provides a 10 percent backup aircraft inventory for depot maintenance and modification. However, GAO questions the need for this number of backup aircraft because the F-16 was designed to eliminate planned depot maintenance and overhaul. Reducing the inventory could save up to $1.4 billion. Although the Air Force researched the benefits of simulation over conventional hardware before deciding to buy the simulated aircraft maintenance trainer (SAMT), it did not adequately consider training alternatives in the event the delivery of the simulator was delayed. Portions of the pilot training equipment of the F-16 are still being developed and, as a result, the Air Force planners did not know exactly how often these trainers would be used. Many F-16 technical orders, which explain how to install, operate, and repair aircraft and related equipment, before it can do maintenance work, were not usable. The F-16 ILS plan did not include the time needed to design and fabricate mobile shelters to deploy avionics test equipment and had not been updated to show the new leadtimes needed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has made considerable progress in responding to the recommendation and has continual efforts underway to get more depot repair items under contract with EPG industries. This effort is a lengthy process and will not be complete for sometime. GAO is satisfied that appropriate emphasis is being placed on the effort and believes that further followup is not necessary.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to accelerate negotiations with the EPG's to determine if and how much U.S. depot repair will be done in Europe to meet the Memorandum of Understanding commitments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force believes that additional test equipment will be necessary in case of a contingency. Further followup on this report would not be useful.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to reexamine the potential value, volume, and availability of EPG depot support before purchasing additional test equipment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force disagrees with the GAO position and does not plan any action. GAO has addressed this issue in several other reports and plans no further followup on this specific report.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to reexamine the need for backup aircraft inventory.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to promptly resolve the operational uncertainties of the SAMT program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to provide contingency plans in case delivery of the SAMT's is delayed further.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force believes that flight simulators are an integral part of each unit's training and flying safety program; centralization would require frequent aircrew temporary duty, reducing each unit's ability to meet local training, alert, and combat commitments. It believes that one F-16 weapons system trainer is required at each location. No further followup on this recommendation is needed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to assess the cost-benefit of buying a weapon system trainer for every F-16 base.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to improve current systems of quality assurance by requiring more frequent comprehensive inspections and in-process reviews before delivering technical orders to the Air Force for verification.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to establish a timetable for F-16's to get war readiness spares into the system for deployment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to accelerate completion of the mobile shelters as necessary to ensure protection of maintenance equipment when the F-16's are deployed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force provide sufficient resources to the validation and verification of technical orders to eliminate problems created by lateness and poor quality.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force disagreed with this recommendation based on concerns about the vulnerability of a centralized maintenance facility in Europe. GAO has rebutted these concerns and continues to believe that a centralized facility can reduce maintenance cost without increasing vulnerability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to centralize F-16 intermediate maintenance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to update the ILS plan to recognize leadtimes required to ensure the availability of facilities to support aircraft.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

 

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