Aircraft Procurement:

Development and Production Issues Concerning the T-46A Aircraft

NSIAD-86-126BR: Published: May 20, 1986. Publicly Released: May 27, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's T-46A aircraft program, specifically the: (1) contracting difficulties associated with the program; (2) current status of production; (3) performance and quality of the aircraft; and (4) fiscal year 1986 fund expenditures.

GAO found that: (1) the contractor has experienced cost and schedule difficulties in T-46A development; (2) Air Force reviews during 1985 showed that many areas of contractor operations were unsatisfactory; (3) following an extensive contractor operations review in 1985, the Air Force began withholding 50 percent of the contractor's progress payments until it showed substantial progress in correcting the deficiencies; (4) the cost estimate to complete trainer aircraft development and production was about $122 million more than the Air Force had contracted for; and (5) although the first production aircraft were scheduled for delivery by November 1986, the Air Force felt that delivery would not occur until early 1987. GAO also found that: (1) although there were numerous deficiencies relating to the contractor's production capability, the contractor was capable of manufacturing the T-46A; (2) the first T-46A test aircraft has undergone flight testing and should meet or exceed most of the Air Force's original performance requirements; (3) although flight testing has identified problems in aircraft drag and primary flight controls, the Air Force can solve these problems without major aircraft modifications and within the scope of the development contract; and (4) as of April 1986, 51 percent of the research and development funds had been obligated.

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