Carrier Landing Systems:

Replacement of the Navy's Automatic Landing System May Be Premature

NSIAD-86-214BR: Published: Sep 22, 1986. Publicly Released: Oct 2, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's plan to replace the AN/SPN-42 automatic carrier landing system (ACLS) with the AN/SPN-46 ACLS. ACLS allows pilots to control aircraft during their final approach and landing aboard a carrier.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy has not been able to achieve its automatic landing goal of 70 percent for ACLS due to problems with aircraft-related subsystems; (2) the Navy does not expect the new ACLS alone to significantly improve automatic landing completion rates; (3) although the Navy does not have enough test data to determine the ACLS operational ability, mean time between failures, or mean time for repair, it plans to procure the first 3 of 25 systems in early fiscal year 1987; and (4) the Navy may have acted prematurely by procuring three more units before it successfully completed operational tests.

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