T-45 Training System:

Navy Should Reduce Risks Before Procuring More Aircraft

NSIAD-91-46: Published: Dec 14, 1990. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 1990.

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GAO reviewed the Navy's acquisition of the T-45 Training System to evaluate cost, schedule, and performance risks and to assess whether an additional production commitment in fiscal year (FY) 1991 was warranted.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy did not schedule flight testing until after it made production commitments for 20 percent of the planned procurement; (2) tests, redesigns, and modifications have not yet proven that the T-45A Goshawk aircraft is effective or suitable for its mission; (3) the Navy and the contractor have not yet agreed on the actual price for the T-45A aircraft; (4) the Navy did not need the 12 aircraft it requested for FY 1991 to attain an initial operational capability and begin training pilots; (5) the Navy reported that it would still need about $136 million in procurement funds for FY 1991, even if it did not procure any aircraft and bought only two simulators in 1991; and (6) the Navy requested funds for five simulators in FY 1991, but Congress approved procurement for only one, citing the need to slow production while awaiting a stable aircraft design.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In March 1992, the program office advised GAO that all price negotiations for the FY 1989-1991 lots were complete and award of 12 FY 1991 aircraft should be made following Milestone IIIA approval before the end of April 1992. OPEVAL is scheduled for completion before additional production, i.e. FY 1992 commitment in November 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should withhold authorization for the Navy to proceed with additional production commitments for T-45A aircraft until the service has taken minimum risk-reduction measures to define aircraft prices in existing contracts and negotiated prices for subsequent production contracts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD action in restructuring the program will result in commitment to production of 12 more aircraft before this testing is complete in FY 1992, and only 12 will be procured in 1993. In contrast, without the DOD action, 36 more would have been procured before test completion in 1992 and 24 in 1993. Risk reduction should be served about equally well by the alternative action DOD elected.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should withhold authorization for the Navy to proceed with additional production commitments for T-45A aircraft until the service has taken minimum risk-reduction measures to complete initial sea trials and high-angle-of-attack and spin testing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD action in restructuring the program will result in commitment to production of 12 more aircraft before this testing is complete in FY 1992, and only 12 will be procured in 1993. In contrast, without the DOD action, 36 more would have been procured before test completion in 1992 and 24 in 1993. Risk reduction should be served about equally well by the alternative action DOD elected.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should withhold authorization for the Navy to proceed with additional production commitments for T-45A aircraft until the service has taken minimum risk-reduction measures to complete the operational test phase to assess carrier suitability and other critical operational issues.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A-NSIAD-90-59, approved November 19, 1990, reflects on the FY 1991 reduction of $147.8 million. Another accomplishment report, A-NSIAD-91-30, approved July 29, 1991, reflects FY 1992 and 1993 reductions aggregating $543.9 million.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should withhold authorization for the Navy to proceed with additional production commitments for T-45A aircraft until the service has taken the minimum risk-reduction measures to complete the operational test phase to verify deficiency corrections.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In the restructured program, no new simulators will be procured through FY 1993. This meets the objective of the recommendation, better correlation of aircraft and simulator production rates, and should result more savings than the approach GAO recommended. These savings are an indeterminable portion of the $543.9 million in savings reflected in A-NSIAD-91-30.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to procure only two T-45 simulators in FY 1991.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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