Military Airlift:

Cost and Complexity of the C-17 Aircraft Research and Development Program

NSIAD-91-5: Published: Mar 19, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the cost and complexity of the Air Force's C-17 aircraft research and deployment program.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force allocated a $4.2-billion target price to the full-scale engineering development portion of the contract; (2) about 51 percent of that target price was attributable to C-17 design and development, and the remaining 49 percent was for overhead, general and administrative costs, other negotiated costs, and contractor fees; (3) the total cost for the design and development of the aircraft was $2.1 billion, of which 54 percent was for air vehicle costs; (4) the remaining 46 percent of the design and development costs were for management, evaluation, and support equipment; (5) although some of the individual C-17 structure and systems involved sophisticated technologies, few new technologies were used in the aircraft; and (6) program officials reported that the integration of those sophisticated technologies into a workable aircraft design was a major engineering and management task.

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