Navy A-12:

Cost and Requirements

NSIAD-91-98: Published: Dec 31, 1990. Publicly Released: Dec 31, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's projected requirements and cost estimates for the A-12 aircraft program.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy's projected requirements and cost estimates for A-12 aircraft changed considerably between December 1989 and April 1990; (2) the Navy's decision to lower the number of aircraft carriers reduced A-12 total cost, but increased the projected unit cost; (3) in December 1989, the Navy reported a need for 858 A-12 aircraft to support 15 aircraft carriers with 15 carrier wings; (4) in April 1990, the Secretary of Defense reduced the number of aircraft carriers to no more than 14 and reduced A-12 requirements to 620 aircraft, with further reductions a possibility due to anticipated budgetary constraints; (5) increased A-12 capability, survivability, reliability, and maintainability could allow the Navy to accomplish the current medium attack mission with fewer aircraft; (6) Navy plans to use S-3 aircraft for refuelling could be limited by a shortage of that aircraft, but the shifting of the refuelling mission could reduce overall A-12 requirements; (7) the Navy's A-12 total program cost estimates did not include operation and support costs or the cost of developing and incorporating certain improvements to enhance A-12 performance; and (8) the Navy did not adequately consider such cost projection variables as the effect of noncompetitive renegotiation on guaranteed prices, the delay of the Air Force's participation in the program, and the increase in A-12 weight and other developmental difficulties.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense cancelled the program on January 7, 1991.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should update A-12 program requirements and cost estimates and periodically provide Congress with the latest information needed to make decisions on A-12 procurement. In updating A-12 requirements and cost information, the Secretary should consider the possibility of further reductions in the number of aircraft carriers from the 14 currently in the fleet to 12 or fewer.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense cancelled the program on January 7, 1991.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should consider the possibility of using fewer than 20 A-12 in each air wing, given increased A-12 capability, survivability, maintainability, and reliability, over A-6E and the transfer of a portion of the refuelling mission to S-3 or other aircraft.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense cancelled the program on January 7, 1991.

    Recommendation: In reporting A-12 costs, the Secretary of Defense should include all expenditures associated with the procurement and ownership of the aircraft, including: (1) total A-12 operation and support costs; and (2) the development and introduction of preplanned product improvements to the A-12 fleet.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense cancelled the program on January 7, 1991.

    Recommendation: In calculating and reporting A-12 costs, the Secretary of Defense should recognize the potential cost impact of: (1) losing the competitively obtained prices for A-12 aircraft; (2) delaying the procurement of the Air Force version; (3) lowering the A-12 production rate from 48 to 36 aircraft per year and possibly losing the ability to compete production; and (4) delaying the first A-12 flight and fleet introduction schedules.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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