U.S.-Japan Cooperative Development:

Progress on FS-X Program Enhances Japanese Aerospace Capabilities

NSIAD-95-145: Published: Aug 11, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 11, 1995.

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GAO examined the U.S.-Japan FS-X program, focusing on: (1) the program's status; (2) U.S. government and contractor controls over technical data and hardware given to Japan; (3) the transfer of program technology from Japan to the United States; and (4) the benefits the program has provided to the Japanese and U.S. aerospace industries.

GAO found that: (1) Japanese and U.S. contractors are working on FS-X prototype aircraft, and the first flight test is scheduled for late summer 1995; (2) U.S. officials have expressed concerns about Japan's ability to develop digital flight control software for the aircraft; (3) the overall cost for the development of FS-X aircraft has not been determined because the FS-X agreements do not allow U.S. access to Japanese contractors' FS-X related cost data; (4) although the Air Force adequately screens F-16 data for release to Japan, Japan continues to request F-16 technical data that has been previously denied for release; and (5) the United States has not determined whether Japanese technology has been beneficial for its aerospace industry, but the FS-X program has helped strengthen Japan's aerospace industry by introducing valuable design and systems integration experiences that are applicable to other military and commercial aircraft projects.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of State has entered into its policy guidance book the requirement that all FS-X related licenses be sent to the Department of Defense for review. GAO believes that the intent of the recommendation has been met because the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense have taken actions to share information.

    Recommendation: To ensure compliance with FS-X releasability guidelines and oversight of FS-X related exports to Japan, the Secretaries of State, Commerce, and Defense should direct the appropriate offices within their departments to develop and implement written, formal procedures for sharing information about export license applications to Japan that are potentially related to the FS-X program. These procedures should, among other things: (1) require State to refer all FS-X munitions license applications to DOD for review; (2) provide sufficient information for F-16 System Program Office personnel to adequately monitor FS-X related export license applications to Japan; (3) require Commerce to provide DOD information on Individual Validated Licenses for exports to Japan of equipment or data with existing or potential uses on military aircraft; and (4) provide program office personnel online access to the DOD Foreign Disclosure and Technical Information System;

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of State has entered into its policy guidance book the requirement that all FS-X related licenses be sent to the Department of Defense for review. GAO believes that the intent of the recommendation has been met because the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense have taken actions to share information.

    Recommendation: To ensure compliance with FS-X releasability guidelines and oversight of FS-X related exports to Japan, the Secretaries of State, Commerce, and Defense should direct the appropriate offices within their departments to develop and implement written, formal procedures for sharing information about export license applications to Japan that are potentially related to the FS-X program. These procedures should, among other things: (1) require State to refer all FS-X munitions license applications to DOD for review; (2) provide sufficient information for F-16 System Program Office personnel to adequately monitor FS-X related export license applications to Japan; (3) require Commerce to provide DOD information on Individual Validated Licenses for exports to Japan of equipment or data with existing or potential uses on military aircraft; and (4) provide program office personnel online access to the DOD Foreign Disclosure and Technical Information System;

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of State has entered into its policy guidance book the requirement that all FS-X related licenses be sent to the Department of Defense for review. GAO believes that the intent of the recommendation has been met because the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense have taken actions to share information.

    Recommendation: To ensure compliance with FS-X releasability guidelines and oversight of FS-X related exports to Japan, the Secretaries of State, Commerce, and Defense should direct the appropriate offices within their departments to develop and implement written, formal procedures for sharing information about export license applications to Japan that are potentially related to the FS-X program. These procedures should, among other things: (1) require State to refer all FS-X munitions license applications to DOD for review; (2) provide sufficient information for F-16 System Program Office personnel to adequately monitor FS-X related export license applications to Japan; (3) require Commerce to provide DOD information on Individual Validated Licenses for exports to Japan of equipment or data with existing or potential uses on military aircraft; and (4) provide program office personnel online access to the DOD Foreign Disclosure and Technical Information System;

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Defense Science Board decided that it was not the appropriate agency to evaluate the technologies. However, other U.S. government entities and industry have taken part in technology visits to Japan to evaluate the technologies.

    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of transferred Japanese FS-X technologies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Science Board to establish and convene an FS-X Technology Transfer Evaluation Task Force. To the extent the FS-X agreements and Defense Science Board Charter permit, this Task Force should include U.S. government and industry FS-X officials. To the maximum extent possible, consistent with the agreements, representatives of the four services and of leading U.S. aerospace companies who have expertise in fighter aircraft (including the F-22), composite applications, or potential commercial uses for FS-X technologies should be included on the Task Force.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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