Navy Aviation:

AV-8B Harrier Remanufacture Strategy Is Not the Most Cost-Effective Option

NSIAD-96-49: Published: Feb 27, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1996.

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GAO reviewed the Marine Corps' AV-8B Harrier Remanufacture program, focusing on whether it would be more cost-effective to rebuild older aircraft or procure new aircraft with increased capabilities.

GAO found that the: (1) Navy estimates that it would cost between $23 million and $29.5 million to rebuild each AV-8B aircraft using refurbished parts; (2) Marines could procure new AV-8B radar attack aircraft for about $23.6 million each; (3) Navy does not have the ability to rebuild AV-8B aircraft as quickly as new aircraft can be produced; (4) Navy could revise its procurement strategy to procure new radar aircraft, since the remanufacture program is conducted under single-year contracts; (5) Navy is having difficulty disassembling older aircraft and acquiring replacement components in a timely and cost-effective manner; and (6) surplus radar equipment intended for use in rebuilding the aircraft may not be available as soon as anticipated, which could cause delays in the remanufacture program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to review its current acquisition strategy and begin negotiations to buy new aircraft. Instead, DOD stood by its original assessment that remanufacture is the most cost-effective means to modernize the fleet.

    Recommendation: In light of the availability of a more cost-effective strategy to buy new radar AV-8B aircraft, instead of modifying the day attack AV-8B, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to develop a current cost estimate for producing new radar model aircraft.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to review its current acquisition strategy and begin negotiations to buy new aircraft. Instead, DOD stood by its original assessment that remanufacture is the most cost-effective means to modernize the fleet.

    Recommendation: In light of the availability of a more cost-effective strategy to buy new radar AV-8B aircraft, instead of modifying the day attack AV-8B, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to revise the acquisition strategy for acquiring upgraded AV-8B aircraft for the Marine Corps so that after the existing annual contract expires, the Marine Corps acquires new radar models rather than remanufactured models.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD partially concurred that the multi-year procurement strategy could result in savings, but concluded that it may not be prudent to enter into multi-year contracts, since these strategies tend to inhibit the fiscal flexibility needed during times of shifting priorities and monetary constraints. DOD states that it is presently facing situations of shifting priorities and constrained monetary resources.

    Recommendation: In light of the availability of a more cost-effective strategy to buy new radar AV-8B aircraft, instead of modifying the day attack AV-8B, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to take advantage of the savings available through multi-year procurement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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