Operating and Support Costs of New Weapon Systems Compared with Their Predecessors

LCD-77-429: Published: Oct 17, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 1977.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) emphasizes reliability and maintainability of new weapon systems to reduce operating and support costs. However, it is not clear to what extent reliability and maintainability can reduce the operating and support costs of tactical aircraft systems because the data systems necessary for making such determinations do not exist.

A review of the F-14, F-15, F-16, and F-18 tactical aircraft disclosed that maintainability specifications agreed to by the military services and the contractors for these weapon systems do not reflect reasonable expectations of actual results once the weapon systems are in operation. Some factors impeding comparability between new and old systems are differences in capability, complexity, and technology. Also, systems are in different stages of their life cycles. Major subsystems may not be directly comparable between aircraft because of functional variances.