Planned Modernization of Equipment by the Federal Aviation Administration Needs Reevaluation

LCD-78-127: Published: Oct 23, 1978. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 1978.

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GAO reviewed the planned modernization of equipment by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA planned modernization of its Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR), Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN), and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) navigation systems may exceed $120 million. They are scheduled to be installed over a 3- to 4-year period beginning in mid-1980. The replacement of about 135 solid-state DME's does not appear to be cost beneficial, especially since the estimated $3 million replacement cost will not be fully recovered until after the year 2020. The FAA planned replacement schedule needs improvement, and its projected staff savings seem to be inflated.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should: retain the 135 solid-state DME's rather then purchase replacement equipment because the feature providing the capability for remote maintenance monitoring may be short-lived with the emergence of NAVSTAR, evaluate the equipment replacement priority schedule by giving appropriate consideration to the reason for system outages and revise it where necessary, and reevaluate the staff savings claimed by FAA for the VORTAC modernization program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation


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