Centralizing Aircraft Component Repair in the Field Can Provide Significant Savings

LCD-79-409: Published: Mar 28, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1979.

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The Air Force has about 9,240 aircraft with components requiring repair or maintenance at field bases at a cost of $400 million per year plus the costs for repair equipment and facilities. Both Congress and GAO have encouraged the elimination of duplication in support activities and the Air Force has centralized some component repair operations.

More remains to be done to consolidate work loads and resources to achieve economy in manpower, equipment, spare parts, and facilities. Because of the European wartime scenario, the Air Force repair structure is decentralized and tactical units in the United States retain a dispersal capability in case of deployment in Europe. Centralizing F-15 repairs in Europe could reduce the resources required there and in this country, with savings chiefly in equipment costs. As for the F-16, unless a policy against self-sufficiency is established, avionics equipment requirements may be overstated by as much as $200 million. For the F-15 and F-16, centralized repair has been hampered by numerous concerns as to vulnerability, mobility, flexibility, airlifts, and spare parts; centralization, however, can improve capabilities in all these areas. Wartime alternatives to centralization include intermediate facilities for each aircraft type, repair centers at U.S. bases in Europe, and repair facilities off the European mainland. Further economies are possible for older, nontactical aircraft in the United States; however, facilities must be at the flying unit for component identification and because staffing cannot be economically segregated between work on the aircraft and in the shops. These potential savings depend on collocation of common aircraft types at one base substitution of centralized component repair for new resource acquisitions.

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  • employment icon, source: GAO

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Department of Labor
    GAO-19-395SP: Published: Apr 3, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2019.

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