Air Force and Navy Plans To Acquire Trainer Aircraft

MASAD-81-11: Published: Feb 28, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1981.

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Both the Air Force and the Navy are planning to buy trainer aircraft to replace existing aircraft which are nearing the end of their service life. Justification for acquisition of the aircraft is based, in part, on the need to reduce fuel and other operating costs and to improve training program effectiveness. Total costs are expected to be several billion dollars.

The Air Force's Next Generation Trainer and the Navy's Undergraduate Jet Flight Training System acquisition programs are generally being conducted in accordance with Office of Management and Budget Circular A-109. One exception is that the requests for proposals for each program contain restrictions which effectively preclude consideration of potential alternative solutions to the mission need. Of particular concern is the fact that the Air Force's request for proposals effectively excludes the T-34C aircraft, which the Navy is currently using for similar training. Congressional interest and direction have been toward common aircraft for both the primary and advanced phases of the Navy and Air Force undergraduate pilot training programs. However, Air Force officials now believe that there is little likelihood that the Air Force will use the Navy's advanced trainer aircraft. The Navy's use of the Air Force's primary trainer is also uncertain.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status:

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

    Matter: Congress should explore with the Department of Defense whether (1) DOD has adequately complied with congressional direction regarding common aircraft; (2) the apparent decrease in support for common aircraft is warranted; and (3) the Air Force plans for consideration of the T-34C aircraft meet the congressional intent.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should include B-52D crews in the companion trainer aircraft (CTA) concept viability test program to obtain data on the applicability of the CTA to all crews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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