Requirements for Munitions Lift Trailers To Support Strategic Bombers

NSIAD-85-83: Published: May 21, 1985. Publicly Released: May 21, 1985.

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Harry R. Finley
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GAO reviewed several issues surrounding the Air Force's acquisition and modification of MHU-173 munitions lift trailers for B-52 and B-1B bombers.

The Air Force has identified the need for 245 trailers and, to date, 82 have been acquired and 71 have been ordered. The Air Force is also considering remanufacturing trailers acquired for B-52's to incorporate recent design improvements which would make the trailers easier to operate and less costly to support. GAO found that the Air Force experienced numerous problems with the trailers when they were initially deployed and has taken several steps to overcome these problems. It has also tested an improved version of the trailer and has decided to develop and procure a new trailer for B-1B bombers. While these initiatives may reduce future lift trailer costs, GAO found that current trailer requirements for the B-52's and B-1B's may be overstated. This could result in the acquisition of as many as 39 more lift trailers than may be needed at an estimated cost of $13 million. Finally, because it is not clear how long the trailers will be used, remanufacture, costing an additional $20 million, may not be cost effective.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that the Air Force: (1) completes its reanalysis and validation of present and future lift trailer requirements before it obligates funds to buy additional lift trailers; and (2) does not remanufacture the 80 MHU-173 lift trailers until uncertainty surrounding their useful lives is resolved and their lives are shown to be long enough to justify the expense.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force


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