Air Defense Training:

T-33 Aircraft Replacement Options

NSIAD-87-10: Published: Oct 1, 1986. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's plan to retire obsolete Air National Guard T-33 aircraft to determine whether replacing T-33 aircraft with T-39 aircraft and using the contractor training alternative were cost effective.

The Air Force: (1) found that the flying-hour costs to restore, operate, and maintain the T-39 aircraft would be higher than for the T-33 aircraft; and (2) estimated that the costs to operate 60 T-39 or T-33 aircraft for the first 5 years, in inflated dollars, would be $401.3 million and $344.3 million, respectively. GAO found that the estimated costs for upgraded airborne electronic countermeasure (EMC) equipment for both aircraft and the cost to retrieve and restore the T-39 aircraft were understated because, after adjusting for these understatements, the estimated costs to operate 60 T-39 or T-33 aircraft for the first 5 years, in inflated dollars, would be $409.5 million and $351.3 million, respectively. GAO was unable to determine whether contracting out the EMC mission would be more cost-effective than using the T-39 aircraft the Air Force and Air National Guard operated.

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