Aircraft Basing:

Decision To Base Navy TACAMO Aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma

NSIAD-87-106FS: Published: Apr 3, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's decision to base its E-6A TACAMO aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

GAO noted that: (1) in January 1986, the Secretary of the Navy directed that the E-6A be based at a single Air Force base near the middle of the continental United States in order to reduce vulnerability to enemy attack; (2) the Air Force developed a list of 20 bases, from which the Navy decided that Little Rock was the best candidate, since the Air Force was deactivating a missile wing located there; and (3) since none of the 20 bases, including Little Rock, had spare hangers with maintenance facilities, the Navy performed a site survey of Tinker Air Force Base, although the Air Force had not offered it as a candidate. The Navy believes that Tinker offers advantages because: (1) the Air Force bases an aircraft there that is similar to the E-6A; (2) it would be able to acquire an adjacent 56-acre tract of land which would be suitable for hangars and other facilities; and (3) it estimates the total life-cycle cost advantage of basing at Tinker, rather than at Little Rock, to be $70 million. GAO found that: (1) although the Department of Defense did not grant formal approval to base the E-6A at Tinker, the Deputy Secretary of Defense indicated that he approved the Navy's request; (2) locating the E-6A in the middle of the continent could require buying another aircraft; (3) if the Air Force proceeds with plans to base MX missiles at Tinker, it would reduce the feasibility of locating the E-6A there; and (4) the estimated cost advantage of basing at Tinker was only $32 million.

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