Strategic Forces:

Supportability, Maintainability, and Readiness of the B-1B Bomber

NSIAD-87-177BR: Published: Jun 26, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 1987.

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GAO assessed the supportability, maintainability, and readiness of the B-1B bomber aircraft, focusing on: (1) spare parts shortages; (2) extension of contractor maintenance support; and (3) numbers of mission-ready crews and aircraft on alert.

GAO found that: (1) spare parts shortages have temporarily grounded aircraft; (2) since some spare parts' unreliability caused high demand, the Air Force used parts from grounded aircraft to repair other aircraft; (3) limited availability of repair instructions and lack of support equipment delayed Air Force in-house maintenance; (4) contractor repair costs are substantially higher than originally estimated and will increase because of the need for intensive contractor support; (5) although the Air Force is continuing to work toward its goals for readiness and training, repair problems have reduced aircraft availability for training; and (6) although the Strategic Air Command has 1 B-1B on alert and 13 mission-ready crews for its 30 B-1B aircraft, officials stated that all B-1B aircraft would be available in a national emergency.

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