Strategic Bombers:

B-1B Parts Problems Continue to Impede Operations

NSIAD-88-190: Published: Jul 26, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 29, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the shortage of spare parts for the Air Force's B-1B aircraft.

GAO found that: (1) spare parts shortages continued to limit the availability of the B-1B aircraft; (2) although the Air Force used parts from grounded aircraft to continue operations, it has been unable to meet its training and readiness objectives; (3) spare parts unreliability contributed significantly to parts shortages; (4) the Air Force initiated a program requiring contractors to track some part failures and to identify areas for improvement; and (5) the Air Force successfully resolved 8 of the 58 priority parts problems, reduced its design change backlogs, and expedited deliveries of some spares. GAO also found that the Air Force: (1) ordered quantities of some parts, based on their low reliability, although it had completed improvements which addressed these problems; and (2) did not evaluate terminating potential excess on-order quantities of B-1B parts because of its misinterpretation of a procurement document. GAO noted that the Air Force could reduce costs by reassessing orders for parts that: (1) have undergone reliability improvements; (2) are for use on unstable or undeveloped systems such as defense avionics; (3) are intended as Single Integrated Operational Plans spares; and (4) have potential excess quantities on order.

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