Aircraft Development:

The Advanced Tactical Fighter's Costs, Schedule, and Performance Goals

NSIAD-88-76: Published: Jan 13, 1988. Publicly Released: Feb 12, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Air Force's development of its Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF), especially its ability to meet the cost, schedule, and performance goals.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force awarded two contracts to develop and test the prototype aircraft and a separate ground-based avionics prototype; (2) evaluations of these test results will not be available until late 1989; (3) because ATF development includes three separate but interrelated major subsystems, delays in one subsystem's development could require a schedule revision; and (4) the highly integrated avionics of the ATF is dependent upon recent developments in microelectronic circuitry, system design approaches, and system software. GAO also found that: (1) the Air Force plans to purchase 750 ATF at an estimated cost of $64.3 billion and has requested $536.8 million in fiscal year 1988 for the program; (2) the Air Force and the Navy signed a memorandum of understanding on the cross-service use of ATF and the Navy's Advanced Tactical Aircraft (ATA); and (3) if the Navy purchases ATF to replace its F-14 aircraft, it could reduce ATF production costs by over $2 billion and save an estimated $6 to $7 billion in research and development costs.

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