Drug Interdiction:

Customs Service's Procurement of the P-3B Airborne Early Warning Aircraft

NSIAD-89-139: Published: Jun 6, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. Customs Service's procurement of the P-3B Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft.

GAO found that: (1) Customs met its P-3B procurement cost and schedule targets; (2) Customs received the first P-3B, for $19.7 million, in June 1988, and received the second P-3B, for $30.6 million, in April 1989; (3) Customs' quarterly status reports to Congress on the P-3B program were generally accurate and complete; (4) test results showed that the radar system worked as planned and satisfactorily met major test objectives; (5) the Navy's E-2C aircraft procurement was more formally structured than Customs'; (6) Customs officials believed that the P-3B generally complied with military specifications; (7) it could not determine whether the P-3B could meet Navy wartime requirements, since the Navy did not have stated requirements for land-based AEW aircraft; and (8) for the first 4 months of operation, Customs' P-3B performed the airborne surveillance role at a lower operating cost than its E-2C aircraft.

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