F-15 Fuel Cells:

Air Force Needs Better Data for Informed Decisions

NSIAD-90-214: Published: Aug 16, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Air Force's management of F-15 aircraft and KC-135 aircraft fuel cells.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force did not collect the necessary data on F-15 fuel cells to make decisions on management issues; (2) the Air Force did not collect sufficient data to establish repair and replacement policies based on the actual life of F-15 fuel cells; (3) one logistics center's data collection on KC-135 fuel cells aided in repair and replacement decisions; (4) logistics center officials could be discarding usable fuel cells that fall outside repair and replacement policies; (5) the Air Force did not routinely collect data on when and why individual F-15 fuel cells failed; (6) although the logistics center was accumulating some fuel cell data, it did not have the comprehensive data necessary for life-cycle cost analysis; and (7) because the Air Force lacked specific data on F-15 fuel cells, it could not determine the cost-effectiveness of an extended warranty offered by a contractor.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has agreed to collect data on aircraft fuel cells and to perform failure data analysis to assess the life cycle costs and warranties of fuel cell materials. However, the Air Force has only begun to collect data and it may require a number of years to accumulate sufficient data for comparisons.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that data on F-15 fuel cells, such as the useful life, failure rate distribution, and maintenance costs, are collected at Warner Robins and all F-15 bases as part of the automated maintenance records and that those data are: (1) fully and accurately reported through the system; (2) used to assess the life-cycle cost of the fuel cell materials and the merits of an extended warranty in future fuel cell procurement; and (3) used to validate and, if necessary, revise the conditions under which fuel cells should be repaired or discarded.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force


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