B-2 Program:

Trends in Manufacturing

NSIAD-91-211: Published: Jul 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 1991.

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GAO: (1) provided manufacturing trend data on the B-2 bomber development and production; and (2) discussed the effectiveness of production management programs being implemented by contractors.

GAO found that: (1) progress is being made with each successive aircraft, but B-2 contractors are generally not meeting the manufacturing goals they established and are continuing to experience problems in reducing labor hours, numbers of defects, engineering drawing changes, and completing work at major assembly sites rather than transferring it to the final assembly site; (2) numerous engineering changes, new manufacturing technologies, and difficulties the contractors are encountering in manufacturing low observable aircraft that meet the precise tolerances of stealth requirements resulted in delays in delivery and cost increases; (3) contractors have not achieved labor efficiency goals because programs for improving labor efficiency are not fully implemented or effective, a higher-than-expected number of defects occurs on each aircraft, and numerous changes are made to engineering drawings; (4) the established work measurement and quality assurance programs are not yet fully effective in identifying and correcting problems; (5) Air Force officials are satisfied that the contractors have acceptable tool proving plans in place; and (6) until the planning and manufacturing process becomes more reliable, contractors may not be able to achieve predicted efficiencies at higher production rates.

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