Tactical Aircraft:

Issues Concerning the Navy's Maritime Patrol Aircraft

NSIAD-91-229: Published: Sep 4, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 1991.

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GAO provided updated information on the Navy's maritime patrol aircraft program, focusing on: (1) the current maritime patrol fleet and its remaining service life; and (2) Navy efforts to meet maritime patrol requirements.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy has pursued several alternatives, including the canceled P-7A development program, to address expected patrol aircraft requirements; (2) currently, the Navy has no proposal for replacing patrol aircraft, but is evaluating a program to procure an upgraded version of the P-3C; (3) the Navy is reducing its maritime patrol force level and subsequently lowering its inventory requirements, but Navy projections indicate that the patrol fleet will eventually fall below inventory requirements; (4) a possible service life extension for patrol aircraft could defer retirements 6 years and lessen the urgency for acquiring aircraft for a few years; and (5) Navy officials estimated that remanufacture of existing aircraft would cost between $35 million and $40 million per plane, plus nearly $1 billion in development costs.

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