B-1B Bomber:

Evaluation of Air Force Report on B-1B Operational Readiness Assessment

NSIAD-95-151: Published: Jul 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1995.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Air Force Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) test, which was created to determine the: (1) effectiveness of the B-1B bomber wing; and (2) additional spares, maintenance manpower, and logistics support necessary to achieve the aircraft's planned level of effectiveness.

GAO found that: (1) the data collected during ORA, and reflected in the Air Force report, was credible; (2) ORA was designed to verify the need to improve the various B-1B bomber components, and not to provide projections of actual costs of those improvements; (3) the $11.9-million estimate of additional costs to sustain the B-1B fleet was optimistic, and the Air Force's most cost-effective way to improve the B-1B mission capability rate; and (4) the estimate represented only maintenance and management costs and did not include the initial costs incurred from initiatives in progress or future expenditures for spare parts and repairs.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Senate Armed Services Committee, the primary contact and the committee that would have taken action on the matters for congressional consideration, did not take the action GAO suggested. On the contrary, the committee increased the Air Force FY 1996 budget request for the B-1B and directed the Air Force to accelerate the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider requiring the Air Force to project the actual costs of ORA to the B-1B fleet. This projection would provide Congress with more comprehensive data on the potential cost to bring the B-1B fleet to the planned 75-percent mission capable rate as it makes its funding decisions on the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program.


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