Status of the B-1 Aircraft Program (Unclassified Digest)

PSAD-77-35: Published: Feb 16, 1977. Publicly Released: Jan 3, 1984.

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The primary mission of the B-1 aircraft is to deter nuclear aggression by standing ready to deliver weapons from low altitudes at high subsonic speeds. Flight testing of the aircraft began in December, 1974.

Flight testing of the B-1 aircraft has proceeded reasonably well and has disclosed no major problems which would dictate a delay in production. Testing has disclosed a number of areas requiring improvement. Major concerns over the program involve continuing increases in program costs and the pace of development of avionics subsystems. The following matters were noted during the GAO review: (1) problems involving aircraft components, the engine, and offensive avionics were not completely resolved and potential solutions must be tested further; (2) a complete demonstration of range was not accomplished during flight testing, but the Air Force stated that the B-1 will meet range requirements; (3) evaluation of the weapons system has not been completed; and (4) some risk is involved in the airframe design limit, but this risk is considered within an acceptable level. Program costs increased by $1,693.5 million to $22,889.5 million.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretary of Defense should analyze the results of complete static tests to assess the risk of proceeding with production without testing an airframe to 150 percent of the design limit load. The Secretary should provide Congress with information on recent independent cost estimates and the results of recent operational tests and evaluations.


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