Are Management Problems in the Acquisition of Aircraft Gas Turbine Engines Being Corrected?

PSAD-80-72: Published: Sep 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1980.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO examined the Department of Defense's management approach to the acquisition of gas turbine engines for fighter/attack aircraft.

GAO found that recent problems with fighter/attack aircraft engines have been primarily due to development concepts, procedures, and practices that did not provide the time and money to adequately develop the engines before production and use, and did not bring promising technology to the point that it was ready for applications in new engines. Other major factors that adversely affected engine development were: (1) an inadequate definition of the engines' usage and, consequently, the inability to design engines to their expected usage and to verify the design by testing to that usage; (2) emphasis on performance requirements with a resulting lack of standards, database, and analytical procedures to achieve a balance among performance, operability, reliability, durability, and costs; and (3) inadequate flight testing of engines. Incomplete development has resulted in extensive Component Improvement Programs, increased spare parts costs, reduced operational readiness, and expensive retrofits.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should delegate specific responsibility to an organization within his Office to direct and supervise the Air Force and the Navy efforts to establish an organized and disciplined approach to the structural design, analysis, development, production, and life management of aircraft gas turbine engines. The designated organization should require the services to: (1) complete the formulation of the services' new policies, principles, and procedures for engine acquisition management by way of regulations and other appropriate documents; (2) establish a master plan for developing the standards, supporting methodology, database, and analytical procedures needed to fully implement the policies and principles and make the development process more rational and analytical; (3) realign funding priorities to expand and improve advanced development programs in general, and structural testing and development in particular; and (4) coordinate the improvement efforts to enhance and encourage joint acquisition programs. The designated organization should closely monitor the F101 Derivative Fighter Engine and Advanced Technology Engine joint programs.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Feb 28, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Jan 16, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 14, 2017

Dec 4, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here