Military Airlift:

Status of the C-17 Development Program

T-NSIAD-93-6: Published: Mar 10, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1993.

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GAO discussed the C-17 program, focusing on: (1) cost and schedule issues; (2) contract and funds management issues; and (3) the status of testing and technical issues. GAO noted that: (1) the Air Force and the contractor have provided optimistic cost and schedule estimates and obligated over $1 billion on undefinitized contracts without an enforceable delivery schedule; (2) completion of the flight test program has been delayed until January 1995 due to poor flight efficiency, low flight rates, and late delivery of flight test aircraft; (3) several technical problems have emerged that include range and payload deficiencies, a major wing failure in static testing, the need to redesign flaps and slats using new materials, and problems with the main landing gear; (4) the C-17 is still technically immature and other technical problems are likely that will increase program costs and cause further schedule delays; and (5) based on declining cost performance trends, recent test problems, and test flight schedule delays, GAO believes that further consideration should be given to alternatives that could offer adequate airlift capability at less cost to the taxpayer.

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