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Highlights

The Air Force is developing the F/A-22 aircraft to fly at higher speeds for longer distances, be less detectable, and improve the pilot's awareness of the surrounding situation. The F/A-22 will replace the Air Force's existing fleet of F-15 aircraft. Over the past several years the program has experienced significant cost overruns and schedule delays. Congress mandated that GAO assess the development program and determine whether the Air Force is meeting key performance, schedule, and cost goals. GAO also assessed the implications of the progress of the development program on production.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense In light of continued uncertainties regarding the resolution of problems found in the past year and notwithstanding the December 2, 2002 certification provided by DOD, the Secretary of Defense should reconsider the Department's decision to increase the annual production rate beyond 16 aircraft until greater knowledge on any need for modifications is established through completion of operational testing.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Air Force bought 21 F-22s in 2003, and it appears as though Congress will approve 21 or 22 for 2004. Therefore, this recommendation to keep annual buys at 16 or fewer aircraft has been overcome by events.
Department of Defense In light of continued uncertainties regarding the resolution of problems found in the past year and notwithstanding the December 2, 2002 certification provided by DOD, the Secretary of Defense should update the 2002 risk assessment and certification with sufficient detail to allow for verification of the conclusions following the completion of operational testing.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation. Since GAO's report, Congress has approved higher rates of production than the 16 aircraft GAO recommended. Therefore, it appears highly unlikely that this recommendation will ever be implemented unless DOD is directed to do so.

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