Tactical Aircraft: DOD's Cancellation of the Joint Strike Fighter Alternate Engine Program Was Not Based on a Comprehensive Analysis
The Department of Defense (DOD) expects to purchase about 2,400 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, with potential international sales of 2,000 to 3,500 aircraft. When the number of aircraft engines and spare parts expected to be purchased is considered--along with the lifetime support needed to sustain the engines--the future financial investment will be significant. DOD implemented the JSF alternate engine development program in 1996 to provide competition between two engine manufacturers in an effort to achieve cost savings, improve performance, and gain other benefits. Since then, DOD has invested $1.2 billion in the alternate engine program, and, in August 2005, it awarded a $2.4 billion contract for system development and demonstration of an alternate engine. However, in its fiscal year 2007 budget submission, DOD proposed canceling the alternate engine program. Concerned whether this decision was based on sound analysis, Congress asked us to review DOD's rationale for canceling the program and the analysis supporting it, including the life cycle savings, benefits, and risks assessed.