The F-22A--the Air Force's next generation air superiority fighter aircraft--incorporates a low observable (stealth) and highly maneuverable airframe, advanced integrated avionics, and a new engine capable of sustained supersonic flight without the use of afterburners. The F-22A acquisition history is a case study in increased cost and schedule inefficiency. Since the program's inception in 1986, the Air Force has added new requirements, more than doubled the length of the acquisition schedule, cut purchase quantities by more than 75 percent, and increased total acquisition unit costs by more than 100 percent. The F-22A program's significant cost and schedule growth is illustrative of a number of systemic problems in the Department of Defense's (DOD) major weapon system acquisitions. Currently, DOD is proposing to buy the remaining 60 F-22As under a 3-year contract. At the Congress's request, GAO was asked for its views on DOD's latest plan to restructure the program and on the Air Force's request for authority to enter into a multiyear contract to implement this restructuring.
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