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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated cost, schedule, and test plans for the Army's special operations forces (SOF) helicopter program, focusing on: (1) the Army's planned concurrency of developmental and operational testing with actual production; and (2) current cost estimates for the program.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to limit low-rate initial production to the minimum number of MH-47E and MH-60K helicopters necessary for operational testing.
Closed - Not Implemented
Due to the low numbers of helicopters involved, the Army believed the risk was manageable and cost to implement would be prohibitive.
Department of Defense 2. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to postpone contract awards beyond low-rate initial production until the Army can demonstrate that the aircraft can meet the operational needs of the users through required operational testing and evaluation.
Closed - Not Implemented
The low numbers of helicopters involved, 23 MH-60Ks and 34 MH-47E, make the risk manageable and the cost to implement prohibitive.
Department of Defense 3. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop and provide to Congress complete cost estimates that accurately reflect all costs to the government associated with acquiring fully equipped, mission-capable SOF helicopter systems.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Army believes it is including all costs of the SOF program in its estimates. The conversion of the CH-47C to the CH-47D is a separate program and should not be included in SOF program costs.

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