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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the F-22 aircraft as the planned replacement for the F-15 aircraft, focusing on the: (1) potential threats that could be encountered in air-to-air combat; (2) capabilities of the F-22 and F-15 weapon systems; and (3) potential of the F-22 to be a multiservice and multimission aircraft.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. Because F-15s, by most measures, are more capable than the most likely threat related to the air superiority mission and because F-15s are expected to have service lives extending until 2014, the Secretary of Defense should defer the initial operational capability of the F-22 7 years and adjust the currently planned production start date accordingly.
Closed - Implemented
The fiscal year 1999 budget request includes funding to initiate production of F-22s. The issue of when to begin F-22 production has been considered and evaluated by the Congress.
Department of Defense 2. Because the F-22, as designed, does not incorporate the features of multiservice use and multimission capability being articulated by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, the Secretary of Defense should reconsider whether it is appropriate to continue the development of the F-22 as a single-service aircraft designed principally to perform only the air superiority mission.
Closed - Implemented
Hearings and discussions in connection with fiscal year 1998 and 1999 budget deliberations included substantial consideration of the roles, missions and funding requirements for future tactical aircraft. DOD decided to provide for an air-to-ground capability for all F-22s as they are initially delivered to the operational forces.

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