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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO assessed the concurrency between the development and production phases of the Air Force's F-22 fighter program and the risks associated with that concurrency.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should reduce the degree of concurrency in the program because: (1) independent testing of technology advances will not be completed before significant commitments are made to produce F-22 aircraft; (2) the percentage of planned F-22 to be committed to production before completion of IOT&E is higher than most recent fighter programs; and (3) the need for the F-22 is not urgent.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD disagreed with GAO's conclusion that the degree of concurrency in the F-22 program should be reduced. DOD responded that the program has been structured to employ the most up-to-date concurrency guidelines to mitigate risk. However, since that response, the estimated cost to complete F-22 development increased, the development schedule was extended, test aircraft deliveries were delayed, test and integration processes for the major avionics development activities were modified, initial production plans were adjusted, and total quantities to be procured were lowered. Significant program changes were made as a result of the Quadrennial Defense Review that reduced concurrency somewhat. However, this recommendation has now been overcome by events in the program. Concurrency was never reduced, but as of June 2003, the development program is nearing completion, and by the end of fiscal year 2004, close to 70 aircraft will be on contract. It is now near impossible to reduce program concurrency.
Department of Defense 2. To minimize commitments to production of F-22 until after successful completion of IOT&E, the Secretary of Defense should limit LRIP quantities to that which can be produced using the first set of hard tooling, about 6 to 8 aircraft a year.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD disagreed with the recommendation for several reasons, including: (1) a high-rate production decision would be made prior to demonstrating a capability to increase the rate of production; (2) additional testing would be required; (3) costs would increase; and (4) production rates are unattractive. However, F-22 production plans were reduced by the Quadrennial Defense Review, which reduced the degree of concurrency somewhat. A similar recommendation, reflecting more current program circumstances, was included in TACTICAL AIRCRAFT: F-22 Development and Testing Delays Indicate Need for Limit on Low-Rate Production, (GAO-01-310, March 15, 2001). Accordingly this recommendation has been closed.

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