Military Airlift: Options Exist for Meeting Requirements While Acquiring Fewer C-17s

NSIAD-97-38 Published: Feb 19, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 1997.
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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the basis for the November 1995 recommendation by the Defense Acquisition Board that a fleet of 120 C-17s be acquired to meet airlift needs, focusing on: (1) whether less costly options exist to meet airlift needs; and (2) the use of the C-17 to support a strategic brigade airdrop.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Because of the potential savings of over $7 billion and the relative contribution of the final 20 C-17s, Congress may wish to consider funding only 100 C-17s and requiring DOD to reexamine the decision to acquire 120 C-17s. DOD can meet mission requirements by employing various relatively low cost options and by extending the use of alternatives for accomplishing the longer range brigade air drop.
Closed – Not Implemented
Congress authorized the full buy of 120 C-17's under the C-17 settlement agreement.
Before approving the acquisition of the final 20 C-17s primarily to support the brigade airdrop mission, Congress should require that DOD certify that the aircraft's wake turbulence problems have been solved.
Closed – Not Implemented
Congress has approved the settlement plan on the C-17 for production of all 120 C-17's.

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