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Navy Aviation: F/A-18E/F Development and Production Issues

NSIAD-98-61 Published: Mar 13, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1998.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the F/A-18E/F development program, focusing on the: (1) status of the E/F development flight test program; (2) deficiencies that have been identified to date and corrective actions planned; and (3) current cost estimate for the program.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to not approve contracting for any additional F/A-18E/F aircraft beyond the 12 aircraft contracted for during the first low-rate production phase of the program until the Navy demonstrates through flight testing that identified aircraft deficiencies have been corrected. This will still provide the Navy with the necessary aircraft to conduct operational testing of the F/A-18E/F.
Closed – Implemented
DOD has already proceeded with production decisions beyond the initial low-rate initial production lot. The Lot II (20 aircraft) funding release was approved after the Navy informed DOD that the "wing drop" deficiency had been corrected. Initial funding for Lot III (30 aircraft) has been approved.
Department of the Navy The Navy should not begin operational test and evaluation of the F/A-18E/F until corrections of deficiencies are incorporated in the aircraft that will be used for the evaluation.
Closed – Not Implemented
DOD has stated that initial operational testing has already occurred and more is scheduled prior to OPEVAL. There is no indication that DOD intends to delay OPEVAL.

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