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Highlights

Pursuant to congressional request, GAO provided its views on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) augmentation of the Global Positioning System (GPS). GAO noted that: (1) FAA will not be able to meet its 1997 milestones for implementing its GPS-wide area augmentation system (WAAS) and has reset these milestones for mid-1998; (2) the revised WAAS schedule may not allow enough time for solving software-related problems that could affect the system's implementation; (3) despite its announcement that it will complete a comprehensive plan for GPS augmentation by February 1996, FAA will not establish milestones for its local area augmentation system (LAAS) until it has completed schedule and cost estimates and determined the optimal configuration of local area systems; (4) LAAS timetables and cost estimates are needed so that decisionmakers can make informed decisions and users can plan their transition to the new system; and (5) if the Department of Defense bars the use of WAAS for precision approaches because of security concerns, the aviation industry and FAA will face substantial safety and cost implications.

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