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Highlights

GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) research, development, and modernization initiatives. GAO noted that: (1) between fiscal year (FY) 1988 and FY 1995, the FAA research, engineering, and development (RE&D) budget has increased from $150 to $259 million and funding for human factors, simulation modeling, aircraft structures, fire safety, aviation security, and satellite navigation has also increased; (2) in FY 1995, FAA has spent an additional $545 million for RE&D and has received benefits from other federal agencies' research; (3) FAA research provides the basis for acquiring a variety of new air traffic control and safety technologies, but numerous problems have delayed development and increased costs; (4) FAA has not adequately defined projects fully, identified technological complexities, and consulted with end users; (5) FAA has consolidated its RE&D and acquisition programs in one office and developed integrated product development teams for some acquisitions; and (6) it is too early to tell if any of the FAA RE&D initiatives will be successful.

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