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Highlights

GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) augmentation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to meet civilian aviation needs, focusing on: (1) whether FAA will have sufficient time to augment GPS; (2) FAA actions to better manage its GPS related efforts; and (3) the implications of delaying GPS implementation. GAO noted that: (1) GPS wide area system augmentation is entering a more complicated and difficult development phase; (2) the 27-month FAA implementation schedule does not allow enough time for FAA to develop, implement, and commission the system; (3) potential software- and satellite-related problems could delay system development and implementation; (4) although FAA has strengthened it GPS management by integrating its GPS activities, securing funding to accelerate the wide area system's development, and issuing plans to guide the augmented system's development and implementation, its lack of critical information on timetables and funding levels may hamper the plans' usefulness to FAA and other decisionmakers; and (5) delayed implementation of the satellite-based navigation system would cause FAA to defer the cost savings associated with phasing out ground-based navigation aids and the economic and operational benefits from the augmented GPS.

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