Potential Reductions in Aircraft Operation and Maintenance Costs by Using Thrust Computing Support Equipment

Gao ID: PLRD-82-4 October 27, 1981

In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to save fuel and reduce maintenance costs on turbine jet engines through thrust and power management and studied the feasibility of using certain equipment which has the capability of measuring the thrust of engines while installed in aircraft.

The analyses showed that the accurate measurement and setting of thrust for installed jet engines is of vital importance, not only for aircraft readiness and safety, but also for operation and maintenance cost reductions. Although test results indicate that a system is available that can perform such measurements, the services have not been using it. The Air Force conducted extensive tests of the thrust-computing support equipment that will measure thrust for installed J85-5 engines. Although the Air Force decided to implement the thrust-computing system for its J85-5 engines, the system may not be implemented due to a lack of funding. If funds are not made available soon, the system may never be implemented. If this occurs, the Air Force will lose millions of dollars already invested in the program, in addition to millions in projected savings. Furthermore, failure to implement the system may reduce aircraft readiness. The Navy has not performed any tests to determine whether its aircraft jet engines might benefit from such a system. According to the contractor, the system can offer similar significant benefits for Navy aircraft engines.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Harry R. Finley Team: General Accounting Office: National Security and International Affairs Division Phone: (202) 512-5187

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