The B-1B Aircraft Program

Gao ID: T-NSIAD-87-4A February 25, 1987

GAO testified on the cost, schedule, performance, and logistics aspects of the B-1B aircraft program. GAO found that, despite production delivery successes, developmental and production problems in B-1B subsystems have limited testing, necessitated operational restrictions, and prevented some operational training, specifically: (1) the B-1B aircraft was restricted from using its full flight capability at required weights and altitudes; (2) problems with computer software have caused the terrain system to read and react to false ground contours; (3) poor performance of the ALQ-161A defensive system, which is critical to the survivability of the aircraft, has limited B-1B effectiveness; and (4) although the Air Force has completed most of the B-1B component testing, flight testing has identified many problems with the integrated system. GAO also found that: (1) the Air Force has not accomplished a significant portion of the B-1B development test and evaluation process; (2) the extended test schedule allows no time to correct and retest major performance deficiencies; (3) the lack of spare parts and inadequate repair instructions has impacted the availability of the current fleet; and (4) two major B-1B contractors' increased costs could require a fiscal year 1987 supplemental budget request for additional procurement dollars.

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