U.S.-Japan Codevelopment

Review of the FS-X Program Gao ID: NSIAD-90-77BR February 6, 1990

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the FS-X Support Fighter codevelopment agreement between the United States and Japan, focusing on: (1) the extent to which the Department of Defense (DOD) coordinated and consulted with the Department of Commerce in negotiating the coproduction agreement; (2) the principal provisions of the government and commercial license agreements; (3) technology transfer processes; (4) Japanese composite wing and phased-array radar technologies; and (5) costs and scheduled delivery dates.

GAO found that: (1) DOD did not consult or confer with Commerce in negotiating the FS-X agreement, but provided a cursory briefing to Commerce near the conclusion of the negotiations; (2) after an interagency review of the agreement, the United States sought clarification of certain aspects of the agreement; (3) DOD considered U.S. economic, industrial, and national security interests in negotiating the agreement, which stipulated a 40-percent U.S. work share of Japan's estimated $1.2-billion developmental budget and the United States' receipt of cost-free FS-X technology and an option to purchase Japanese-developed technology; (4) although the FS-X program would release certain F-16 aircraft design and software data, as well as operations, maintenance, and production data, the U.S. government would limit the release of sensitive software source codes and engine manufacturing and design data; (5) a joint U.S.-Japanese technical steering committee was established to monitor key aspects of the FS-X program, including technology transfer; (6) although DOD did not pursue the FS-X program with the primary objective of obtaining access to Japanese technology, DOD stressed the importance of obtaining access to the new aircraft's technologies; (7) DOD expressed interest in evaluating and possibly acquiring the manufacturing technology Japan was developing for its active phased-array F-SX radar; and (8) the Air Force estimated that it would cost Japan about $61 million per FS-X unit, as compared to about $28.6 million per F-16 unit.

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