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F 35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER DOD Needs to Complete Developmental Testing Before Making Significant New Investments

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Technical Report

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United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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Why GAO Did This Study. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is DODs most expensive and ambitious acquisition program. Acquisition costs alone are estimated at nearly 400 billion, and beginning in 2022, DOD expects to spend more than 14 billion a year on average for a decade.The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 included a provision for GAO to review the F-35 acquisition program annually until the program reaches full-rate production. This, GAOs second report in response to that mandate, assesses, among other objectives, 1 progress of remaining program development and testing and 2 proposed future plans for acquisition investments. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed and analyzed management reports and historical test data discussed key aspects of F-35 development with program management and contractor officials and compared acquisition plans to DOD policy and GAO acquisition best practices. What GAO Recommends. GAO recommends that DOD use historical data to reassess the cost of completing development of Block 3F, complete Block 3F testing before soliciting contractor proposals for Block 4 development, and identify for Congress the cost and benefits associated with procuring economic order quantities of parts. DOD did not concur with the first two recommendations and partially concurred with the third while outlining actions to address it. GAO continues to believe its recommendations are valid, as discussed in the report.

Subject Categories:

  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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