F-35 Sustainment: Need for Affordable Strategy, Greater Attention to Risks, and Improved Cost Estimates
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT DIV
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Why GAO Did This Study. The F-35 Lightning II is intended to replace a variety of existing aircraft in the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, while providing the most supportable, technologically advanced, lethal, and survivable aircraft to date. The F-35 is DOD s most expensive weapon system, with estimated sustainment costs of about 1 trillion. With the military services planning for the ability to deploy and maintain the F-35 within 4 years, DOD is working to develop a sustainment strategy that will be both affordable and executable for the program s life cycle. GAO was mandated to review DOD s F-35 sustainment planning efforts. This report addresses the extent to which DOD has 1 developed an F-35 sustainment strategy and addressed potential risks related to affordability and operational readiness and 2 developed a reliable OS cost estimate for the program s life cycle. GAO analyzed documented plans and cost estimates and interviewed DOD and contractor officials. What GAO Recommends GAO recommends that DOD develop better informed affordability constraints address three risks that could affect sustainment, affordability, and operational readiness and take steps to improve the reliability of its cost estimates. DOD concurred with all but one recommendation and partially concurred with the recommendation to conduct uncertainty analysis on one of its cost estimates, stating it already conducts a form of uncertainty analysis. GAO continues to believe that the recommended analysis would provide a more comprehensive sense of the uncertainty in the estimates.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Economics and Cost Analysis