oversight

Defense Acquisition: Acquisition Plans for Training Aircraft Should Be Reevaluated

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-09-18.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                   United States General Accounting Office

GAO                Report to the Secretary of Defense




September 1997
                   DEFENSE
                   ACQUISITION
                   Acquisition Plans for
                   Training Aircraft
                   Should Be Reevaluated




GAO/NSIAD-97-172
             United States
GAO          General Accounting Office
             Washington, D.C. 20548

             National Security and
             International Affairs Division

             B-277337

             September 18, 1997

             The Honorable William S. Cohen
             The Secretary of Defense

             Dear Mr. Secretary:

             As you know, the Air Force and the Navy plan to spend $4 billion on a new
             aircraft, referred to as the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS),
             to train entry level pilots how to fly. We reviewed (1) the services’
             calculations of the quantity of JPATS aircraft needed to meet training
             requirements, (2) the impact of the Department of Defense’s (DOD)
             procurement schedule on the aircraft’s unit price, and (3) service efforts to
             design the JPATS cockpit to accommodate female pilots.


             The Air Force and the Navy plan to use the JPATS aircraft to train entry
Background   level Air Force and Navy student pilots in primary flying to a level of
             proficiency from which they can transition into advanced pilot training.
             The JPATS aircraft is designed to replace the Air Force’s T-37B and the
             Navy’s T-34C primary trainer aircraft and other training devices and
             courseware. It is expected to have a life expectancy of 24 years and
             provide better performance and improved safety, reliability, and
             maintainability than existing primary trainers. For example, the JPATS
             aircraft is expected to overcome certain safety issues with existing
             trainers by adding an improved ejection seat and a pressurized cockpit.
             The JPATS aircraft is expected to be more reliable than existing trainers,
             experiencing fewer in-flight engine shutdowns and other equipment
             failures. It is also expected to be easier to maintain because it is to use
             more standard tools, and common fasteners.

             To calculate the number of JPATS aircraft required, the Air Force and the
             Navy in 1993, used a formula that considered such factors as the aircraft
             utilization rate, annual flying hours, mission capable rate, attrition rate,
             sortie length, working days, and turnaround time. The Air Force calculated
             a need for 372 JPATS aircraft, and the Navy calculated a need for 339, for a
             total combined requirement of 711 JPATS aircraft. In December 1996, the
             two services reviewed these requirements. At that time, the Navy approved
             an increase of 29 aircraft, increasing its total to 368 aircraft. This increased
             total requirements from 711 to 740 JPATS aircraft. The Air Force’s Air
             Education and Training Command—responsible for pilot




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                                          training—determined that the Air Force would need 441 aircraft instead of
                                          372 aircraft. However, the Air Force did not approve this increase.

                                          The JPATS aircraft shown in figure 1, the T-6A Texan II, is to be a derivative
                                          of the Pilatus PC-9 commercial aircraft. Raytheon Aircraft Company, the
                                          contractor, plans to produce the aircraft in Wichita, Kansas, under a
                                          licensing agreement with Pilatus, the Swiss manufacturer of the PC-9. The
                                          JPATS aircraft will undergo limited modification to incorporate several
                                          improvements and features that are not found in the commercial version
                                          of the aircraft, but are required by the Air Force and the Navy.
                                          Modifications involve (1) improved ejection seats, (2) improved birdstrike
                                          protection, (3) a pressurized cockpit, (4) an elevated rear (instructor) seat,
                                          and (5) flexibility to accommodate a wider range of male and female pilot
                                          candidates. These modifications are currently being tested during the
                                          qualification test and evaluation phase, which is scheduled to be
                                          completed in November 1998. Initial operational capability is planned for
                                          fiscal year 2001 for the Air Force and fiscal year 2003 for the Navy.


Figure 1: JPATS Aircraft, T-6A Texan II




                                          Source: JPATS Program Office.



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                   The Air Force and the Navy competitively selected an existing commercial
                   aircraft design to satisfy their primary trainer requirements instead of
                   developing a new trainer aircraft. This competitive acquisition strategy,
                   according to Air Force officials, resulted in original program estimates of
                   about $7 billion being reduced to about $4 billion upon contract award.

                   The Air Force, as executive agent for the program, awarded a contract to
                   Raytheon in February 1996 to develop and produce between 102 and 170
                   JPATS aircraft with the target quantity of 140, along with simulators and
                   associated ground based training system devices, a training management
                   system, and instructional courseware. The contract included seven
                   production options. Through fiscal year 1997, the Air Force has exercised
                   the first four options, acquiring 1 aircraft for engineering and
                   manufacturing development and 23 production aircraft. A separate
                   contract was awarded to Raytheon for logistics support, with options for
                   future years’ activities. Production is scheduled to continue through 2014.


                   The Air Force and the Navy used inconsistent data to calculate the number
Results in Brief   of JPATS aircraft required for primary pilot training. For example, in its 1996
                   calculations, the two services applied mission capable rates1 that differed
                   substantially from each other and were lower than the rate included in the
                   contract to procure the aircraft. The Air Force used an attrition rate2 that
                   was twice as high as the historical attrition rate for its existing primary
                   trainer and the Navy used an attrition rate that differs from the rate that
                   DOD now cites as accurate. Until inconsistencies in the mission capable
                   rates and attrition rates are resolved, it is unclear how many JPATS aircraft
                   should be procured.

                   DOD’s  procurement plan for acquiring JPATS aircraft does not take full
                   advantage of the most favorable prices available in the contract. For
                   example, the plan schedules 18 aircraft to be procured during fiscal year
                   1998 and 12 aircraft during fiscal year 1999, a total of 30 aircraft. However,
                   we found that these 30 aircraft could be procured more economically if 16,
                   rather than 18, aircraft are procured in fiscal year 1998 and 14, rather than
                   12, aircraft are procured in fiscal year 1999. This approach would save
                   $1.36 million over the 2 fiscal years and permit more operational testing
                   and evaluation to be completed. Furthermore, the procurement plan does
                   not schedule a sufficient number of JPATS aircraft for procurement in fiscal


                   1
                    Mission capable rates are a measure of aircraft readiness to perform training missions.
                   2
                    Attrition rates are a measure of aircraft lost or damaged beyond repair.



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                            year 2000 to achieve lower prices that are available under the terms of the
                            contract.

                            Because concerns had been raised about the ability of JPATS aircraft to
                            accommodate female pilots, Congress directed DOD to study and determine
                            the appropriate percentage of the female pilot population that the aircraft
                            should physically accommodate. Based on its studies, DOD established the
                            requirement that the JPATS aircraft be able to accommodate 80 percent of
                            the eligible female pilot population. Pilot size3 determines the percentage
                            of pilots that can be accommodated in the JPATS cockpit. Planned cockpit
                            dimensions are expected to accommodate about 97 percent of the eligible
                            female pilot population. To permit safe ejection from the aircraft, the
                            ejection seat minimum pilot weight is 116 pounds, which is expected to
                            accommodate 80 percent of the eligible female pilot population.


                            In 1996, the Air Force and the Navy calculated the number of JPATS aircraft
Calculation of JPATS        required using several factors, including projections of JPATS mission
Requirements Was            capable rates and projected attrition rates based on historical experience.
Based on Inconsistent       However, the data they used in their calculations contained various
                            inconsistencies. For example, the projections of JPATS aircraft mission
Data                        capable rates of 91 percent and 80 percent used by the Air Force and the
                            Navy, respectively, to calculate the requirements differed substantially
                            from each other and from the 94-percent rate included in the contract for
                            procurement of the aircraft. The result of using lower mission capable
                            rates to calculate aircraft quantities is that more aircraft would be needed
                            to achieve annual flying hour requirements for training than if higher rates
                            were used. Furthermore, the Air Force’s projected attrition rates were not
                            consistent with historical attrition experience with its existing primary
                            trainer, and the Navy used a rate that differs from the rate that DOD now
                            says is accurate. Until these inconsistencies are resolved, it is unclear how
                            many JPATS aircraft should be procured.


Mission Capable Rate Used   Although the Air Force and the Navy are procuring the same JPATS aircraft
in Calculations Differed    to train entry level pilots and the aircraft will be operated in a joint
Substantially               training program, they used different mission capable rates to calculate
                            aircraft requirements. Specifically, the Air Force used a 91-percent mission
                            capable rate and the Navy used an 80-percent rate. Neither of these rates is
                            consistent with the JPATS contract that requires Raytheon to build an

                            3
                             The characteristics of the pilot size include sitting height, thumb tip reach, buttock-knee length, knee
                            height sitting, eye height sitting, shoulder height sitting, shoulder breadth range, chest depth range, and
                            thigh circumference range.



                            Page 4                                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
                                   B-277337




                                   aircraft that meets or exceeds a 94-percent mission capable rate.
                                   Therefore, we recalculated the Air Force and the Navy total JPATS aircraft
                                   requirements using the same formula as the Air Force and the Navy, and
                                   substituting the 94-percent contract mission capable rate in place of the
                                   rates used by the Air Force and the Navy. Table 1 shows how higher
                                   mission capable rates could decrease JPATS aircraft quantity requirements
                                   by as many as 60 aircraft—10 for the Air Force and 50 for the Navy.

Table 1: Comparison of Mission
Capable Rates Used to Calculate                Mission capable rates             Total JPATS aircraft
Requirements With Rates                                                                 requirements       Difference
Contractually Required for JPATS
                                   JPATS contract                          94%                   362
                                   Air Force used to calculate
                                   requirements                            91%                   372               10
                                   JPATS contract                          94%                   318
                                   Navy used to calculate
                                   requirements                            80%                   368               50



Attrition Rates Were Not           The attrition rate used by the Air Force to calculate the number of JPATS
Consistent With Historical         aircraft needed was more than twice the attrition rate of its current
Rates and Conflicted With          primary trainer that was placed in service in the late 1950s. The Air Force
                                   estimated that 1.5 JPATS aircraft would be lost or damaged beyond repair
DOD Data                           for every 100,000 flying hours. However, the historic attrition rate for the
                                   current primary trainer is 0.7 per 100,000 flying hours. Although DOD
                                   advised us that single-engine trainers such as JPATS are expected to have
                                   higher attrition rates than two-engine trainers such as the T-37B, we note
                                   that important JPATS features are increases in safety and reliability,
                                   including fewer in-flight engine shutdowns and other equipment failures.
                                   In addition, use of an advanced ground based training system, being
                                   acquired as part of the JPATS program, is expected to result in greater pilot
                                   familiarity with the aircraft’s operation prior to actual flights.

                                   Data provided by the Navy and DOD regarding attrition rates are
                                   conflicting. For example, the Navy’s calculations in 1996 used an attrition
                                   rate of 1.5 aircraft per 100,000 flight hours to calculate the required
                                   quantity of JPATS aircraft. To derive this rate, the Navy factored in the
                                   attrition experience of the existing T-34C trainer, using a lifetime attrition
                                   rate of 0.4 per 100,000 flight hours. However, in commenting on a draft of
                                   this report, DOD stated that the lifetime attrition rate for the T-34C is 2.1
                                   aircraft per 100,000 flying hours and the Navy provided data that it
                                   believed supported this rate. However, our analysis showed that the data




                                   Page 5                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
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                                           supported a rate of 3.6 aircraft per 100,0000 flying hours, which differs
                                           from both the Navy and DOD figure.


                                           The JPATS aircraft procurement plan does not take advantage of the most
DOD Is Not Taking                          favorable prices provided by the contract. The contract includes annual
Advantage of the Most                      options with predetermined prices for aircraft orders of variable
Favorable Prices                           quantities. Procurement of fewer than the target quantity can result in a
                                           unit price increase from 1 to 52 percent. Procurement above the target
                                           quantity, or at the maximum quantity, however, provides very little
                                           additional price reduction.

                                           The contract contains unit price charts for the variation in quantities
                                           specified in lots II through VIII. The charts contain pricing factors for
                                           various production lot quantity sizes that are used in calculating unit
                                           prices based on previous aircraft purchases. The charts are designed so
                                           that the unit price increases if the number of aircraft procured are fewer
                                           than target quantities and decreases if quantities procured are more than
                                           target quantities.

                                           As shown in table 2, lots II through IV have been exercised at the
                                           maximum quantities of 2 (plus 1 developmental aircraft), 6, and 15.
                                           According to the procurement plan, 18 aircraft are to be procured during
                                           fiscal year 1998 and 12 aircraft during fiscal year 1999, resulting in a total
                                           of 30 aircraft. All of these aircraft are being procured by the Air Force. In
                                           fiscal year 2000, the Navy is scheduled to begin procuring JPATS aircraft.


Table 2: Variation in Unit Prices for Selected Procurement Quantities of JPATS Aircraft
Fiscal year and                           Minimum           Target        Maximum          Procurement               Planned
procurement lot number                     quantity       quantity         quantity               plan              unit price
1995 (lot II) development aircraft                1                   1               1               1a           $8,873,398a
1995 (lot II)                                     1                   2               2               2a           $8,004,807a
                                                                                                       a
1996 (lot III)                                    1                   3               6               6            $5,019,140a
1997 (lot IV)                                     9                  12               15            15a            $3,148,953a
1998 (lot V)                                     12                  18               22            18             $2,748,590
1999 (lot VI)                                    12                  18               22            12             $2,904,649
2000 (lot VII)                                   22                  32               40            26             $2,627,519
2001 (lot VIII)                                  44                  54               62            58             $2,510,351
                                           a
                                               Actual numbers of aircraft procured.




                                           Page 6                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
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                                     Our analysis shows that DOD can make better use of the price advantages
                                     that are included in the JPATS contract. For example, as shown in table 3,
                                     30 aircraft can be procured more economically if 16, rather than 18,
                                     aircraft are procured in fiscal year 1998 and 14, rather than 12, aircraft are
                                     procured in fiscal year 1999. If as few as 16 aircraft were procured in fiscal
                                     year 1998, they could be acquired at the same unit price as currently
                                     planned because the unit price would not increase until fewer than
                                     16 JPATS aircraft were procured in fiscal year 1998. Deferring 2 aircraft
                                     from fiscal year 1998 to fiscal year 1999 would increase the quantity in
                                     fiscal year 1999 from 12 to 14, resulting in a reduction of the unit price for
                                     fiscal year 1999, from $2.905 million to $2.785 million. This deferral would
                                     not only save $1.360 million over the 2 years but also reduce the risk of
                                     buying aircraft before the completion of operational testing by delaying
                                     the purchase of two aircraft and permitting more testing to be completed.

Table 3: Fiscal Year 1998 and 1999
JPATS Unit Prices at Various                                       Fiscal year 1998        Fiscal year 1999                   Total
Quantities                           Planned quantity                              18                     12                    30
                                     Unit cost                           $2,748,590              $2,904,649
                                     Total cost                         $49,474,620             $34,855,788            $84,330,408
                                     Our alternative                               16                     14                    30
                                     Unit cost                           $2,748,590              $2,785,200
                                     Total cost                         $43,977,440             $38,992,800            $82,970,240
                                     Savings                             $5,497,180             ($4,137,012)             $1,360,168

                                     DOD could also save money if it altered its plans to procure 26 aircraft in
                                     fiscal year 2000, which is a quantity lower than the target of 32 aircraft.
                                     The unit price could be reduced by $104,212, or 4 percent, if DOD procured
                                     the target quantity.

                                     In addition, once the JPATS aircraft successfully completes operational test
                                     and evaluation, the aircraft could be procured at the more economical, or
                                     target, rates. Our analysis demonstrates that maintaining yearly production
                                     rates at least within the target range is more economical than production
                                     rates in the minimum range. As we previously reported, economical
                                     procurement of tested systems has often been hindered because DOD did
                                     not provide them with high enough priority.4




                                     4
                                      Weapons Acquisition: Better Use of Limited DOD Acquisition Funding Would Reduce Costs
                                     (GAO/NSIAD-97-23, Feb. 13, 1997).



                                     Page 7                                                     GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
                        B-277337




                        The JPATS cockpit is expected to meet DOD’s requirement that it
JPATS Aircraft Is       accommodate at least 80 percent of the eligible female pilot population.
Expected to Meet        Pilot size, as defined by the JPATS anthropometric characteristics,
Female Cockpit          determines the percentage of pilots that can be accommodated in the JPATS
                        cockpit. JPATS program officials estimate that the planned cockpit
Accommodation           dimensions will accommodate approximately 97 percent of the eligible
Requirement             female population anthropometrically. The minimum design weight of the
                        JPATS ejection seat (116 pounds) will accommodate 80 percent of the
                        eligible female population.

                        Because concerns have been raised about the ability of JPATS aircraft to
                        accommodate female pilots, Congress directed DOD to conduct studies to
                        determine the appropriate percentage of male and female pilots that could
                        be accommodated in the cockpit. A DOD triservice working group studied
                        the issue and concluded that a 32.8-inch minimum sitting height, instead of
                        34 inches, is one of several variables that would allow for accommodation
                        of at least 80 percent of the eligible female population. The DOD working
                        group determined that this change in sitting height would not require
                        major development or significantly increase program risk. Thus, the Office
                        of the Secretary of Defense established 32.8 inches as the new JPATS
                        minimum sitting height requirement. In addition, the minimum weight
                        requirement for the JPATS ejection seat was lowered from 135 pounds to
                        116 pounds to accommodate 80 percent of the eligible female population.
                        Another study is being conducted to investigate the potential, at minimum
                        additional cost, for an ejection seat with a lighter minimum weight limit
                        that might accommodate more than 80 percent of the female pilot trainee
                        population. Phase one of that study is scheduled to be completed in the
                        fall of 1997.


                        DOD is proceeding with plans to procure a fleet of JPATS aircraft that may
Conclusions and         exceed the quantity needed to meet training requirements. Until
Recommendations         inconsistencies in the data used to calculate JPATS requirements are
                        resolved, it is unclear how many aircraft should be procured. Furthermore,
                        DOD’s schedule for procuring the aircraft does not take advantage of the
                        most economical approach that would allow it to save money and permit
                        more time for operational testing. We, therefore, recommend that the
                        Secretary of Defense

                    •   determine the appropriate attrition rates and mission capable rates to
                        calculate JPATS requirements, taking into account the planned




                        Page 8                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
                         B-277337




                         improvements in JPATS safety, reliability, and maintainability, and
                         recalculate the requirements as appropriate and
                     •   direct the Air Force to revise the JPATS procurement plan to take better
                         advantage of price advantages in the contract, and upon successful
                         completion of operational test and evaluation, acquire JPATS aircraft at the
                         most economical target quantity unit prices provided by the contract.


                         In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD did not agree with our
Agency Comments          conclusion that DOD overstated JPATS requirements or with our
and Our Evaluation       recommendation that the Secretary of Defense direct the Air Force and
                         the Navy to recalculate aircraft requirements. DOD partially concurred with
                         our recommendation to buy JPATS aircraft at the most economical target
                         unit prices provided in the contract.

                         DOD believed that the Air Force and the Navy used appropriate attrition
                         rates and mission capable rates to calculate JPATS requirements and that
                         these rates accounted for improvements in technology and mechanical
                         reliability. It noted that we had incorrectly identified the T-34C aircraft
                         attrition rate as 0.4 aircraft per 100,000 flying hours rather than 2.1 aircraft
                         per 100,000 flying hours. The Navy provided data that it believed
                         supported DOD’s position, but our analysis showed that this data supported
                         an attrition rate that differed from both the Navy and DOD rate.
                         Furthermore, DOD stated that the 94-percent mission capable rate cited in
                         the JPATS contract is achievable only under optimal conditions and that the
                         lower mission capable rates used by the Air Force and the Navy are based
                         on the maximum possible aircraft use at the training sites. Although DOD
                         stated that the Navy used a mission capable rate of 87 percent, our
                         analysis showed that the Navy used a rate of 80 percent. Because of the
                         inconsistencies and conflicts in the attrition and mission capable rate data
                         between DOD and the services, we revised our conclusion to state that,
                         until these discrepancies are resolved, it is unclear how many aircraft
                         should be procured and revised our recommendation to call for the
                         Secretary of Defense to determine the appropriate rates and recalculate
                         JPATS requirements as appropriate.


                         DOD agreed that procuring aircraft at the most economical price is
                         desirable and stated that it will endeavor to follow this approach in future
                         JPATS procurement. It, however, noted that competing budget requirements
                         significantly affect procurement rates of all DOD systems and that limited
                         resources generally make procurement at the most economical rates
                         unachievable. DOD’s written comments are reprinted in appendix I.



                         Page 9                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
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              To review service calculations of JPATS requirements, DOD’s procurement
Scope and     schedule for the aircraft, and efforts to design the JPATS cockpit to
Methodology   accommodate female pilots, we interviewed knowledgeable officials and
              reviewed relevant documentation at the Office of the Under Secretary of
              Defense (Acquisition and Technology) and the Office of the Secretary of
              the Air Force, Washington D.C.; the Training Systems Program Office,
              Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; the Air Force Air Education and
              Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; the Navy Chief of
              Naval Air Training Office, Corpus Christi, Texas; and the Raytheon Aircraft
              Company, Wichita, Kansas. We examined Air Force and Navy justifications
              for using specific attrition rates, mission capable rates, and flying hour
              numbers in determining aircraft quantities. We also analyzed the variation
              in quantity unit price charts in the procurement contract to determine the
              most economical way to procure JPATS aircraft. In addition, we reviewed
              congressional language on cockpit accommodation requirements and
              current program estimates of compliance with that requirement.

              This review was conducted from September 1996 to July 1997 in
              accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


              As the head of a federal agency, you are required under 31 U.S.C. 720 to
              submit a written statement on actions taken on our recommendations to
              the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee
              on Government Reform and Oversight no later than 60 days after the date
              of this report. A written statement must also be submitted to the Senate
              and House Committees on Appropriations with an agency’s first request
              for appropriations made more than 60 days after the date of this report.

              We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of the Navy and the
              Air Force and to interested congressional committees. We will also make
              copies available to others upon request.




              Page 10                                       GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
B-277337




Please contact me at (202) 521-4587 if you or your staff have any questions
concerning this report. The major contributors to this report were
Robert D. Murphy, Myra A. Watts, and Don M. Springman.

Sincerely yours,




David E. Cooper
Associate Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues




Page 11                                       GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
Appendix I

Comments From the Department of Defense


Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in
the report text appear at
the end of this appendix.




See comment 1.



See comment 2.




See comment 3.




                            Page 12   GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
Appendix I
Comments From the Department of Defense




Page 13                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
                 Appendix I
                 Comments From the Department of Defense




See comment 1.



See comment 4.




See comment 2.




                 Page 14                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
                        Appendix I
                        Comments From the Department of Defense




See comment 2.




See comment 2.




See comment 5.




See comment 3.




See comments 1 and 4.




                        Page 15                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
                        Appendix I
                        Comments From the Department of Defense




See comments 2 and 5.




See comment 5.




See comment 3.




                        Page 16                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
               Appendix I
               Comments From the Department of Defense




               The following are GAO’s comments on the Department of Defense’s (DOD)
               letter dated July 17, 1997.


               1. The Navy, in deriving the projected attrition rate of 1.5 aircraft losses
GAO Comments   per 100,000 flying hours for Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS)
               aircraft, used a 0.4-lifetime attrition rate for the T-34C in determining total
               aircraft requirements. DOD, in its response to our draft of this report, stated
               that the actual lifetime attrition rate for the T-34C is 2.1; however, the data
               provided to support that rate indicated an attrition rate of 3.6 aircraft per
               100,000 flying hours. Because the attrition rate figures provided to us for
               the Navy’s T-34 differ substantially, the Air Force’s estimated attrition for
               JPATS aircraft is twice the rate experienced on the T-37, and the Air Force’s
               Air Education and Training Command has revised its calculations of
               requirements, we believe reassessment of requirements for JPATS aircraft is
               needed.

               2. The JPATS production contract specifies the aircraft shall meet or exceed
               a 94-percent mission capable rate for the total hours the aircraft is in the
               inventory and does not specify the severity of conditions. Although the
               Navy now maintains that its requirement was for a primary trainer aircraft
               with an 87-percent mission capable rate, the Navy used, and continues to
               use, an 80-percent mission capable rate in calculating JPATS aircraft
               quantity requirements. The latest JPATS Operational Requirements
               Document, issued December 1996, shows an 80-percent mission capable
               rate for the Navy, not 87 percent as indicated in DOD’s response to our draft
               report.

               3. We recognize that limited resources and competing budget requirements
               affect production rates; however, the point we made was that DOD’s
               procurement plan (the future years defense plan) for acquisition of JPATS
               aircraft did not make the best use of the limited resources that had already
               been assigned to the JPATS program. Our report, on page 6, illustrates how,
               with fewer resources, the Air Force could have acquired the same number
               of aircraft over a 2-year period. The illustration is valid, in that it shows
               that the DOD procurement plan was not the most effective and that it
               should be reassessed. Indeed, the procurement quantities in the plan for
               fiscal years 1999 and 2000 continue to include insufficient quantities for
               DOD to take advantage of the most favorable prices in the contract, and
               without a reassessment and a change to the plan, Congress may need to
               ensure that resources are used most effectively.




               Page 17                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
               Appendix I
               Comments From the Department of Defense




               4. DOD did not provide us information to show how historical data for
               single-engine trainer aircraft were used to predict the JPATS rate of
               1.5 losses per 100,000 flight hours. We believe that a predicted attrition
               rate for JPATS aircraft that is twice that of 40-year old T-37 trainers does not
               account for improvements that are to be incorporated in JPATS aircraft.

               5. We do not believe it is premature at this time to reassess JPATS
               requirements. We believe reassessment is needed now because

           •   the Navy has provided several different attrition rates, all of which are
               intended to represent T-34 historical experience;
           •   the proposed JPATS attrition rate is twice the historical rate of the Air Force
               T-37; and
           •   the Air Force and the Navy continue to project different mission capable
               rates for JPATS aircraft that are lower than the rate the aircraft is required
               to demonstrate under the contract.

               We agree that, as experience is gained with the JPATS aircraft, the
               quantities should also be reassessed periodically.




(707207)       Page 18                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-172 Trainer Aircraft
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