oversight

F-22 Aircraft: Issues in Achieving Engineering and Manufacturing Development Goals

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-03-15.

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

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to Congressional Committees




March 1999
                  F-22 AIRCRAFT

                  Issues in Achieving
                  Engineering and
                  Manufacturing
                  Development Goals




GAO/NSIAD-99-55
                   United States
GAO                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548                                                                      Leter




                   National Security and
                   International Affairs Division                                                              Leter




                   B-280222

                   March 15, 1999

                   Congressional Committees

                   As required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998
                   (P.L. 105-85), we reviewed the Air Force’s F-22 engineering and
                   manufacturing development (EMD) program. This report, an update to a
                   report we issued last year,1 presents our conclusions regarding whether the
                   Air Force is likely to complete the EMD program without exceeding the
                   cost limitation established by the act. The act also requires us to certify
                   whether we had access to sufficient information to make informed
                   judgments on matters covered by this report.



Results in Brief   The Air Force estimates it can complete F-22 EMD within the cost
                   limitation. However, during much of 1998, the F-22 contractor cost and
                   schedule plans, as defined in 1997, were not fully accomplished. Costs
                   exceeded the budgets established to accomplish planned work, and work
                   planned was not always completed on schedule. The Air Force viewed the
                   potential for further cost growth as a threat to completing EMD within the
                   cost limitation. Although the Air Force devised ways to avoid and reduce
                   costs, we question whether EMD, as planned, can be completed within the
                   cost limitation. Our conclusion is based on the following:

                   • Cost reviews by the Air Force and the contractors in 1998 identified a
                     potential program cost growth of $482 million that, if not addressed,
                     could increase program costs above the cost limitation of
                     $18.939 billion. Air Force and contractor plans to address this potential
                     cost growth have not all been finalized. These plans include eliminating
                     some planned EMD activities. Further, unless the plans are successful,
                     additional measures will be necessary to reduce costs.
                   • The contractor has notified the Air Force that F-22 EMD program costs
                     may increase if sales of C-130J aircraft, which are manufactured in the
                     same plant as the F-22, are lower than anticipated because the F-22
                     program will have to absorb a higher share of the plant’s overhead costs.
                   • Deliveries and first flights of the next four flight-test aircraft are
                     expected to be late, reducing flight-testing time available before planned
                     EMD completion. Unless the Air Force can successfully compress or


                   1
                    F-22 Aircraft: Progress in Achieving Engineering and Manufacturing Development Goals
                   (GAO/NSIAD-98-67, Mar. 10, 1998).




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               reduce the remaining flight tests to complete EMD as scheduled, EMD
               costs will increase.
             • There have been delays in developing the F-22’s integrated avionics2
               systems, and the schedule for completing avionics development appears
               unrealistic. If avionics development requires an extension of EMD,
               additional costs will be incurred.

             The Air Force currently estimates that the F-22 will meet or exceed all its
             required performance parameters. The estimates are based on computer
             simulations, studies, and flight-test data. The Air Force expects additional
             flight testing to confirm the estimates. As of December 1998, the Air Force
             had completed about 200 flight-test hours and the selected performance
             demonstrations and events required by the Under Secretary of Defense for
             Acquisition and Technology before F-22 production activities begin. In
             December 1998, the Secretary of Defense submitted a report about F-22
             testing and production risks to the Congress, and the Air Force awarded a
             contract to initiate production activities.

             The Air Force and the contractors gave us access to sufficient information
             to make informed judgments on the matters covered in this report.



Background   The F-22 is an air superiority aircraft with advanced technology features,
             including integrated avionics. The objectives of the F-22 EMD program,
             which began in 1991, are to (1) design, fabricate, test, and deliver 9 F-22
             flight-test vehicles, 2 ground-test vehicles, and 26 flight-qualified engines;
             (2) design, fabricate, integrate, and test the avionics suite; and (3) design,
             develop, and test the support and training systems. The F-22 is being
             developed under cost-type contracts with Lockheed Martin Corporation
             (for the aircraft) and Pratt & Whitney Corporation (for the engines).

             Concerned about the growing costs of the F-22 program, the Assistant
             Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition in June 1996 established the Joint
             Estimating Team (JET) to estimate the most probable cost of the F-22 EMD
             and production programs. The team consisted of personnel from the Air
             Force, the Department of Defense (DOD), and private industry.


             2
               F-22 avionics are expected to be much more advanced than those of previous fighter aircraft. A
             common computer, rather than multiple computers, will receive, process, and display information to
             minimize the pilot’s workload and provide previously unmatched awareness of potential threats and
             targets.




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The JET concluded in 1997 that additional time would be required to
complete EMD and estimated that EMD costs would increase to
$18.688 billion. The JET recommended several changes to the program’s
schedule, including slower manufacturing for a more efficient transition
from development to low-rate initial production and an additional
12 months to complete avionics development. The JET did not recommend
changing F-22 performance goals. The Air Force and the Under Secretary
of Defense for Acquisition and Technology generally adopted the JET’s
recommendations3 to extend the F-22 EMD schedule, including the dates
for accomplishing interim events and completing EMD. We used the cost
and schedule plans established in 1997 as a result of the JET study as an
analytical baseline to assess whether cost and schedule goals for F-22 EMD
are being met.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 established a
cost limitation of $18.688 billion (an amount that mirrored the JET
estimate) for the F-22 EMD program and $43.4 billion for the F-22
production program. The act instructed the Secretary of the Air Force to
adjust the cost limitations for the amounts of increases or decreases in
costs attributable to economic inflation after September 30, 1997, and
compliance with changes in federal, state, and local laws enacted after
September 30, 1997. Since then, the Air Force has adjusted the EMD
program’s cost limitation to $18.939 billion.

In May 1998, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and
Technology directed the Secretary of the Air Force to modify the F-22’s
acquisition strategy. This direction designated the first two aircraft as
production representative test vehicles and the purchase of six aircraft as
the first low-rate initial production lot. It also required the Air Force to
brief the Defense Acquisition Board in November 1998 on the progress
made toward meeting performance criteria established in the directive.
The criteria were to

• initiate flight testing of the second EMD aircraft;
• conduct flight operations on the first two EMD aircraft, including flight
  operations at specified speeds and altitudes, the first air refueling, the
  first supersonic flight, the first flight above 30,000 feet, and the first
  flight above an 18-degree angle of attack;


3
 For more information on the JET’s recommendations, see Tactical Aircraft: Restructuring of the Air
Force F-22 Fighter Program (GAO/NSIAD-97-156, June 4, 1997).




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• complete full ground vibration tests on the first EMD aircraft;
• complete the critical design review for block 2 avionics; and
• complete initial release of the first block of software to the flying test
  bed.4

The Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 1999 (P.L. 105-261), prohibited the Air Force from obligating funds for
advance procurement of the first six production aircraft until the Secretary
of Defense submitted a report that either

• certified that 433 flight-test hours (about 10 percent of the planned
  flight-test program) were completed or
• identified the number of flight-test hours completed, the reasons for the
  Secretary’s determination that fewer than 433 flight-test hours are
  sufficient to decide to proceed to production, the extent to which the
  Secretary’s determination is consistent with each major aircraft
  acquisition decision made by the Defense Acquisition Board since
  January 1997, the amount of flight testing completed that was or was not
  sufficient to justify a decision to proceed to low-rate initial production
  (applies to major aircraft acquisition programs), and a determination by
  the Secretary that it is more financially advantageous for the
  Department to proceed to production than to delay production until
  completion of 433 hours of flight testing, together with the reasons for
  that determination.

As of December 1998, the Air Force had accepted two flight-test aircraft
and completed about 200 flight-test hours, about 5 percent of the total
planned flight-test hours for the EMD program. In December 1998, the
Secretary of Defense submitted a report to the Congress as required by the
Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999,
and the Air Force awarded contracts for two production representative test
aircraft and to initiate production activities for six production aircraft.

Through fiscal year 1999, the Congress had appropriated about $15.6 billion
for F-22 EMD, or 82 percent of the cost limitation. About $3.3 billion
remained to be appropriated.




4
  The flying test bed is a Boeing 757 designed to test avionics before they are installed on the EMD
aircraft.




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Extent to Which the         Contractor cost experience and studies in 1998 indicated cost growth
                            threatened the Air Force’s ability to complete EMD within the
F-22 Program Is             $18.939 billion cost limitation. As of January 1999, the Air Force estimated
Meeting the Cost Goal       that the F-22 EMD program will cost $18.911 billion, $28 million less than
                            the cost limitation. However, the Air Force and Lockheed Martin have
for the EMD Program         identified potential program cost growth of $482 million. Successful
                            implementation of plans to reduce the cost growth is essential if the
                            program is to be completed within the cost limitation. A factor the Air
                            Force did not consider in its estimate of potential cost growth was the
                            possibility that the F-22 program may have to absorb a higher share of the
                            manufacturing plant’s overhead costs if the contractor does not sell enough
                            C-130J aircraft, which are produced at the same plant as the F-22.


Contractor Costs Exceeded   Lockheed Martin reports to the Air Force monthly concerning its progress
Budgets for Planned Work    compared with planned costs and schedules. These reports define the cost
                            and schedule variances from the contract plans. Through 1998, Lockheed
                            Martin reports showed a worsening trend of costs that exceeded its
                            budgets for work that had been completed. For example, through January
                            1998, Lockheed Martin reported that costs exceeded its budgets by
                            $14.4 million. By June 1998, costs exceeded budgets by $93.3 million.


Studies Identified          In early 1998, because contractor costs were exceeding budgets and
Additional Potential Cost   planned work was behind schedule, Lockheed Martin and the Air Force
                            studied the EMD program’s estimated costs and identified potential cost
Growth
                            growth of $482 million.5 A Lockheed Martin team identified potential cost
                            growth of about $240 million, and an Air Force team identified an
                            additional potential cost growth of $242 million. As a result of these
                            studies, Lockheed Martin requested in November 1998 that the Air Force
                            add $240 million to the EMD contract. Air Force officials advised us,
                            however, that the increase may be less than $240 million. The Air Force




                            5
                              Air Force and contractor evaluations indicated potential cost growth of $667 million, which could be
                            offset by $185 million in management reserves available in the contract price. The net growth,
                            accordingly, is about $482 million.




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                             plans to reallocate funds within the total program to accommodate the cost
                             growth and keep the EMD cost within the congressional limitation.6

                             The primary causes for the potential cost growth were identified as
                             (1) designing, modifying, and manufacturing airframe7 components and
                             (2) developing and integrating the avionics. Cost growth for the airframe
                             was attributed to problems in manufacturing the castings that attach the
                             wing to the aircraft’s body, the aft fuselage, the horizontal tails, and the
                             engine air inlets; more manufacturing changes than anticipated; and
                             additional required analyses. Avionics development experienced cost
                             growth because of problems with the technical complexities of the system
                             and the delivery by subcontractors of insufficiently developed software.


Plans to Address Potential   Because cost growth of $482 million would cause the EMD program to
Cost Growth                  exceed the cost limitation, the Air Force has developed plans to reduce
                             F-22 EMD costs. Plans call for eliminating and deferring program elements.
                             For example, planned actions include

                             • deferring external weapons testing until after EMD is completed
                               ($140 million),
                             • reassessing the effort required to conduct flight testing for use of a
                               helmet targeting system and the AIM-9X missile and reducing the
                               estimated cost of testing ($110 million),
                             • reducing contractor laboratory costs for the test program ($100 million),
                             • reducing other government costs such as special studies ($50 million),
                               and
                             • implementing Lockheed Martin cost reduction plans ($80 million).

                             According to the Air Force, testing to certify that the F-22 can effectively
                             use externally mounted weapons will be deferred until after EMD is
                             completed. Regarding the $80 million in potential reductions expected to
                             come from Lockheed Martin’s cost reduction plans, the contractor said that
                             it had validated only $20 million as firm cost reductions through November
                             1998.


                             6In February 1999, the Air Force stated that additional costs would be incurred because of problems
                             manufacturing wings. The Air Force estimated that additional cost growth of $22 million will occur in
                             addition to the potential cost growth identified in 1998. As a result, the Air Force will be required to
                             identify offsets to remain within the cost limitation.

                             7
                                 Airframe refers only to the structural part of the aircraft.




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Potential Impact of C-130J   The potential cost growth identified by the Air Force and contractor does
Sales on Program             not include the effects that lower than anticipated sales of C-130J cargo
                             aircraft by Lockheed Martin may have on F-22 program costs. Lockheed
                             Martin, which produces the C-130J and the F-22 in its Marietta, Georgia,
                             plant, has notified the Air Force that the F-22 EMD program will have to
                             absorb a higher share of the plant’s overhead costs if fewer C-130Js are sold
                             than expected. The Air Force has not taken into account the potential
                             impact of this cost increase, which could amount to between
                             $150-$160 million per year if C-130J production were to cease, according to
                             the Defense Contract Management Command in Marietta. DOD officials
                             advised us that increased costs would have to be absorbed only partially by
                             the F-22 EMD program and that other business may develop. They
                             indicated that Lockheed Martin was negotiating with several foreign
                             governments for potential sales of C-130J’s.



Extent to Which the          The Air Force is not achieving several of the planned events that were
                             established in 1997 as a result of the JET review. In particular, planned
F-22 Program Is              events for producing EMD aircraft and developing avionics were not being
Meeting the Schedule         met through December 1998. One effect of this is that test aircraft are
                             being delivered later than planned, thus preventing flight-test activities
Goals for the EMD            from being completed as planned. In March 1998 we reported that there
Program                      were delays in achieving these milestones.8


Contractor Did Not           Through 1998, Lockheed Martin reports showed a worsening trend in the
Accomplish Work as           accomplishment of its planned work. For example, through January 1998,
                             Lockheed Martin reported that it had not completed planned work valued
Scheduled
                             at $70.9 million. By June 1998, it reported that the value of planned work
                             not accomplished had increased to $111.5 million.


Manufacturing Problems       The first two F-22 EMD aircraft were flight-tested through most of
Caused Late Deliveries and   December 1998. The first aircraft began flight tests about 3 months later
                             than planned, but the second aircraft began testing on time. Because of
Reduced Flight- and
                             manufacturing problems, however, the Air Force estimates that the next
Ground-Testing Time          four flight-test aircraft will be delivered late. Flight testing is expected to


                             8
                               F-22 Aircraft: Progress in Achieving Engineering and Manufacturing Development Goals
                             (GAO/NSIAD-98-67, Mar. 10, 1998).




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begin between 2 weeks and over 5 months later than was planned in 1997.
Also, the two ground-test aircraft are expected to start testing 6 to
8 months later. As a result, the Air Force has 16.9 fewer flight-test months
available to complete the flight-test program. Air Force officials said they
have eliminated the impact of this reduced time by making some flight-test
aircraft available for testing for longer periods than previously planned and
by deferring some testing until after the EMD program is completed.
According to the officials, the Air Force is also studying ways to reduce the
required flight-test hours. If the Air Force plan to revise the flight-test
schedule is not successful, additional deferments, or deletions will be
needed to remain within the cost limitation.

Table 1 compares the 1997 scheduled first flight dates with the expected
first flight dates as of January 1999.



Table 1: Comparison of Schedules for First Flights of EMD Aircraft

                           First flight as      Expected first flight    Months of delay in
EMD aircraft               scheduled in 1997    as of January 1999              first flight
4001                       May 29, 1997         September 7, 1997a                       3.3
4002                       July 9, 1998         June 29, 1998a                          -0.3
4003                       June 16, 1999        November 22, 1999                        5.2
4004                       August 17, 1999      February 3, 2000                         5.6
4005                       January 11, 2000     March 31, 2000                           2.7
4006                       May 18, 2000         May 30, 2000                             0.4
4007                       September 25, 2000   September 25, 2000                        0
4008                       February 2, 2001     February 2, 2001                          0
4009                 June 1, 2001          June 1, 2001                                   0
Total aircraft flight test months of delay                                             16.9
aActual   date of first flight.


The delays in first flights are being caused by problems in manufacturing
wings and fuselages. Wings are expected to be delivered later than the 1997
schedule because of problems with the development and manufacture of
large titanium castings that attach the wing to the aircraft’s body. As of
January 1999, the Air Force and the contractor were working to resolve the
problem. The Air Force expected Lockheed Martin to receive the wings for
the next four flight-test aircraft and both ground-test articles between




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                          2 weeks and over 6 months late.9 The Air Force also expected the aft
                          fuselage—the rear aircraft body section—to be delivered late for the next
                          four flight-test aircraft and two ground-test articles because of late
                          deliveries of parts and welding difficulties caused by the very small
                          tolerances allowed when fitting fuselage parts together. Air Force officials
                          said they had identified a solution to the welding problem.


Avionics Development Is   Development of avionics systems for the F-22 is behind the 1997 schedule.
Behind Schedule           Although radar system development activities have been completed
                          generally on schedule, development problems with the communication,
                          navigation, and identification and the electronic warfare systems10 have
                          caused schedule delays and cost growth in avionics development.
                          Lockheed Martin and the Air Force have included these cost increases in
                          their estimates of potential cost growth.

                          Because of these problems, the Air Force developed a new avionics
                          schedule in August 1998, allocating more time to complete the first two
                          major avionics segments, known as blocks 1 and 2.11 The subcontractors
                          for both systems have had problems integrating the various modules and
                          sections of the software, so the process is taking longer than expected.
                          Several communication, navigation, and identification sensors failed
                          testing and have required further development time and effort. Electronic
                          warfare hardware problems have been reportedly caused by problems such
                          as faulty designs of some sections and late supplier deliveries.
                          Furthermore, officials at Boeing Military Aircraft, a subcontractor that
                          operates a key avionics integration laboratory, told us they have been
                          receiving late deliveries of software that is insufficiently developed. This
                          has added to the time and effort needed to integrate the avionics software.




                          9
                           In February 1999, the Air Force stated that wings for the third through the sixth test aircraft will be
                          delayed 10 to 15 weeks more than anticipated by the revised schedule. They also said they were
                          pursuing mitigation actions to avoid further delays in first flights.

                          10The  communication, navigation, and identification system integrates these three functions to give
                          pilots greater awareness of the surrounding situation. The electronic warfare system warns the pilot of
                          air or ground radar and missile threats and provides countermeasures.

                          11
                            Blocks 1, 2, 3S, 3, and 3.1 are each designed to have increased capability over the previous block. The
                          last phase of development for each block begins when it is placed on the aircraft for testing.




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Revised Avionics Schedule   The Air Force’s August 1998 revised schedule postponed the planned
Appears Unrealistic         completion dates for blocks 1 and 2 but did not change the completion
                            dates for subsequent blocks 3 and 3.1,12 even though the majority of initial
                            software development tasks related to these last two segments have been
                            delayed between 1 and 18 months. In 1997, the JET had concluded that
                            avionics development could take as much as 12 months more than planned
                            because of delays in all four avionics blocks (1, 2, 3, and 3.1).

                            Even though blocks 1 and 2 are behind schedule and will probably be
                            completed later than planned in 1997, the revised schedule shows avionics
                            blocks 3 and 3.1 being completed over 5 months before the completion
                            dates that the JET considered realistic in 1997. If blocks 3 and 3.1 take
                            longer than planned to be completed under the revised schedule, additional
                            costs will be incurred.


Significance of Avionics    Integrated avionics is a critical technology advancement for the F-22, and
Flight Testing              substantial flight testing is planned to demonstrate and evaluate its
                            capability. The Air Force has planned a substantially higher number of
                            avionics flight-test hours in the F-22 program than in previous fighter
                            programs. Table 2 compares F-22 avionics flight-test hours to those of
                            other fighter programs.




                            12
                              The revised schedule also adds block 3S between blocks 2 and 3. In adding this block, the Air Force
                            moved some block 3 activities ahead for earlier evaluation. This did not, however, change the planned
                            completion date for block 3 activities.




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                        Table 2: Avionics Flight-Test Hours Planned for the F-22 and Completed by Other
                        Fighter Aircraft Programs

                        Aircraft type                   Number of test aircraft       Avionics flight hours
                        F-14                                                 4                       1,168
                        F-15                                                 3                         819
                        F-16                                                 1                         488
                        F-18                                                 1                         591
                        F-22                                                 6                       1,574




Extent to Which the     In December 1998, the Air Force estimated that by the end of the EMD
                        program, the F-22 would meet or exceed the goals for the major
F-22 Program Is         performance parameters. These include 10 parameters on which the Air
Meeting the             Force reports regularly to DOD and 2 additional performance features we
                        reviewed that relate to other critical characteristics of the F-22. The Air
Performance Goals for   Force performance estimates were based on flight-test data, computer
the EMD Program         models, ground tests, and analyses.

                        As we reported last year, we reviewed 2 additional features—situational
                        awareness and low observability—that are not among the 10 major
                        performance parameters but that both the Air Force and we consider
                        critical for the aircraft’s ability to operate as intended. We are therefore
                        reporting on the Air Force’s progress in developing these two features.
                        Greater situational awareness improves response time to threats,
                        increasing the lethality and survivability of the aircraft, while the aircraft’s
                        low observable, or stealth, features allow it to evade detection by enemy
                        aircraft and surface-to-air missiles.

                        The 10 parameters and 2 additional features, shown in table 3, are
                        described in detail in appendix I. Table 3 shows the goal for each
                        parameter, the estimated performance achieved for each parameter as of
                        December 1998, and the Air Force’s current estimate of the performance
                        each parameter is expected to achieve by the end of the EMD program.
                        Most of the goals and related performance information are classified and
                        are therefore shown as percentages rather than numbers.




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                                Table 3: Estimates of Performance for Selected Parameters and for Additional
                                Features

                                Key performance         Goal (acquisition Estimated                      Estimate at EMD
                                parameters              program baseline) performance 12/98              completion
                                Supercruise             100%                   115%                      115%
                                Acceleration            100%                   115%                      115%
                                Maneuverability         100%                   104%                      104%
                                Airlift support         8                      7.7                       7.7
                                (C-141 equivalents)
                                Sortie generation       100%                   100%                      100%
                                rate
                                Radar cross section     100%                   Favorable                 Favorable
                                (front sector only)
                                Mean time between 3.0                          3.1                       3.1
                                maintenance (hours)
                                Payload (missiles)      4 medium range         6 medium range            6 medium range
                                                        2 short range          2 short range             2 short range
                                Combat radius           100%                   124%                      124%
                                Radar detection         100%                   117%                      117%
                                range
                                Additional features                            Estimated           Current estimate at
                                reviewed by GAO         Goala                  performance to date EMD completion
                                Situational             100%                   Favorable                 Favorable
                                awareness
                                Low observability       100%                   Favorable                 Favorable
                                a
                                 These goals are not acquisition program baseline numbers. We assigned a value of 100 percent to
                                evaluate the features.




Initial Production Activities   The Air Force accomplished the test events required by the Under
Approved                        Secretary of Defense and achieved about 200 hours of flight testing through
                                December 1998. The Air Force briefed the Under Secretary on the results of
                                the accomplishments on December 17, 1998. On December 23, 1998, the
                                Secretary of Defense reported to the Congress that the F-22 program was
                                meeting its objectives and that the risk of producing two production
                                representative test aircraft and obligating advance procurement funds for
                                the first six production aircraft was acceptable. The Under Secretary
                                approved award of the contracts for the two production representative test
                                aircraft and the advance procurement for the first six production aircraft.




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Conclusions           It is unlikely that the Air Force will be able to complete the F-22 EMD
                      program, as planned, within the cost limitation set by the National Defense
                      Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998. Our conclusion is based on
                      incomplete Air Force cost reduction plans, the potential for increased
                      overhead costs if C-130J sales are lower than expected, late deliveries and
                      first flights of EMD aircraft, reduced flight-test months, schedule delays in
                      developing avionics, and a revised avionics schedule that is not realistic.

                      The Air Force has revised its avionics development schedule by postponing
                      dates for early development activities but not for later tasks. It has thus
                      compressed the schedule in a way that may not be realistic, especially
                      considering the delays experienced so far and the high number of avionics
                      flight-test hours planned. If it takes longer to complete avionics
                      development than planned, additional costs will be incurred or actions will
                      be necessary to address these costs.

                      The Air Force is estimating that the F-22 will meet or exceed all its required
                      performance parameters. Through December 1998, about 5 percent of the
                      flight-test program had been completed to verify these estimates.



Recommendations       We recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the Air
                      Force to formulate a more realistic avionics development schedule. We
                      recommend that in doing so, the Secretary consider the progress to date,
                      the JET’s avionics schedule, and the impact a more realistic schedule
                      would have on the EMD program’s estimated cost.

                      We also recommend that the Secretary of Defense evaluate how decisions
                      regarding C-130J production are likely to impact F-22 EMD and assess the
                      Air Force’s ability to negate additional overhead costs that may be
                      allocated to F-22 EMD.




Agency Comments and   DOD agreed that avionics development and integration is a challenging
                      area for the F-22 program and that reduced quantities of C-130J aircraft
Our Evaluation        could have a cost impact on the F-22 EMD program.

                      DOD did not agree that the Secretary of Defense should, at this time, direct
                      the Secretary of the Air Force to formulate a more realistic avionics



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schedule. DOD officials said the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
and the Air Force are both aware that schedule pressures resulting from
emphasis on block 1 avionics will have an impact on development and
integration of later software blocks. Because the Office of the Under
Secretary of Defense is aware of potential impacts and is monitoring Air
Force efforts to mitigate any further schedule impacts, DOD officials
believe it is unnecessary at this time for DOD to issue further guidance to
the Air Force about the need to keep the F-22 program on schedule and
within available funding.

We believe DOD needs to ensure that a realistic avionics development
schedule is formulated and that DOD is aware of any subsequent impact on
the program schedule or estimated program cost. We continue to believe
the recommendation is valid, although we understand that the intent of the
recommendation may be achievable without issuing formal guidance to the
Secretary of the Air Force.

DOD partially agreed with our recommendation to evaluate how decisions
regarding C-130J production are likely to impact the F-22 EMD program
and assess the Air Force’s ability to nullify additional overhead costs that
may be allocated to the F-22 EMD program. DOD agreed that a significant
change to previously anticipated C-130J production volume would have an
adverse impact on the F-22 program. Until a specific C-130J buy profile is
available and overhead rates associated with that profile are calculated,
DOD said it would be unable to determine the specific impact on the F-22
program. DOD also said that programs at Lockheed Martin other than the
C-130J could impact the F-22 EMD program.

DOD said its ability to nullify/offset additional overhead costs is limited
only by the number of cost reduction plans that can be generated, funded,
and successfully implemented. DOD said the Air Force and Lockheed
Martin are continually searching for opportunities to reduce the cost of the
F-22 program.

We continue to believe that the Secretary of Defense should assess how
changes in Lockheed Martin’s overall business base would affect the F-22
EMD program. Because the Air Force estimates the F-22 EMD program is
near its cost limitation, any significant impact as a result of changes in
Lockheed Martin’s business base could require the Air Force to identify
mitigation actions to remain within the cost limitation. Therefore, we




Page 14                                           GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
B-280222




believe our recommendation is still appropriate, as the assessment must be
completed in time for the Air Force to act on its results.

DOD’s comments are included in appendix III of this report.


We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense and the
Air Force and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. Copies will
also be made available to others on request.

Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any questions
concerning this report. Major contributors to this report are listed in
appendix IV.




Louis J. Rodrigues
Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues




Page 15                                          GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
B-280222




List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable John W. Warner
Chairman
The Honorable Carl Levin
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Ted Stevens
Chairman
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Floyd D. Spence
Chairman
The Honorable Ike Skelton
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives

The Honorable Jerry Lewis
Chairman
The Honorable John P. Murtha
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives




Page 16                            GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Contents



Letter                                                                                              1


Appendix I                                                                                         19
F-22 Performance
Parameters

Appendix II                                                                                        24
Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology

Appendix III                                                                                       26
Comments From the
Department of Defense

Appendix IV                                                                                        30
Major Contributors to
This Report

Related GAO Products                                                                               32


Tables                   Table 1: Comparison of Schedules for First Flights of EMD Aircraft         8
                         Table 2: Avionics Flight-Test Hours Planned for the F-22 and
                           Completed by Other Fighter Aircraft Programs                            11
                         Table 3: Estimates of Performance for Selected Parameters and for
                           Additional Features                                                     12
                         Table I.1: F-22 Performance Parameters and Major Subparameters            23




                         Page 17                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Abbreviations

DOD         Department of Defense
EMD         engineering and manufacturing development
JET         Joint Estimating Team
RCS         radar cross section



Page 18                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix I

F-22 Performance Parameters                                                                                               AppenIx
                                                                                                                                di




Supercruise       Supercruise is the aircraft’s ability to sustain supersonic (greater than
                  mach 1)1 speed without using its afterburners. Supercruise saves fuel and
                  helps reduce the aircraft’s infrared signature, thus making the F-22 harder
                  for the enemy to detect. The goal for the F-22 is to supercruise at a speed
                  considerably greater than mach 1 in a stable, level flight at an altitude of
                  40,000 feet. The Air Force estimates the F-22 will exceed the supercruise
                  goal by about 15 percent. This estimate was determined through an
                  analysis of computer models and flight testing completed so far. The
                  computer models use data such as the engines’ thrust and fuel flow
                  characteristics. Flight testing of the aircraft propulsion characteristics
                  began in 1998 and is scheduled to continue into the second quarter of 2000.



Acceleration      Acceleration is a key parameter because the F-22 must fly faster than
                  enemy aircraft and exit an area quickly after it employs air-to-air or
                  air-to-ground munitions. The acceleration parameter refers to the amount
                  of time it takes the aircraft to go from 0.8 mach to 1.5 mach speed at an
                  altitude of 30,000 feet. The Air Force estimates that the F-22 will exceed its
                  acceleration goal. This estimate was determined through an analysis of
                  computer models, propulsion ground testing, and flight testing. Flight
                  testing of the aircraft’s propulsion characteristics began in 1998 and is
                  scheduled to continue into the second quarter of 2000.



Maneuverability   Maneuverability is the maximum force the aircraft can generate while
                  turning at 0.9 mach speed at an altitude of 30,000 feet without losing speed
                  or altitude. Many additional measures of aircraft maneuverability exist, but
                  the Air Force has determined that this measurement is the most
                  appropriate to demonstrate the F-22’s overall maneuverability under key
                  flight conditions. The Air Force estimates the F-22 will exceed its
                  maneuverability goal by 4 percent. The estimate was determined through
                  an analysis of computer models with data on the major subparameters
                  affecting maneuverability and flight testing. Flight performance testing
                  began in 1998 and is scheduled to end in the third quarter of 2001.




                  1
                      The ratio of the speed of the aircraft to the speed of sound. Mach 1 is about 738 miles per hour.




                  Page 19                                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
                         Appendix I
                         F-22 Performance Parameters




Airlift Support          This parameter measures the number of C-141 transport aircraft
                         equivalents required to deploy and maintain a squadron of 24 F-22 aircraft
                         for 30 days without resupply. The goal is to be able to provide this support
                         with no more than 8 C-141 equivalents, thereby reducing the assets needed
                         to deploy and the deployment costs. The Air Force estimates the F-22 will
                         require less than 8 C-141 equivalents. A squadron of F-15 aircraft requires
                         19 C-141 equivalents. The F-22 estimate will not be verified until a mobility
                         demonstration takes place in 2004, when the 24th production aircraft is
                         scheduled to be delivered.



Sortie Generation Rate   Sortie generation rate is the average number of sorties or missions that can
                         be flown per aircraft per day in the first 6 days of a conflict. This parameter
                         measures the degree to which the F-22 will be available during the first few
                         days of a conflict to achieve and maintain air superiority. The Air Force
                         estimates the F-22 will meet the sortie generation rate goal. This estimate
                         was based on the results of a computer model using data on maintenance
                         characteristics, the availability of support equipment and resources, and
                         aircraft maintenance policy. F-22 maintainability demonstrations to verify
                         the estimates are scheduled to be completed by 2002.



Radar Cross Section      The radar cross section (RCS) parameter essentially refers to how large the
                         F-22 appears to enemy radar. The smaller an aircraft’s RCS, the harder it is
                         for enemy radar to detect and track the aircraft. A small RCS, along with
                         several other factors,2 contributes to an aircraft’s low observable, or
                         stealth, characteristics. Although an aircraft has over 200 RCS
                         measurement points, the Air Force considers what is known as the front
                         sector RCS—how the aircraft is viewed from the front by enemy radar—the
                         most important one. The Air Force estimates that the F-22’s front sector
                         RCS will be smaller than its goal. The estimates were based on component
                         models that predict the RCS of major components, such as wings and
                         engine inlets, and use this data to predict the RCS of an entire aircraft. RCS
                         design validation and specification compliance activities are also being
                         conducted with a full-scale model of an F-22. This testing will continue into
                         1999. In-flight measurements are scheduled to begin in 2000.



                         2
                             These include infrared signature, electromagnetic signature, acoustic level, and visibility.




                         Page 20                                                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
                    Appendix I
                    F-22 Performance Parameters




Mean Time Between   Mean time between maintenance is a measure of aircraft reliability defined
                    as the total number of aircraft flight hours divided by the total number of
Maintenance         aircraft maintenance actions in the same period. The F-22’s goal is 3 flight
                    hours between maintenance actions by the time the F-22 reaches system
                    maturity (100,000 flight hours, in about 2008). The Air Force estimates that
                    by the time the F-22 reaches system maturity, it will only require
                    maintenance every 3.1 flight hours. The estimate was calculated using a
                    reliability computer model that uses factors such as the design of the
                    aircraft’s systems and scheduled maintenance activities. Maintenance data
                    will be collected from the 500th through the 5,000th hour of flight testing
                    throughout the development and operational flight-testing phases to update
                    the maintenance estimate. To verify the requirements, data will continue to
                    be collected through system maturity.



Payload             The payload parameter is the number of medium- and short-range air-to-air
                    missiles the F-22 can carry when performing an air superiority mission
                    without attacking ground targets. Payload is a key parameter because the
                    F-22 is designed to carry missiles in its internal weapons bay, not
                    externally. Carrying weapons externally increases an aircraft’s RCS and
                    allows easier detection by enemy radar. The Air Force estimates that the
                    F-22 will meet the payload goal of carrying six AIM-120C medium-range
                    missiles and two AIM-9X short-range missiles internally. Weapons bay
                    testing is scheduled for mid-2000 to determine how well the missiles can
                    exit the weapons bay when launched.



Combat Radius       Combat radius is the number of nautical miles the F-22 must fly to achieve
                    its primary mission of air superiority. This requires the F-22 to fly a certain
                    distance subsonically (below mach 1 speed) and a certain distance
                    supersonically. The Air Force estimates that the F-22 will exceed its
                    combat radius goal by 24 percent. According to the Air Force, unfavorable
                    estimates for two of three major subparameters—fuel usage and aircraft
                    weight—are not unfavorable enough to prevent the F-22 from meeting its
                    combat radius goal. Performance flight testing to help compute the
                    aircraft’s combat radius performance, as well as other aerodynamic
                    capabilities, began in 1998 and will continue into the third quarter of 2001.




                    Page 21                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
                        Appendix I
                        F-22 Performance Parameters




Radar Detection Range   Radar detection range is the number of nautical miles from which the F-22
                        should be able to detect potential enemy threats or targets. The aircraft’s
                        radar must be able to detect enemy targets that have small radar signatures
                        at sufficient distance to ensure that the aircraft can engage the enemy first.
                        The Air Force estimates that the F-22’s radar will exceed the established
                        goal by 17 percent. This estimate is based on digital simulations, models,
                        and flying test-bed flight-test results dedicated to radar testing. Radar
                        detection performance is scheduled to be verified against the simulations
                        and models in an avionics laboratory until the third quarter of 1999. Actual
                        flight testing of the radar in F-22 EMD aircraft is scheduled to begin in 1999
                        and continue until at least the second quarter of 2001.



Situational Awareness   The situational awareness parameter refers to how the F-22’s sensors and
                        avionics systems can make pilots aware of the surrounding situation. The
                        planned integration of avionics systems and sensors is meant to
                        (1) minimize the pilot’s own management and interpretation of sensors and
                        (2) provide previously unmatched awareness of potential threats and
                        targets. According to the Air Force’s estimates of the major avionics
                        subparameters affecting situational awareness (including radar; electronic
                        warfare; and communication, navigation, and identification systems), the
                        F-22 will meet the situational awareness goal. Development of the
                        integrated avionics, however, is still in the early stages, and the first major
                        segment of avionics is not scheduled to be ready for placement on EMD
                        flight-test aircraft until April 1999, with four subsequent major segments
                        (blocks 2, 3S, 3, and 3.1) still to be completed. Block 3.1 is not scheduled
                        for placement on EMD flight-test aircraft until April 2001.



Low Observability       Low observability refers to the aircraft’s “stealth,” or its ability to evade
                        detection by enemy radar long enough to be the first to detect the enemy
                        and fire. Five features contribute to an aircraft’s observability: its RCS and
                        its infrared, electromagnetic, visual, and acoustic signatures. The F-22
                        does not have a requirement for acoustic signature. The Air Force
                        estimates that the F-22 will meet the low-observability performance goals.
                        Specification compliance of the most critical feature, RCS, is being
                        checked with a full-scale model of an F-22 and will continue into 1999.
                        In-flight RCS measurements will begin in 2000 and continue into 2002.
                        Flight testing to measure the F-22’s infrared signature is scheduled for the
                        third quarter of 1999.




                        Page 22                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix I
F-22 Performance Parameters




Table I.1: F-22 Performance Parameters and Major Subparameters

Performance parameter                  Major subparameter
Supercruise                            Engine thrust
Acceleration                           Aircraft weight
Maneuverability                        Airframe drag
Airlift support                        Number of support equipment items
                                       Airlift loads required to deploy support
                                       equipment
                                       Maintenance manpower required
Sortie generation rate                 Mean time between maintenance
                                       Maintenance personnel hours/flying hour
                                       Number of support equipment items
                                       Maintenance personnel required
Radar cross section                    27 subparameters
Mean time between maintenance          Airframe
                                       Avionics
                                       Engines
Payload                                No subparameters
Combat radius                          Fuel usage
                                       Aircraft weight
                                       Airframe drag
Radar detection range                  Range in searching for targets
                                       Range in searching for targets by tracking
                                       target speed
                                       Time taken to search for targets
                                       Time taken to search for targets by tracking
                                       target speed
Additional features measured by GAO    Major subparameter
Situational awareness                  Radar function
                                       Electronic warfare function
                                       Communication, navigation, and
                                       identification functions
Low observability                      Infrared signature
                                       Electromagnetic emissions signature
                                       Visual signature
                                       Radar cross section




Page 23                                                GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix II

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                                          AppeInx
                                                                                                  Idi




              Our objectives were to determine whether the Air Force is likely to
              complete the F-22 EMD program within the congressional cost limitation.

              To determine whether the program is likely to meet the cost limitation, we
              examined (1) the extent to which the EMD cost goals are being met; (2) Air
              Force plans to fund the program for the following year; and (3) the
              consistency between the program funding plan and the cost limitation. We
              compared the estimated cost at completion for the prime contracts with
              planned amounts, evaluated cost variances identified in the contractors’
              cost reporting system, and reviewed the status of initiatives designed to
              avoid cost growth.

              To determine whether the program is expected to meet schedule goals, we
              reviewed the program and avionics schedules and discussed potential
              changes to these schedules with F-22 program officials. We also tracked
              progress in the flight-test program. In addition, we evaluated schedule
              variances in the contractors’ performance management system and
              compared planned milestone accomplishment dates with actual dates. We
              tracked technical problems in manufacturing and assembling the EMD
              aircraft.

              To determine whether the program is expected to meet the F-22
              performance goals, we analyzed information on the performance of key
              performance parameters and of those important subparameters that are
              measured. To determine whether estimated performance had changed, we
              compared the Air Force’s current estimate for these parameters with
              previous estimates.

              To evaluate the bases for the Air Force’s current performance estimates, we
              collected information on the goals established for those major performance
              subparameters that are critical components of performance parameters.
              To determine whether the Air Force estimates seemed reasonable, we
              collected and analyzed information on Air Force estimates, as of December
              1998, toward meeting the goals of these subparameters. For example, each
              major subparameter for airlift support--the number of airlift support
              equipment items, the airlift loads needed to transport support equipment
              items, and the maintenance personnel required for a squadron of
              F-22s--has its own performance goal, just as the overall parameter has a
              performance goal. The performance parameters and their associated
              subparameters are shown in table I.1.




              Page 24                                          GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix II
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




In performing our work, we obtained information and interviewed officials
from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington D.C.; the F-22
System Program Office, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; the
Defense Contract Management Command, Marietta, Georgia; Lockheed
Martin Aeronautical Systems, Marietta, Georgia; Lockheed Martin Tactical
Aircraft Systems, Fort Worth, Texas; and Boeing Military Aircraft, Seattle,
Washington. We performed our work from April 1998 through March 1999
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




Page 25                                          GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix III

Comments From the Department of Defense                    AppIeInx
                                                                  di




               Page 26         GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix III
Comments From the Department of Defense




Page 27                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
                Appendix III
                Comments From the Department of Defense




Now on p. 13.




                Page 28                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
                Appendix III
                Comments From the Department of Defense




Now on p. 13.




                Page 29                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Appendix IV

Major Contributors to This Report                                            AppeV
                                                                                 nx
                                                                                  Idi




National Security and   David E. Cooper
                        Robert D. Murphy
International Affairs
Division, Washington,
D.C.

Atlanta Field Office    Christopher T. Brannon



Chicago Field Office    Leonard L. Benson
                        Edward R. Browning
                        Don M. Springman



Office of the General   William T. Woods

Counsel, Washington,
D.C.




                        Page 30                  GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Page 31   GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
Related GAO Products


                   F-22 Aircraft: Progress of the Engineering and Manufacturing Program
                   (GAO/T-NSIAD-98-137, Mar. 25, 1998).

                   F-22 Aircraft: Progress in Achieving Engineering and Manufacturing
                   Development Goals (GAO/NSIAD-98-67, Mar. 10, 1998).

                   Tactical Aircraft: Restructuring of the Air Force F-22 Fighter Program
                   (GAO/NSIAD-97-156, June 4, 1997).

                   Defense Aircraft Investments: Major Program Commitments Based on
                   Optimistic Budget Projections (GAO/T-NSIAD-97-103, Mar. 5, 1997).

                   F-22 Restructuring (GAO/NSIAD-97-100R, Feb. 28, 1997).

                   Tactical Aircraft: Concurrency in Development and Production of F-22
                   Aircraft Should Be Reduced (GAO/NSIAD-95-59, Apr. 19, 1995).

                   Air Force F-22 Embedded Computers (GAO/AIMD-94-177R, Sept. 20, 1994).

                   Tactical Aircraft: F-15 Replacement Issues (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-176, May 5,
                   1994).

                   Tactical Aircraft: F-15 Replacement Is Premature as Currently Planned
                   (GAO/NSIAD-94-118, March 25, 1994).

                   Aircraft Development: Reasons for Recent Cost Growth in the Advanced
                   Tactical Fighter Program (GAO/NSIAD-91-138, Feb. 1, 1991).

                   Aircraft Development: Navy’s Participation in Air Force’s Advanced
                   Tactical Fighter Program (GAO/NSIAD-90-54, Mar.7, 1990).

                   Aircraft Development: The Advanced Tactical Fighter’s Costs, Schedule,
                   and Performance Goals (GAO/NSIAD-88-76, Jan.13, 1988).

                   Aircraft Procurement: Status and Cost of Air Force Fighter Procurement
                   (GAO/NSIAD-87-121, Apr. 14, 1987).

                   DOD Acquisition: Case Study of the Advanced Tactical Fighter Program
                   (GAO/NSIAD-86-45S-12, Aug. 25, 1986).




(707344)   Leter   Page 32                                          GAO/NSIAD-99-55 F-22 Aircraft
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