US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that the
DOD will limit the annual production quantities of the Joint
Strike Fighter (JSF) to no more than 24 aircraft per year
until each variant’s basic flying qualities have been
demonstrated in flight testing now scheduled in the 2010 time
frame. DOD non-concurred, believing its current strategy provides
a balance of technical risk, financial constraints.
The research determines that that total program acquisition
costs (through 2027) soared by $31.6 billion, resulting in a
12 percent cost increase, per aircraft (based on 2004 estimates).
Furthermore, despite reaching a major milestone flying
the first development aircraft, schedules established in
2004 have not been met. Despite these delays, the program still
plans to complete development in 2013, compressing the amount
of time available for flight testing and development activities,
meeting all but one key performance requirement.
continues to pursue a risky acquisition strategy that concurrently
develops and produces aircraft" the GAO study determines.
While some concurrency may be beneficial to efficiently transition
from development to production, the degree of overlap is significant
on this program. Any changes in design and manufacturing that
require modifications to delivered aircraft or to tooling and
manufacturing processes would result in increased costs and
delays in getting capabilities to the warfighter. Low-rate initial
production will begin this year with almost the entire 7-year
flight test program remaining to confirm the aircraft design.
Confidence that investment decisions will deliver expected capability
within cost and schedule goals increases as testing proves the
JSF will work as expected. The JSF program also faces funding
uncertainties as it will demand unprecedented funding over the
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its
study of the $623 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program today (March
15, 2007). This is the third report mandated by US Congress.
Its purpose was to review the program’s progress in meeting
cost, schedule, and performance goals since 2004, when the JSF
program was rebaselined to address technical challenges, cost
increases, and schedule overruns.