Tactical Aircraft Investments: DOD Needs Additional Portfolio Analysis to Inform Future Budget Decisions
, 2022-12-20 17:13:21,
What GAO Found
Tactical aircraft—fixed-wing fighter and attack planes—provide air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic warfare capabilities that are vital to combat operations and homeland defense. Recent studies conducted by the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Staff and the military services have found that DOD needs to modernize its tactical aircraft fleet. Seven of eight studies found that existing aircraft did not have the capabilities needed to compete in future combat scenarios and some noted the need to invest in advanced technologies to address future needs. Three of the studies, which the Navy prepared, identified shortfalls in the Navy’s capacity, or inventory of tactical aircraft.
Over the next 5 years, the military services are proposing to acquire new aircraft while modernizing existing ones. Overall, the Air Force and Navy expect to spend roughly $20 billion annually across the tactical aircraft portfolio through 2027 to develop and produce new aircraft (see figure). At the same time, the services are proposing to retire a significant number of aircraft, reducing overall tactical aircraft capacity.
Departments of Air Force and Navy Tactical Aircraft Acquisition Funding Plans, Fiscal Years 2023-2027
DOD is making significant development and procurement investments but has not yet conducted integrated acquisition portfolio-level analyses of its tactical aircraft platforms. GAO has long reported on needed improvements to DOD’s portfolio…
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