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Air Traffic Control: FAA's Advanced Automation System Acquisition Strategy Is Risky

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Citation Edit

General Accounting Office, Air Traffic Control: FAA's Advanced Automation System Acquisition Strategy Is Risky (IMTEC-86-24; B-206887) (July 8, 1986) (full-text).

Overview Edit

The GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) acquisition of the Advanced Automation System (AAS) to determine whether it is a technically and economically sound investment.

The GAO found that: (1) the current AAS acquisition strategy does not adequately mitigate technical risks and does not provide for suitable operational simulation of the advanced automation features; and (2) AAS, as currently planned, may not be economically justified. The GAO believes that the FAA strategy has unacceptably high risks and may result in significant cost increases, schedule delays, and performance deficiencies.

The GAO also believes that: (1) a fixed price for untested hardware may result in higher costs because the contractor's risk may be reflected in higher fixed prices to compensate for the system's unproven producibility; (2) requirement changes to correct performance problems can lead to significant additional costs even in a fixed-price contract; (3) software, which constitutes a major portion of AAS development, and cost risk will be developed using a cost-plus type contract; and (4) having only one contractor during the concurrent development, test, and production phase limits risk-reduction opportunities typically achieved through cost and technical competition.

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