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The GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) voice communications equipment replacement plans. The FAA planned a two-phased effort to replace existing leased telephone switching and FAA-owned radio control equipment. Some of the equipment would be replaced during the early 1980s with interim leased or purchased equipment while the Voice Switching and Control System (VSCS) was being developed. The interim equipment would be replaced with VSCS during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The interim and VSCS equipment are to be computer-controlled for automated circuit reconfigurations.
The GAO felt that VSCS is not required because: (1) the current type of equipment, rather than computer-controlled equipment, would satisfy the requirement; (2) much of the in-use equipment would last for many years; and (3) the replacement of older equipment with off-the-shelf equipment, rather than VSCS, would be more cost effective. The FAA cost-benefit study did not adequately support the VSCS because of errors and omissions.
Further, the proposed contract specifications would likely attract only one qualified bidder. the GAO recommended that the FAA discontinue research and development on VSCS and cancel its planned purchase, use off-the-shelf equipment to obtain needed equipment, and revise the draft specifications for the interim equipment to allow for more competition and to control costs.