GAO challenges STARS' cost

The General Accounting Office is questioning the FAA's life-cycle cost estimate for STARS, the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, which is intended to replace some outdated air traffic control equipment.

When it was awarded to Raytheon Co. in September 1996, the estimated value of the STARS contract was $952 million.

The FAA now estimates the remaining program costs to total about $2.54 billion from fiscal 2004 through 2030, the GAO report said, including $153 million annually in 2004 through 2008 to finish development and deployment.

But the new price tag is based on Raytheon's proposals and projects, which include the cost of major modifications to the project. The agency itself "has not yet independently analyzed these proposals and projects as its guidance directs, and therefore does not know whether the development cost estimate of $153 million is reliable," the report said. *

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