Precious Parts

$16 one year, $3,033 the next

The frequency with which the final costs of multibillion-dollar weapons systems balloon far beyond original estimates is an all too familiar Pentagon embarrassment. Air Force auditors think they have put a finger on a related problem: the multiplying price of mundane spare parts.

At Oklahoma's Tinker Air Force Base, watchdogs programmed their computers to detect increases of 300% or more in the cost of spare parts for aircraft engines charged by the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Group of United Technologies in fiscal year 1982. The results, said an auditor, were "staggering." Robert S. Hancock, an official...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!