WASHINGTON (AFP) - Many major US weapons programs are running over budget and lagging behind promised production schedules, a report by an independent US auditor said Monday.
The cost of the 96 largest defense programs reached 1.6 trillion dollars in fiscal year 2008, 25 percent higher than planned under initial budgets, said the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress.
For these weapons projects, "the average delay in delivering initial capabilities has increased to 22 months," the GAO report said.
The cost overruns and delays were partly due to older weapons programs, with newer projects tending to operate more within planned budgets and production schedules, it said.
The report comes as President Barack Obama's administration seeks to scale back some costly weapons programs in the vast US defense budget, the world's largest.