Progress and Problems of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Program

C-MASAD-81-6: Published: Feb 23, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 23, 1981.

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The Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) is being developed as an all-weather, air-to-air missile responding to Air Force and Navy operational requirements for the 1985-2005 timeframe. Operating within and beyond visual range, AMRAAM is to be compatible with the F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18 and other appropriate aircraft. It is intended to replace the aging SPARROW medium range air-to-air missile. GAO was severely hampered in its review of AMRAAM because the Air Force withheld most of the current cost, schedule, and performance data on the basis of the data being competition sensitive. Therefore, the program's status could not be fully assessed.

The following problems related to the AMRAAM program were identified: (1) the Air Force and Navy may be unable to fully test AMRAAM during full-scale engineering development because of deficiencies in high altitude, high speed targets; (2) operational questions exist regarding the full use of AMRAAM in a beyond visual range role; and (3) the total costs related to AMRAAM have not been estimated, but available information shows that total costs will be much more than the $3.9 billion life-cycle cost forecasted in January 1979.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency did not concur and plans to continue the development of the target under its existing program schedule.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should align the development schedule for the high-altitude, high-speed target with the AMRAAM full-scale engineering development schedule.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should urge the adoption of rules-of-engagement, pending improved identification, friend, or foe capability, which permit optimum employment of such air superiority systems as AMRAAM.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should provide Congress with the total estimated cost of development, procurement, and deployment of AMRAAM, including the associated aircraft modification costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency does not concur and believes that the ground-based scoring, in conjunction with other systems, will meet the test requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should reconsider the need for high-altitude, high-speed target subsystems, such as improved radar and infrared augmentation, cooperative vector scoring, and threat-representative countermeasures, in order to adequately test the operational capabilities of AMRAAM.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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