Defense Plans To Deploy Some Cruise Missiles Before They Are Ready

C-MASAD-82-15: Published: Feb 26, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 1982.

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GAO evaluated the Tomahawk cruise missile program. These missiles, designed to deliver nuclear or conventional warheads, can be launched from the air, sea, or ground. Five variants of the missile are being acquired for use against various land and sea targets.

Because of two test failures, the Tomahawk conventional land attack cruise missile's full-scale production decision has been delayed. If deployed as currently scheduled, the missile will not be fully capable because: (1) it cannot effectively attack certain important targets with the attack options and conventional warheads currently available; (2) it will not be able to attack most potential targets in certain geographic areas, because guidance maps have not been prepared; and (3) questions concerning the missile's survivability remain unresolved. Recent test results show problems in the Tomahawk's targeting accuracy. In addition, there are questions concerning the missile's survivability, the fact that the number of missiles currently approved may not be adequate to satisfy mission needs, and the fact that recent Navy studies indicate that disabling a target is not a simple matter. The principal issue in the ground launched cruise missile program is the total number which will eventually be required. Since development of the medium range air-to-surface missile began, the Navy has repeatedly attempted to avoid funding its portion of the program cost, raising questions about the Navy's need and commitment to the procurement. Although the program is in full-scale engineering development, it has not yet been included in the Selected Acquisitions Reporting system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. 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 direct the Secretary of the Navy to limit fiscal year 1983 and later year production rates of the Tomahawk conventional land attack missile to those which can be effectively used against a wide spectrum of high value targets.

    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 direct the Secretary of the Navy to establish a total inventory objective for the Tomahawk missile which is based upon its limitations and potential additions to its target base. Any changes which result, in terms of numbers needed and its affect on program cost, should be included in the Selected Acquisition Reporting system.

    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 reevaluate the Navy's need for the medium range air-to-surface missile. If the need for the missile is reaffirmed, the Secretary should ensure that adequate funding is provided by the Navy to meet the missile's projected deployment date or revise the scheduled deployment date as appropriate. The Secretary should also require that the medium range air-to-surface missile be included in the Selected Acquisition Reporting system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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