Stinger POST Air Defense Missile:

Potential Production Problems and Planned Improvements

C-MASAD-83-10: Published: Jan 26, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 26, 1983.

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The Army has recently completed development of the Stinger passive optical seeker technique (POST) air defense missile, which provides better performance in coping with certain threats than an earlier version of Stinger now in production. The estimated program acquisition cost is about $3.4 billion.

GAO found that production uncertainties exist which could significantly affect program costs and delay procuring the quantity of missiles desired. The uncertainties relate to the difficulty of producing the ultraviolet detector and other critical seeker components in sufficient quantities to permit a high rate of production. The manufacturing processes tried so far have produced very low yields of high quality materials and components. GAO stated that, unless the yields can be increased, the quantity of missiles the Army hopes to obtain will cost more and take longer to produce. Consequently, the Army is attempting to refine the manufacturing processes and it will try to effect more economical production microelectronic chips and printed circuit boards. However, improvements in the program are expected to add $422 million to the program acquisition program.

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 Army to determine that satisfactory progress has been made toward resolving the Stinger POST production problems before committing the system to full-scale production.

    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 Army to assess the desirability of accelerating the improvement programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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