Wide Area Antiarmor Munitions

C-MASAD-83-12: Published: Jan 26, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 26, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Air Force's Wide Area Antiarmor Munitions (WAAM) program. WAAM is a family of area munitions being developed to provide the tactical air forces a multiple-kill capability against tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery, and support vehicles.

The present WAAM program consists of the: (1) Antiarmor Cluster Munition, which is in full scale development; (2) Extended Range Antiarmor Munition, which recently completed the validation phase; and (3) Wasp, which is in its third year of the validation phase. GAO stated that the WAAM program may eventually provide the tactical air forces a class of weapons to combat superior numbers of ground forces. However, the Antiarmor Cluster Munitions program should be terminated. As designed, it will not provide the multiple kills per pass the tactical air forces need, and it is no better than inventory or near-term antiarmor weapons. GAO concluded that, while the Extended Range Antiarmor Munition and Wasp programs look promising, it is too early to forecast success for them. Before committing major funds to these programs, the Air Force should validate the critical technology and demonstrate that the operational techniques are feasible.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not authorized or appropriated fiscal year 1984 funds for continued work on the systems that GAO reviewed under the Wide Area Antiarmor Munitions program.

    Matter: Congress should not appropriate any additional funds for the Antiarmor Cluster Munition system and should require that the Secretary of Defense explicitly account for any unobligated funds previously appropriated for acquisition of this system.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not authorized fiscal year 1984 funds for continued work on the systems that GAO reviewed under the Wide Area Antiarmor Munitions System program. The Air Force discontinued work on the Extended Range Antiarmor Munitions System and Wasp, except for the Millimeter Wave Guidance project and sensor-fused weapons which Congress agreed to fund. This is consistent with the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Air Force to validate critical technology and demonstrate operationally effective delivery concepts of the Extended Range Antiarmor Munition and Wasp before making major commitments of funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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