Decisions To Be Made in Charting Future of DOD's Assault Breaker

MASAD-81-9: Published: Feb 28, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1981.

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Major issues concerning the future of the Department of Defense (DOD) Assault Breaker Program were reviewed. Assault Breaker is a concept using standoff weapons to attack moving, rear echelon armor massed deep behind enemy lines. Presently, the only nonnuclear means for attacking these targets is by the use of manned, penetrating aircraft. The advantage of Assault Breaker is that it would permit attacking these targets with standoff weapons. In this concept, different types of weapons are deployed from a communications control network. A uniquely high rate of kill is obtained at a much smaller risk and cost than present weapons permit.

DOD faces major decisions before committing large resources to Assault Breaker development including: (1) whether the testing planned in advanced development is sufficient to demonstrate the feasibility of the Assault Breaker concept before full-scale engineering development is to begin; (2) how Assault Breaker compares in cost effectiveness to other weapons that could attack rear echelon armor; and (3) how Assault Breaker's development should be managed. It is too early to assess whether Assault Breaker will fulfill its technical promise. As presently conceived, the system may incorporate assets of both the Army and the Air Force and should, therefore, involve the two services in the integrated testing of the subsystem.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should improve the basis for investment decisions on Assault Breaker and competing programs by establishing an office to centrally manage the development of the Assault Breaker program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should improve the basis for investment decisions on Assault Breaker and competing programs by coordinating Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, and Air Force cost and effectiveness analyses of antiarmor weapons for attacking rear echelons to require similar scope, assumptions, and methodology to the extent practicable so that their relative contributions to combat effectiveness and their cost can be compared and conclusions drawn for the best combinations of weapons to procure.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should improve the basis for investment decisions on Assault Breaker and competing programs by reviewing plans for the advanced development testing of Assault Breaker to assure that they will be sufficient to demonstrate the feasibility of the Assault Breaker concept before a decision is made on beginning full-scale development.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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