Procurement, Modification, and Use of the OH-58 Helicopter

MASAD-82-44: Published: Aug 12, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the benefits of the Army's continued investment in modernizing the light observation OH-58 helicopter and determined why the Army purchased the helicopter before testing it to ensure that it would meet the Army's needs.

The records indicate that the Army tested the helicopter and concluded that it did meet its requirements and that it was capable of performing its assigned mission. However, the tests were not conducted until after the production contract was awarded. Normally, in a major weapon system development, such tests are made or begun before production is approved. In this instance, the contractor had been producing a commercial model from which the helicopter was to be derived, and the Army believed it sufficient to limit itself to flight testing of the commercial model and to evaluating the contractor's technical proposal for the light observation helicopter. Based on these evaluations and the tests performed after the contract award on an OH-58 production model, the Army determined that the helicopter met its requirements.

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