The Army Should Confirm Sergeant York Defense Gun's Reliability and Maintainability Before Exercising Next Production Option

MASAD-83-8: Published: Jan 27, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 1983.

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GAO discussed the need to demonstrate the Sergeant York air defense gun's reliability, availability, maintainability, and durability (RAM-D) before the Army exercises the 2-year production option.

GAO found that the Army's plans to test the reliability and maintainability of its new Sergeant York air defense gun were abandoned when the prototype the prime contractor delivered for testing was found to be unacceptable. Some reliability tests are being done under joint direction of the prime contractor and the project manager, which is a departure from the normal weapon system acquisition procedure of having new weapons systems tested and evaluated by Army agencies operating independently of the project manager. Canceling the Government's RAM-D tests has caused some concern among officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense who earlier supported Sergeant York's initial production. The Army has no plans to have its test and evaluation agencies perform reliability and maintainability tests until after initial production units become available. Canceling the government's RAM-D tests is disconcerting since it indicates that at this late date the contractor's prototype still has some serious deficiencies. The strategy for procuring Sergeant York is unique. It leaves the contractor with full responsibility to design and produce a defense gun to meet general Army performance requirements. Throughout its development the Army has adopted a hands-off policy. Since the acquisition strategy still has to run its course, an assessment of its success or failure is premature.

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 require the Army to have the project manager prepare an assessment of the Sergeant York's progress in the RAM-D tests that the contractor is doing and to have this report forwarded to the Under Secretary of the Army before the date for exercising the second production option comes due.

    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, in whatever maintenance concept it elects to adopt, to provide for stationing some of the test equipment in the direct support area where it can be proven out before a final decision on its location is made.

    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 refrain from again prescribing or endorsing the acquisition strategy followed in Sergeant York until the benefits of its application to that program can be evaluated.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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