Fire Support System:

Army's Plans To Improve Its Fire Support Capabilities

NSIAD-86-116BR: Published: Sep 19, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Army's plan to provide interim automated fire support capabilities for its light and heavy divisions.

GAO found that, in the early 1980's, the Army provided most heavy divisions and one light division with an automated artillery fire command and control (C2) system. The Army is developing a new system with improved mobility and capability called the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS); however, most of the light divisions do not have an automated fire support C2 capability and AFATDS is not scheduled to be fielded before 1990. In determining the interim solution for light divisions, the Army must decide between low-cost and low-risk equipment with limited capability and a system which would provide greater capability at increased cost and fielding time. Although the Army did not plan to upgrade or replace the heavy divisions' capabilities until after it fielded AFATDS it funded an interim improvement program for some elements of heavy division equipment. If major problems occur in AFATDS' development, the Army could improve fire support C2 with the use of the Light Field Artillery Tactical Data System for the heavy divisions, but that would not fully meet heavy divisions' requirements. GAO believes that Congress should: (1) ask the Army to fully explain the trade-offs between the lower-cost equipment and the more capable AFATDS solution; and (2) consider reducing the Army fiscal year 1987 request for AFATDS or restrict the use of funds.

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