Missile Development:

Development Status of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile

NSIAD-87-168: Published: Aug 14, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile at the low-rate and full-rate production milestones, focusing on: (1) design stability; (2) test adequacy; and (3) the accuracy of the cost estimate for 17,000 Air Force missiles.

GAO found that, at the time of the low-rate production decision: (1) there were design, performance, and cost uncertainties which increased the risk of production disruption and unsatisfactory system performance and could require retrofit programs; (2) the contractor delivered missiles designed to meet interim performance requirements; and (3) the Air Force lowered some performance criteria, which it believed reflected sufficient progress toward satisfying the full requirements. GAO also found that: (1) missile problems and the unavailability of test resources delayed interim capability tests; and (2) congressional funding cuts reduced missile purchases during the time when the Air Force expected greater savings from competition. In addition, GAO found that, at the time of the full-rate production decision, the Air Force: (1) plans to have completed all operational testing; (2) will not have the necessary design changes for cost reduction ready for production; and (3) will not have validated the cost of performance warranties or savings from competition to better define cost estimates.

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