Missile Development:

AMRAAM's Combat Effectiveness at Production Not Fully Tested

NSIAD-88-186: Published: Jul 7, 1988. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Air Force and Navy developmental and operational testing of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) to assess the: (1) test plan's adequacy; (2) Air Force's implementation of the plan; and (3) test results.

GAO found that: (1) the AMRAAM test plan was comprehensive and addressed each performance requirement; (2) the Air Force completed only 59 of the 89 planned live-fire tests before the Defense Acquisition Board's review in May 1988 due to the maturity of the missile and the availability of test resources; (3) the Air Force had not conducted some of the more difficult and realistic tests at the time of the second low-rate production review; (4) the Air Force had not performed any operational tests on a full-capability prototype missile; (5) completed tests revealed some unresolved problems, such as the missile's capabilities against a cruise missile; (6) the Air Force changed some test parameters, which increased the missiles' probability of success; (7) despite the delay in the development and test schedules, the Air Force did not change the AMRAAM production schedule, increasing the risk that operational missiles will not be effective or reliable; and (8) the Air Force expected approval for production of 400 missiles, based on the Board's review.

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