Apache Helicopter:

Reliability of Key Components Yet to Be Fully Demonstrated

NSIAD-92-19: Published: Oct 3, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's efforts to address logistical support problems underlying the low availability rates associated with the Apache helicopter, focusing on the: (1) status of the Army's efforts to improve the reliability of seven hardware components and the Apache's maintenance capabilities; and (2) performance of the Apache's FM antenna.

GAO found that: (1) Army efforts to improve the reliability of selected hardware components have been ongoing for several years; (2) although the Army has made some progress in resolving key problems, as of August 1991, the improved components had not fully demonstrated their reliability; (3) the Army initiated action to increase the size of Apache batallions and armed forces in Europe, and anticipates full implementation by fiscal year 1995; (4) the Army began to focus on improving the capabilities of Apache maintenance personnel by purchasing troubleshooting manuals, developing and procuring testing devices, retrofitting a central computer, and procuring a diagnostic maintenance aid; (5) two problems concerning the Apache's performance include structural cracking in the tail boom as the helicopter accumulates flying hours and poor FM antenna reception, which ultimately degrades the Apache's communications performance; and (6) despite the Army's efforts to increase its maintenance manpower and improve test equipment performance, the effectiveness of its efforts are not yet known.

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