Apache Helicopter:

Tests Results for 30-Millimeter Weapon System Inconclusive

NSIAD-93-134: Published: Apr 1, 1993. Publicly Released: May 6, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's 1992 tests for the Apache helicopter's area weapon system (AWS), focusing on whether testing procedures and conditions provided sufficient information to fully assess the system's endurance, reliability, and accuracy requirements.

GAO found that: (1) although most AWS components have met endurance, reliability, and accuracy requirements, the test plan has not allowed for sufficient assessment of key reliability requirements; (2) AWS test results may be inaccurate because favorable test conditions have allowed for a higher reliability measure; (3) the Army has planned to conduct additional maximum life endurance and reliability tests to reevaluate AWS components, and the contractor has proposed design changes to those components that did not meet minimum life endurance and reliability requirements; (4) the Army's 1992 accuracy test is of limited value because the Army has reduced AWS performance criteria by lowering the accuracy requirements, allowing the contractor to pay a $1-million penalty for each target point missed, and limiting AWS assessment to only one of three Apache fuselage configurations; and (5) the Army has planned additional follow-up tests to validate the incorporation of the 1992 accuracy modifications into production aircraft.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army conducted a 100,000-round test, which demonstrated that AWS had achieved twice the required mean-rounds-between-stoppage; therefore, no additional testing by the contractor is needed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should require the contractor to retest AWS to ensure that it meets contract reliability specifications.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that it has sufficient data from tests already conducted and from operational units fielded to project the reliability performance of AWS. No new testing to do this is planned.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should operationally test AWS to determine what the field users can realistically expect to achieve in terms of reliability performance and distribute the results to the user community.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army had determined that the Apache fuselage differences were insignificant relative to gun accuracy and has, therefore, stated that no testing of individual fuselage types is needed or planned.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Apache program manager to validate the accuracy improvements on multiple aircraft, one from each of the three Apache fuselage types, during the October 1993 accuracy test.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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