Longbow Apache Helicopter:

System Procurement Issues Need to Be Resolved

NSIAD-95-159: Published: Aug 24, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 1995.

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GAO reviewed the Department of the Army's Longbow Apache weapon system, focusing on whether: (1) the Army has conducted a thorough cost-effectiveness study of the weapon system; (2) critical issues related to the production of the aircraft and the producibility of the missiles have been addressed; and (3) the Army has adequately developed its Longbow Hellfire missile procurement plan.

GAO found that: (1) the Army has made major program decisions concerning the Longbow Apache weapon system without fully evaluating the costs and benefits of alternative systems; (2) the Army's cost and operational effectiveness analysis (COEA) will be of limited value because of its timing and the Army's decision not to include the Comanche helicopter as a possible attack helicopter alternative; (3) concerns have been raised about the performance of the Longbow Hellfire missile against targets with multiple countermeasures, radar capability against stationery targets, and the producibility of the missile's transceiver; and (4) the Longbow Hellfire missile procurement plan is flawed because the procurement objective is overstated by about 3,200 missiles, and the missiles stand to lose significant portions of their shelf life before the aircraft are available.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The authorizing and appropriating committees did not take action on this matter for consideration.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider restricting access to fiscal year (FY) 1996 Longbow Apache weapon system production funds until the Secretary of the Army provides a report to Congress detailing the results of: (1) the analysis of the program's cost effectiveness and military worth; (2) developmental and operational testing; and (3) the Longbow Hellfire missile requirements.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army sought congressional approval for a 4-year Longbow Hellfire contract in its FY 1999 budget submission. Congress eventually granted this approval to the Army request with no changes.

    Matter: When the Army submits its 5-year contract for Longbow Hellfire missiles, Congress may wish to ensure that the Army has recomputed the number of missiles needed, reconciled the timing of the missile deliveries with the availability of the helicopters, and recomputed the expected cost reductions to be achieved in approving the multiyear contract.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army completed a cost and operational effectiveness analysis (COEA) for the Longbow Apache helicopter and Hellfire missile. The COEA supported DOD's decision to approve full-rate production of the helicopter and initial low-rate production for the Hellfire missile. This analysis, however, did not include the Comanche helicopter as an alternative.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to conduct a detailed analysis of the Longbow Apache program--including all alternative attack helicopters, especially the Comanche--to determine its cost effectiveness and military worth.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD recently reported that the Army has revalidated its Longbow Hellfire missile computational factors and shelf life projections. There was no change from the Army's previous calculations.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to modify the Longbow Hellfire missile procurement plan to reflect accurate computational factors and shelf life projections.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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