Army Acquisition:

Javelin Is Not Ready for Multiyear Procurement

NSIAD-96-199: Published: Sep 26, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1996.

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GAO reviewed the Army's procurement of the Javelin missile system, focusing on whether the: (1) system meets established criteria for multiyear production contracts; (2) Army adequately tested the system to determine its suitability for full-rate production; and (3) Army's purchase of command launch units during limited production is appropriate.

GAO found that the Army: (1) has not demonstrated that the Javelin's design is sufficiently stable for multiyear production; (2) does not plan to conduct operational testing of the missile until after full-rate production begins; (3) has extensively redesigned the system since it was operationally tested in 1993; (4) believes that its planned testing of the system will be adequate; (5) has conducted only limited testing, which may not be useful for predicting the system's reliability; and (6) could acquire fewer units under its low-rate initial production contract and still sustain the contractor's ability to produce the system.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Congress authorized and fully funded the Army's full-rate production of the Javelin system.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider requiring that the Army: (1) award annual (instead of multiyear) Javelin contracts for the minimum quantity needed to sustain production until the Army demonstrates that the system's design is stable; and (2) reduce the command launch unit production to the contractor's minimum production level of three units per month.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Although some additional testing was conducted because of the recommendation, the Army has awarded a multiyear contract for Javelin production.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Army to award annual (vice multiyear) Javelin contracts for the minimum quantity needed to sustain production until the Army demonstrates that the system's design is stable.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, the Army conducted additional development and operational tests to demonstrate that the redesigned missile was acceptable prior to starting full-rate production.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Army to operationally test the redesigned Javelin before proceeding to full-rate production.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army stated that, despite the additional costs involved, it would not reduce the low-rate production quantities as GAO recommended. The Army cited the criticality of getting the system to operational units as soon as possible.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Army to modify the third low-rate production contract to reduce command launch unit production from 125 to the contractor's minimum production level of 3 units per month or 36 total units.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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