Defense Acquisitions:

Naval Surface Fire Support Program Plans and Costs

NSIAD-99-91: Published: Jun 11, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1999.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Navy's program to modernize its naval surface fire support (NSFS) capabilities, focusing on the cost of the modernization.

GAO noted that: (1) in the first phase of the NSFS modernization program, planned for completion by 2009, the Navy plans to develop a modified 5-inch gun and associated guided munition, land-attack missiles, and mission planning system for installation on 49 of the current classes of cruisers and destroyers; (2) the weapons developed during this phase are not expected to satisfy the full range of Marine Corps NSFS requirements; (3) development of the modified 5-inch gun is on schedule, but development costs have increased slightly; (4) development of the guided munition for this gun has been delayed by technical problems, and costs have increased; (5) it is too early to know whether the munition will meet performance specifications in terms of range, accuracy, and lethality; (6) the Chief of Naval Operations has decided to modify missiles in the Navy's inventory into a land-attack variant rather than develop a Navy variant of an Army missile; (7) the Navy expects fleet introduction of a mission planning system in 2001 to support weapons developed during the first phase of the NSFS modernization program; (8) the second phase of the modernization program, beyond 2003, includes development of a longer-range gun and munition and an advanced land-attack missile for the planned DD-21 class of destroyers; (9) weapons developed during this phase are intended to fully meet Marine Corps NSFS requirements; (10) the Center for Naval Analyses is conducting an analysis of gun system alternatives for the DD-21, and industry teams are also developing advanced gun concepts for this class of ship; (11) the Navy is conducting technology demonstration projects intended to improve performance and reduce the costs of future munitions; (12) under the Navy's plan, it will be many years before the fleet will have these weapon systems in the quantities needed to support major combat operations; (13) the Navy plans to accept delivery of 32 DD-21s between 2008 and 2020; (14) in fiscal years (FY) 1994-1998, the Navy spent $309 million on both phases of its modernization program; (15) for fiscal years 1999-2005, both phases are estimated to cost a total of about $2 billion; (16) the estimate does not include the cost of: (a) integrating land attack standard missiles into the vertical launch system; (b) changing to the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System; and (c) developing and procuring of an advanced land-attack missile for the DD-21; and (17) total program cost estimates beyond FY 2005 are not available.

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