Issues Identified in 21 Recently Published Major Weapon System Reports

PSAD-80-43: Published: Jun 12, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 1980.

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A review was undertaken by GAO of selected Department of Defense (DOD) weapon systems to provide Congress with information on program issues and problems. Specifically, the review concentrated on issues affecting the weapon systems' mission effectiveness such as operational and performance limitations, survivability or vulnerability, availability, affordability, reliability and force mix requirements. The weapon systems' reviewed included: (1) the Army's XM-1 tank; (2) the Army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS); (3) the Division Air Defense Gun System (DIVAD); (4) the Army's Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV); (5) the Navy's Aegis weapon system; (6) the Navy's Light Airborne Multipurpose System (LAMPS) MK III which included the LAMPS Recovery, Assist, Securing, and Traversing (RAST) system; (7) the Navy's FFG-7 class shipbuilding program; (8) the encapsulated torpedo (CAPTOR) program; (9) the Navy's Tactical Towed Array System (TACTAS) program; (10) the Navy's Surveillance Towed Array Sensor (SURTASS) program; (11) the F/A-18 Naval strike fighter program; (12) the Marine Corps' AV-8B Aircraft program (13) the Air Force's MX Weapon system; (14) the Air Force's Precision Location Strike System (PLSS) program; (15) the Air Force's Advanced Strategic Air Launched Missile; (16) the B-52 modernization program; (17) the Sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM) program; (18) the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System; (19) the Maverick Air-To-Ground Weapon Systems program; (20) the High Speed Antiradiation Missile (HARM); and (21) the NAVSTAR Global positioning system.

Review of the various weapon programs showed that: (1) XM-1 tank's reliability and durability has not been proven; (2) MLRS is costly and should be further proved before production; (3) more critical data needs to be obtained about DIVAD before production; (4) the Army should consider adding M113's rather than IFV's to enhance dismounted fighting capability; (5) the Aegis Weapon System has problems with its availability, software reliability, ship weight, reduced antisubmarine warfare capability, and ship vulnerability; (6) the LAMPS RAST system has experienced development problems and hardware delivery delays; (7) the FFG-7 program funding did not include additional equipment or modifications to be incorporated after ship delivery; (8) the Navy needs more CAPTOR's than it currently plans to buy; (9) both SURTASS and the AN/SQR-19 TACTAS have had technical problems since full-scale development; (10) DOD reports have not adequately presented information to keep Congress informed of the progress in the F/A-18 program; (11) the AV-8B program experienced severe cost growth, and controversy on its mission within DOD; (12) the MX program has cost and schedule uncertainties regarding the size of the missile force; (13) the cost effectiveness of PLSS has not been established; (14) inventory objectives of SLCM are unclear; (15) the differences between the Air Force's and Navy's technical approach in developing the Joint Tactical Information Distribution system has adversely affected the system; and (16) the Maverick Air-To-Ground alternate warhead has experienced fuze problems.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should not appropriate funds for more than four T-AGOS ships until the Navy carries out the direction of the Secretary of Defense, and require DOD to provide results of the lethal defense suppression capability of HARM before appropriating production funds for the program.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: develop a full-scale diesel engine for the XM-1 if the evaluation report has reservations about the turbine engine; require the Army, prior to production, to demonstrate the performance of MLRS; continue competition for DIVAD until the completion of the durability and maintainability tests; require the Navy to assess and report on the antisubmarine warfare helicopter requirements, determine plans to equip LAMPS MK I designated ships, determine MK III effectiveness, give special management attention to the RAST Landing and Securing System to minimize schedule slippages, develop and test a variety SURTASS/T-AGOS and SURTASS/combatant units; improve the passive torpedo detection capability of the AN/SQS-56 sonar; ensure that all systems on the FFG-7 class ships meet shock test requirements; monitor improvements to antisubmarine warfare and area antiair warfare capability of FFG-7 class ships; show total FFG-7 program costs; determine whether the CAPTOR program problems can be resolved, give priority attention to the F/A-18 self-protection and all-weather capabilities, develop advance funding strategies for F/A-18; decide whether to proceed or terminate the AV-8B program; identify MX program cost increases or decreases, establish an agreed time-phased action plan with the Secretary of the Interior, and identify changes in the MX weapon system resulting from no arms control agreements; direct the Secretary of the Air Force to determine the effect of potential countermeasures on PLSS performance, minimally fund the PLSS program until the completed evaluation, and ensure that PLSS developmental weapons schedules are compatible; reconcile the differences between the DOD conclusions on B-52 modernization and those reached by SAC, and resolve the major issues concerning the future of the bomber force; approve limited production of the air launched cruise missile evaluate the need and the results of ongoing studies for the nuclear land attack SLCM program; determine the need, priority, characteristics, interservice conflicts, cost effectiveness, and vulnerability assessment of the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System; ensure that the Air Force conducts imaging infrared missile developmental and operational testing in a realistic battlefield environment; and evaluate the appropriateness of the triple and single rail launcher ratio for the Maverick-capable aircraft, and the performance of HARM.

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