Review of the High Speed Antiradiation Missile Program

C-MASAD-81-7: Published: Feb 28, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the High Speed Antiradiation Missile (HARM) program to determine whether it had met the development objectives that were required before awarding a production contract for 80 missiles.

Full-scale production of HARM is scheduled to begin in 1982, following completion of operational testing. Major problems that halted flight testing in October 1979 appear to have acceptable solutions. Some remaining problems include: (1) a great deal of labor and time on test facilities is required to compensate or adjust each HARM seeker and perform acceptance testing; (2) in one of the Navy's operational modes for using HARM, missiles may be launched at targets that are falsely displayed to the pilot; (3) wing flutter has been noted on some firings and captive flights; (4) the Air Force HARM system is limited in its effectiveness by a basic design limitation in another part of the aircraft weapons system that will use HARM; (5) operational testers are concerned with the adequacy of the HARM built-in test capability; (6) in the Navy HARM system, common threat information is not programed into both the radar warning receiver and the command launch computer; and (7) the Air Force does not believe that the so-called multipath phenomenon is adequately understood and that corrective actions to mitigate its effects on HARM are sufficient. Solutions acceptable to the Navy and the Air Force, although not necessarily complete solutions, appear available for the remaining problems. GAO believes that the HARM system has demonstrated the performance that was required before limited production.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should provide assurances to Congress that (1) key identified technical problems have been solved and their solutions proven by testing; and (2) HARM has the potential for meeting anticipated future threats despite the specification change which reduced HARM's capability against certain radars.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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