Results of Production Testing Should Be Considered Before Increasing Patriot's Production

C-MASAD-83-7: Published: Jan 26, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 26, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Patriot Air Defense Missile System's performance capabilities to determine the Army's progress in resolving the system's earlier performance and reliability problems in relation to future production rates.

Congress approved the fiscal year (FY) 1983 Department of Defense request to increase Patriot's production; in the Army's FY 1984 budget, the Army plans to request additional production increases. GAO noted that, during the past 2.5 years, estimates of Patriot's program costs have nearly doubled and that current cost estimates are for more than $11 billion, with increases likely because of unresolved problems. GAO stated that test results do provide a basis for optimism about the Patriot system's ultimate performance capabilities. Progress has been made in solving hardware reliability problems, but deficiencies remain in maintenance software. GAO noted that the Army is developing improvements which are to be tested in 1983. GAO believes that delaying the FY 1983 contract for a few months would have a minimal effect on the program's schedule and cost. Additionally, a delay until production tests are concluded could increase the possibility that the Patriot will perform at the level of Army requirements.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of the Army delayed the program due to test deficiencies. A report was prepared by GAO (GAO-C-NSIAD-83-6) that disclosed the current status of the program.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should permit the FY 1983 funds to be applied towards an increase in the production rate over the current level of nine fire units, only upon a showing in the production tests that deficiencies have been corrected. The Secretary should direct the Army to negotiate fixed-price contracts for future Patriot production under which the contractor would assume a share of the cost risk.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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