Embedded Computers:

Navy Not Ready to Buy Avionics Computers for Its LAMPS Mk I Helicopters

IMTEC-90-54: Published: May 31, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's acquisition of avionics computers embedded in selected Light Airborne Multipurpose System (LAMPS) antisubmarine warfare helicopters.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy plans to decide whether to buy upgraded avionics computer systems for $6.6 million, but has chosen not to operationally test the system before its June 1990 decision; (2) omitting operational testing increases the risk of system performance problems, but the Navy needs to use appropriated funds for fiscal years 1989 and 1990; (3) the planned system was significantly different from the already approved computer system; (4) developmental testing revealed significant software problems and raised concerns about whether the Navy should proceed before the problems were corrected; and (5) the Navy has not ensured compliance with development testing requirements for the systems because of its belief that the system is a minor modification of an existing computer system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress cut procurement funding pending successful completion of operational testing.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct the LAMPS Mk I program office to defer buying the AN/ASN-150A computer systems until complete and thorough operational testing demonstrates that the avionics systems will satisfy mission requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Defense reaffirmed its commitment to ensure proper oversight of the program and completion of operational testing prior to additional procurement of the embedded computer.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (ACNO) (Air Warfare) to take a more active role in overseeing the program and ensure that Navy requirements for AN/ASN-150A operational testing are met.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy


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