Review of Army's Efforts To Develop TACFIRE

LCD-78-116: Published: Jun 2, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1978.

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After more than 10 years of effort, the Army's Tactical Fire Direction System (TACFIRE) was completed in January 1978. The Government must now decide whether TACFIRE should enter full-scale production while communications, maintenance, equipment, and software problems still exist.

The TACFIRE equipment tested during Operational Test III and scheduled for production is not the equipment the Army plans to field; the Army has identified new equipment based on updated technology as potential replacement for certain TACFIRE components. Computer programs for nuclear fire planning and corps artillery operations need to be tested and completed before TACFIRE is fielded. The programs need to be rewritten because of changes made to nuclear doctrine in July 1977, but rewriting has not yet begun. The TACFIRE compiler, a program that converts programmer language to machine-readable instructions, contains at least 27 deficiencies that could disrupt computer operations and cause data processing errors. The production decision should be delayed to give the Army time to: complete software development; correct known system problems and deficiencies; complete development, testing, and evaluation of new equipment and associated software; and assess the impact that the changes will have on the TACFIRE contracts, production schedules, and deployment requirements.

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