MX Program Cost and Schedule Milestones Could Be Adversely Impacted if Certain Matters Are Not Resolved

MASAD-82-17: Published: Feb 10, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 10, 1982.

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GAO completed a review of the MX weapon system program and identified certain matters which, if not resolved in a timely manner, could adversely affect the program's cost and schedule milestones.

Delays have occurred in the development and demonstration of the liquid propellant tank for stage 4 of the MX missile's propulsion system, in the construction of the integrated testing facility, and in the delivery of software for the test program's instrumentation and the flight safety system. There appears to be a limited production capacity for certain critical materials needed for constructing the MX missile because: (1) only two firms manufacture an essential propellant ingredient, and there may be difficulties in meeting MX propellant production needs if the MX program does not maintain its acquisition priority over that of the Space Transportation System program; (2) one firm manufactures an essential material used in the MX missile's guidance and control system, and that manufacturer may cease operations because of the health hazards associated with the production; and (3) two firms manufacture certain missile components, and an adequate supply can only be assured if funding supports sufficient acquisition leadtimes. There has been some degree of uncertainty about the availability of nuclear materials. Air Force and contractor officials have said that there is concern over the shortage of affordable housing near the base. This could preclude contractors from being able to hire sufficient numbers of technicians to support the currently scheduled MX missile and Space Transportation System launches.

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