Procurement of the Army's AH-64 Helicopter

MASAD-82-40: Published: Aug 3, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1982.

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In December 1981, GAO cautioned the Secretary of Defense against making a production decision on the AH-64 helicopter program, because some important tests and evaluations had not been completed and sufficient information on which to base a production decision was lacking. In the present report, GAO gave its general observations on the current status of the AH-64 program for the use of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, which are in joint conference deliberations on authorizing the procurement of the helicopter.

GAO concerns in December 1981 included: (1) the undemonstrated effectiveness of configuration changes to be made in the target acquisition and designation sight and in the helicopter engine; (2) the apparent overstatement of the reliability, availability, and maintainability of the AH-64; and (3) questions concerning the Army's logistics support and the prime contractor's readiness for production. The production decision was delayed until March 1982, when considerably more information about the helicopter's performance had become available. The Secretary's decision approving production detailed additional requirements in some of the areas of concern reported by GAO. GAO concluded that there are some remaining development, testing, and production readiness concerns which present a degree of risk to the AH-64 program. Nevertheless, given that the potential problem areas are being addressed by the Department of Defense, they do not appear to pose an unacceptable risk at this time.

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