Bradley Vehicle:

Concerns About the Army's Vulnerability Testing

NSIAD-86-67: Published: Feb 14, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle vulnerability test results and commented on their validity.

GAO found that the Army's phase I test results did not provide a realistic picture of the Bradley M3 vehicle's vulnerability or the number of casualties likely in combat because the Army: (1) obtained insufficient information to make such assessments; (2) used only a limited amount of the updated information obtained in preparing its report; (3) included no information regarding expected casualties or catastrophic kills in the event of missile or projectile hits on the Bradley; and (4) established test conditions that influenced the outcome to indicate less vulnerability. GAO compared the monitoring official's evaluation of the Bradley's tests with the Department of Defense (DOD) report to Congress and found that the test official reported that: (1) most antiarmor weapons inflicted considerable damage and ammunition stored on the vehicle would present a major hazard to the crew; (2) the Army avoided catastrophic loss by aiming shots away from critical areas; (3) he used numbers of casualties per shot as the primary vulnerability measure rather than vehicle damage; and (4) the aluminum armor's vaporifics effect and halon gas could prove hazardous. GAO concluded that the phase I test results provided insight into the Bradley's vulnerability, but critical data from the Army's vulnerability models are needed for proper assessment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD included this evaluation in its test report on the live-fire tests.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in his report to Congress on phase II tests, should include an evaluation of the Bradley's vulnerability based on a combination of the live-fire tests and the Army's vulnerability models, using the more current threat simulants available, in sufficient numbers to answer questions about the Bradley's vulnerability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Vulnerability data on both the M2 and M3 was included in the DOD report on the tests.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in his report to Congress on phase II tests, should include vulnerability data on both the M2 and M3 vehicle.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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