Navy Acquisition:

Cost and Performance of Various Antisubmarine Warfare Systems

NSIAD-87-119: Published: May 8, 1987. Publicly Released: May 8, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the cost and performance of the SQR-17A acoustic processor. The SQR-17A processes and displays acoustic information it receives from sonobuoys placed in the ocean to listen for signals that enable a ship's antisubmarine warfare (ASW) personnel to detect enemy submarines.

GAO found that: (1) the secondary function of the SQR-17A is to act as a backup processor for the sonar mounted on the ship's hull; (2) as of February 24, 1987, the Navy's stated requirement was for 85 SQR-17A and, as of March 1986, it had signed contracts for 77; (3) the Navy may procure 12 excess units in fiscal year 1987 for ships with sonar with less processing capability; (4) the Navy expects to sign a sole-source contract for its final purchase of SQR-17A by August 1987; and (5) Navy officials held varying opinions as to the usefulness of putting SQR-17A on ships without towed array sonar. GAO also found that: (1) the Navy believes that the SQQ-28 signal processor is the only alternative to the SQR-17A, since no other shipboard acoustic processor capable of processing data from modern sonobuoys is available or planned; (2) comparing the SQQ-28 and the SQR-17A is difficult because they are not interchangeable and have different capabilities and characteristics; (3) the purchase and installation cost of the SQR-17A is about $750,000, as compared to about $2.8 million for the SQQ-28; (4) the SQQ-28 is superior in processing, integration, target motion analysis, system upgrade, logistic support, resolution, and interoperability capabilities; and (5) the SQR-17A produces a paper printout, which the SQQ-28 lacks and which the Navy believes is a good feature.

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