Acquisition of Penetrators for 30 Millimeter Ammunition

NSIAD-87-142BR: Published: May 7, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's and Army's acquisition of munitions requiring depleted uranium penetrators.

In 1985, the Army analyzed a proposal to separately procure armor-piercing incendiary (API) cartridge penetrators, but it decided that the risk and liability to the government would be too high if the cartridges did not meet specifications. GAO found that the Army did not have sufficient data to estimate the total costs of procuring the penetrator separately or compute any potential cost savings; however, it believed that the government would incur additional costs from: (1) first-article and ballistics testing; (2) increased contract administration; and (3) procuring the penetrator from two producers. The Army plans to combine its 1986 and 1987 programs to separately procure, on a competitive basis, the penetrators and assembled cartridges, which could result in more available sources in case of mobilization.

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