Bradley Vehicle:

Army's Efforts To Make It More Survivable

NSIAD-87-40: Published: Nov 4, 1986. Publicly Released: Nov 4, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle Program, specifically: (1) live-fire testing of the Bradley's vulnerability; (2) proposed operational tests; (3) the program's original mission requirements, and subsequent changes to those requirements; and (4) the Bradley's ability to perform its role as a carrier of infantry squads and supporter of troops and tank forces during combat.

GAO found that: (1) the Army suspended the second phase of live-fire tests, begun in March 1986, pending resolution of a disagreement between it and the Department of Defense (DOD); (2) the Army expects the live-fire tests to protect the Bradley and its troops against the lower end of the scale of enemy antiarmor weapons, and is relying on the Bradley's mobility, firepower, and tactics to allow it to avoid being overmatched by enemy weapon systems most of the time; (3) the Army is requiring that new operational tests emphasize how well the tactics devised for the vehicle will offset its vulnerability while permitting it to retain its combat effectiveness; (4) the Army's original mission requirements for the vehicle to transport infantry squads into battle and support troops and tank forces during combat engagements have remained unchanged; (5) the Army has changed its tactical requirements to place more emphasis on tactics that might increase survivability; and (6) the vehicle's ability to safely transport infantry squads and support combat troops is questionable, since the Army has not demonstrated the vehicle's effectiveness in covering and concealing itself to enhance its survivability.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD conducted these tests, as GAO recommended, and the results are available to Congress.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Army to begin the Bradley operational tests at a test site that is available for immediate use, using the Army's planned battle tactics for the Bradley and simulating, as necessary and feasible, the modified versions of the Bradley. The timing of the tests should be such that the results would be available to Congress in time for its deliberations on the Army's fiscal year 1988 budget request for the procurement of Bradley vehicles.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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