Combat Radios:

Army's Selection of SINCGARS' Second-Source Contractor

NSIAD-88-200: Published: Jul 7, 1988. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's selection of a second producer for its Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS), focusing on the system's interoperability, life-cycle costs, and fielding.

GAO found that: (1) the Army plans to award a second-source contract for 400 radios and 150 test units at a cost of $22.1 million; (2) the Army plans to buy SINCGARS competitively from both producers after exercising options to increase the number of radios to 13,000, at a total cost of $80.2 million; (3) the total estimated cost for SINCGARS is $5.2 billion for the Army and $0.5 billion for the other services; and (4) since neither contractor had an acceptable final production model, the Army incorporated several protective measures into the contract. GAO also found that: (1) interoperability between the original SINCGARS and the second-source model was critical to the program's success; (2) although the Army took steps to reduce the likelihood of interoperability difficulties, it needed strong program management to ensure contractor compliance; (3) the Army believes that future savings from a more reliable radio will more than offset the increased cost of introducing a new radio; and (4) although the Army expected to deploy second-source radios earlier than originally planned, it was too early to predict whether the program would provide the radios on schedule.

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