Tank Recovery Vehicle:

Status of Program Acquisition and Full-Scale Engineering Development

NSIAD-89-156: Published: Jun 2, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's acquisition procedures for the procurement of a tank recovery vehicle, focusing on the: (1) selection criteria; (2) selected vehicle's compliance with the Army's established requirements for a recovery vehicle; (3) extent to which the Army's requirements met its mission needs; (4) vehicle testing procedures; and (5) the number and cost of the vehicles the Army planned to buy.

GAO found that the Army: (1) tested two competing recovery vehicles, applying criteria involving technical performance, operational suitability, cost, human logistics, and production capacity; (2) determined that both vehicles met recovery requirements and selected the vehicle which received lower horsepower and speed ratings, but was considered more affordable than the other vehicle; (3) extended full-scale engineering development of the selected vehicle to correct problems involving winches, the cooling system, reliability, and uphill towing ability before releasing any production funds; (4) did not complete a required cost and operational effectiveness analysis which could have helped to assess the impact of the vehicle's speed limitations on its operational effectiveness; and (5) was authorized to acquire 849 recovery vehicles, and planned to buy 276 at an estimated cost of $416.3 million through fiscal year 1994, although the Department of Defense proposed terminating the program because of budget considerations and questionable performance.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense cancelled the program.

    Recommendation: In any future program to meet the Army's need for improved tank towing capabilities, the Secretary of the Army should ensure that: (1) test conditions are carefully controlled and documented; and (2) any required cost and operational effectiveness analysis be conducted on a timely basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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