Missile Procurement:

AMRAAM Not Ready for Full-Rate Production

NSIAD-89-201: Published: Sep 7, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) before the Secretary of Defense's decision to begin full production, focusing on whether: (1) operationally realistic tests demonstrated the missile's required performance; (2) the missile's design was complete and stable; and (3) the contractors demonstrated the ability to produce quality missiles at the required production rates.

GAO found that: (1) although the completed tests demonstrated that AMRAAM met many performance requirements, the Air Force did not show that AMRAAM could meet its probability-of-kill requirement; (2) a high number of failures early in testing showed that AMRAAM could not meet reliability requirements and that it needed additional design changes; (3) although the AMRAAM design continued to evolve during the first year of production, the Air Force did not complete all the required corrective actions; (4) the delivered missiles did not meet all performance requirements, since the design corrections required additional time; and (5) the Air Force delayed its full-rate production readiness reviews until December 1989.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense agreed not to authorize AMRAAM for full-rate production until the contractors can produce quality missiles at the required rates. On April 30, 1992, the Under Secretary of Defense approved the Air Force request to enter full-rate production. GAO will followup on this under recommendations in the GAO July 30, 1992 report, NSIAD-92-243.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should not authorize AMRAAM for full-rate production until realistic tests demonstrate that the missile has met its performance and reliability requirements, the missile design stabilizes, and the Air Force's production readiness reviews show that the contractors can produce quality missiles at the required rates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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