Defense Acquisition:

Examination of MLRS Terminal Guidance Warhead Program

NSIAD-91-144: Published: Mar 28, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 1991.

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GAO reviewed the requirements, schedule, performance, and cost of the Army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Terminal Guidance Warhead (TGW) program.

GAO found that: (1) MLRS TGW had been in development for more than 6 years, and cost about $530 million; (2) the U.S. share of the project was $230 million and the European countries' share was $300 million; (3) early in development, the program experienced serious schedule slippages and technical difficulties; (4) the Army has not finalized its statement of required operational capabilities, but has tested system components separately, and a full system demonstration is underway; (5) test results to date have not been sufficient to lower previous overall assessments of medium technical risk in the program; (6) successful testing of integrated system hardware is scheduled for between late 1991 and late 1992; (7) the Army estimated the total U.S. acquisition cost at $7 billion, although the Department of Defense believed that there were considerable uncertainties in the estimate; (8) program costs could become even more uncertain due to changes in quantity requirements, production line and economic adjustment decisions, and the configuration required to accomodate a longer range delivery vehicle; (9) if the Army decided to use the MLRS TGW submunition in a longer range delivery vehicle rather than in the basic MLRS rocket, development of MLRS TGW would no longer be necessary; and (10) the technical risks and cost uncertainties raise serious funding questions.