Missile Procurement:

AMRAAM's Reliability Is Improving, but Production Challenges Remain

NSIAD-91-209: Published: Jun 20, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 1991.

Additional Materials:


Nancy R. Kingsbury
(202) 512-4268


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO reviewed the status of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) program, focusing on whether the: (1) Department of Defense had conducted operationally realistic tests on AMRAAM effectiveness and suitability in combat; and (2) development contractors demonstrated the ability to produce quality missiles at the required rate.

GAO found that: (1) AMRAAM reliability more than doubled from an average of about 90 hours between maintenance in early 1990 to over 200 hours in early 1991, meeting the reliability requirement for full-rate production; (2) the Air Force only completed about 60 percent of its test program designed to demonstrate progress toward the 450 hours required after the system has been operational for 2 years; (3) the Defense Acquisition Board concluded that additional testing was needed before AMRAAM could enter full-rate production; (4) questions remained regarding AMRAAM effectiveness after being carried on operationally realistic flights and the lethality of the missile's warhead; (5) as of May 1990, the contractors' missile deliveries were at least 6 months behind schedule, since the design and manufacturing changes resulted in further delays, causing the Air Force to extend delivery schedules; (6) on the basis of new delivery schedules, $156.2 million of the $882 million requested for 891 missiles for fiscal year (FY) 1992 will not be needed, since the Air Force does not expect delivery of 314 requested missiles until FY 1993; and (7) unless both contractors substantially increase their deliveries, the amount of unneeded funds will increase.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress provided full funding for FY 1992.

    Matter: Because of delays in production and consequent lower funding requirements for FY 1992, Congress should reduce the services' $882 million request for AMRAAM production for FY 1992 by $156.2 million.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Recommendations in the GAO July 30, 1992 report have overtaken this recommendation. Followup will take place on NSIAD-92-243, Limit Procurement of AMRAAM Until Missile Lethality is Improved.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor the contractors' progress in meeting the current production schedules and, if their deliveries fall further behind, reduce missile quantities procured under subsequent contracts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Jan 13, 2021

Dec 16, 2020

Dec 9, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Nov 30, 2020

Nov 24, 2020

Nov 23, 2020

Nov 18, 2020

Oct 7, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here