Army Acquisition:

Air Defense Antitank System's Development Goals Not Yet Achieved

NSIAD-91-222: Published: May 23, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's revised Air Defense Antitank System (ADATS) program, focusing on whether: (1) it improved ADATS reliability; (2) the tests and criteria established for the extension phase would provide sufficient performance information for production approval; and (3) the Army's cost and operational effectiveness assessment was still valid.

GAO found that: (1) the Army delayed planned tests due to restructuring and contractor failure to achieve an internally imposed level of statistical confidence to ensure that the system would meet its first interim criteria; (2) delays in operational testing made it unlikely that congressional authorization and appropriations committees would have timely test information that demonstrated that ADATS met any of its interim reliability criteria; (3) such weapon subsystem reliability criteria as the required average time between equipment failures established for the 2-year extension fell short of ADATS fielding contract requirements; (4) lowered reliability would result in increased operation and support costs; (5) live-fire and operational test results raised concerns regarding the decreased probability of ADATS survival due to its position in the forward battle area; (6) unit cost increases resulted from reduced fire unit quantities, reduced production rates, and production delays; and (7) increased vulnerability resulted from live-fire testing, and reliability and maintainability results from operational tests suggested that irreplaceable losses would occur more frequently than assumed.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Although Congress did not implement the recommendation, the Department of Defense (DOD) has since announced that the program is being terminated. The recommendation is no longer applicable because Congress has completed action on the FY 1992 budget and the program is being terminated by DOD.

    Matter: Because the Army predicated its fiscal year (FY) 1991 funding request for the ADATS program on its ability to meet the first and second interim reliability criteria and ADATS has not met them, Congress may wish to consider not providing additional funding until ADATS meets the second interim requirement of 54 hours average time between equipment failures. If additional funding is provided, Congress may wish to prohibit the Secretary of the Army from obligating such funds until the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that the above conditions either have been met or no longer need to be met.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On January 29, 1992, the Secretary of Defense announced that because non-Soviet air threats to U.S. ground forces are limited in number and capability, U.S. forces can maintain adequate air defense assets with existing systems. DOD is therefore terminating the Army's ADATS program. This recommendation is no longer applicable.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation to approve a test and evaluation plan that clearly states all testing that will be completed and evaluated before ADATS production is approved. This plan should include: (1) realistic operational tests that demonstrate critical performance capabilities not previously achieved; and (2) live missile firings.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 29, 1992, the Secretary of Defense announced the U.S. ground forces could rely on existing systems for air defense and that the ADATS program was being terminated. GAO believes that the work contributed to the decision and plan to process an accomplishment report. DOD estimated the savings at $1.7 billion through 1997.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should determine ADATS continued cost-effectiveness using current cost estimates, existing and planned air defense systems, and live-fire and operational test results before production is approved. This determination should be based on the Army's revised cost and operational effectiveness analysis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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