Electronic Warfare:

Early Production of Tacit Rainbow Missile Not Warranted

NSIAD-91-71: Published: Mar 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1991.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Tacit Rainbow Missile Program to determine whether the system met the Air Force's criteria for beginning a preproduction verification phase.

GAO found that: (1) Tacit Rainbow did not fully meet the Air Force's criteria for beginning the preproduction verification phase, since the Air Force had not flight tested the production configured system; (2) during testing, Tacit Rainbow proved to be unreliable; (3) the Air Force restructured the program in 1988 because of continued schedule delays and unexpected cost growth; (4) the Air Force planned to commit Tacit Rainbow to production without ensuring that the system performed satisfactorily during operational testing, which could increase its risk of producing a deficient system that would require costly modifications to correct problems found during later testing phases; and (5) the Secretary of Defense cancelled the Tacit Rainbow program in December 1990.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD contact stated that all Tacit Rainbow funding not needed for program termination has been rescinded by Congress or reprogrammed by DOD. The accomplishment report totalled $316.1 million.

    Matter: At the time of the Secretary of Defense's decision to cancel the program, $84 million in unobligated procurement funds were available. Congress may wish to consider directing the Air Force to determine funding required to terminate the program. The remaining funds could be rescinded or reprogrammed to meet other needs.


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