Global Positioning System:

Production Should Be Limited Until Receiver Reliability Problems Are Resolved

NSIAD-91-74: Published: Mar 20, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the operational testing and acquisition plans for the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite receiver program.

GAO found that the Department of Defense (DOD): (1) postponed the GPS receiver set full-rate production decision from March 1989 to September 1991, due to delays in completing operational testing, caused by lingering receiver set reliability problems and reevaluation of program requirements; (2) authorized new production contracts and low-rate initial production (LRIP) through fiscal year (FY) 1991; and (3) could reduce LRIP cost risks by limiting future procurement to minimum quantities until required reliability performance was demonstrated.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree with the recommendation; however, based on the draft report and the related budget report for FY 1991, NSIAD-90-300BR, and briefings to committee staff, the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense reduced the DOD budget by $117.5 million.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should limit procurement of GPS to 237 receiver sets until operational testing has demonstrated that GPS receiver sets have met their reliability objectives. The 237 sets is the minimum quantity the government can order under the current contract and is sufficient to maintain a production base.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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