Naval Surface Fire Support:

Navy's Near-Term Plan Is Not Based on Sufficient Analysis

NSIAD-95-160: Published: May 19, 1995. Publicly Released: May 19, 1995.

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Richard Davis
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's upgrade of its surface ships' guns to determine whether the Navy has chosen the most cost-effective system for improving naval surface fire support (NSFS).

GAO found that: (1) the Navy did not sufficiently analyze its needs before deciding on the upgrade of its 5-inch, 54-caliber guns and the development of a 5-inch precision-guided munition; (2) the Navy determined that the most cost-effective system to meet NSFS needs by fiscal year (FY) 2003 would be a 155-millimeter, 60-caliber gun with an advanced propellant and precision-guided munitions in combination with the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile; (3) although it initially proposed to develop the guns at a cost of about $360 million, the Navy has decided to limit the program to upgrading existing guns and developing precision-guided munitions to meet the reduced funding level; (4) the Navy estimates that research and development (R&D) costs for the 5-inch guns will be about $246 million; (5) the Navy R&D budget has a $86-million shortfall that will be corrected in FY 1997; (6) the Marine Corps has revised its minimum NSFS range requirement to reflect the Navy's restructured gun program; and (7) the Navy is conducting a supplemental analysis to evaluate near-term alternatives for NSFS, but it is unclear whether this analysis will support the Navy's decision to upgrade the 5-inch gun.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress appropriated $32.958 million for this program in FY 1996, effectively rejecting the GAO recommendation.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider not authorizing or appropriating FY 1996 funds for NSFS until the Navy has: (1) determined and validated NSFS requirements; and (2) conducted a comprehensive supplemental analysis to the cost and operational effectiveness analysis that includes all available gun and missile alternatives.


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