Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:

Maneuver System Schedule Includes Unnecessary Risk

NSIAD-95-161: Published: Sep 15, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 1995.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Joint Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program, focusing on the Joint Tactical UAV Project Office's proposed acquisition strategy for the Maneuver system.

GAO found that: (1) past UAV acquisition programs have been marked by premature entry into production that resulted in extensive and costly system redesigns in an attempt to achieve acceptable system performance; (2) the Joint Tactical UAV project office plans to begin production of the Maneuver system without adequate assurance that it can meet operational performance requirements; and (3) the premature production of the Maneuver system will unnecessarily put the Department of Defense at risk of becoming committed to acquiring an unsatisfactory system.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency has modified the acquisition strategy to make the Maneuver (now the "Outrider") UAV program an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator program. Hence, the program is now exempt from traditional DOD acquisition guidance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should change the Maneuver system's acquisition strategy to require that sufficient operational testing be conducted before the start of low-rate production. The purpose of this change is to demonstrate that without any major or costly design changes, the system can achieve its primary mission and meet requirements for performance and suitability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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