Army Armored Systems:

Advanced Field Artillery System Experiences Problems with Liquid Propellant

NSIAD-95-25: Published: Nov 2, 1994. Publicly Released: Nov 2, 1994.

Additional Materials:


Louis J. Rodrigues
(202) 512-4841


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO reviewed the Army's Advance Field Artillery System (AFAS) program, focusing on the: (1) status of the AFAS liquid propellant (LP) gun; (2) nature and extent of any problems experienced during testing; and (3) Army's plans for proceeding with the development of the system.

GAO found that: (1) the Army's most advanced LP gun was severely damaged by an explosion during test firing; (2) the Army has suspended all live-fire testing of the LP gun until the cause of the explosion is found and corrected; (3) the Army has requested about $60.7 million to proceed into the next phase of development even though it has not corrected the problem that caused the explosion and is using an inadequate firing technology; and (4) although the Army plans to develop the unicharge gun as a backup for the LP gun, the funding for this alternative will end after fiscal year 1995.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army's current acquisition plan includes concurrent development of a unicharge gun during the AFAS demonstration and validation phase. The Army believes that it will have enough information available after 2 years to decide whether to proceed with LP or the unicharge gun.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Army continues the concurrent development of the unicharge gun until the LP gun technology has been successfully demonstrated in live-fire tests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army's new AFAS acquisition plan provides 2 years before the contractor is allowed to integrate the system. The Army believes that this amount of time is sufficient to determine whether the LP gun is feasible. As stated above, the Army plans to decide on whether to proceed with the LP or the unicharge gun at the end of the 2-year period.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Army postpones AFAS system integration until it makes a decision on whether to proceed with the LP or unicharge gun.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD believes that the current exit criteria for the AFAS program's entry into engineering and manufacturing development provides sufficient assessment of the Army's ability to meet the AFAS system's ultimate requirements. However, OSD will retain the option to conduct an independent verification if OSD later determines it would be appropriate.

    Recommendation: If a decision is made to proceed with the LP gun, the Secretary of Defense should independently verify that problems concerning the LP burning process have been fully resolved and that the Army has developed an ignition system that will allow the gun to meet its rate-of-fire requirement of 10 to 12 rounds per minute for 3 to 5 minutes.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Jun 25, 2020

Jun 23, 2020

Jun 18, 2020

Jun 16, 2020

Jun 3, 2020

May 29, 2020

May 22, 2020

May 19, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here