Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:

No More Hunter Systems Should Be Bought Until Problems Are Fixed

NSIAD-95-52: Published: Mar 1, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1995.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) acquisition of the Hunter Short-Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), focusing on whether: (1) the system is logistically supportable; (2) previously identified performance deficiencies have been corrected; and (3) the system represents a valid joint-service effort.

GAO found that: (1) the Hunter UAV system is not logistically supportable and has serious unresolved performance deficiencies; (2) the contractor had not delivered required logistical support information as of December 1994; (3) the system may be unsuitable for theater operations and may require costly contractor maintenance and support; (4) the vehicle is grounded because of a number of crashes during testing; (5) DOD plans to go into full production before determining whether the land-based vehicle is suitable for naval operations, which jeopardizes the joint-service system; (6) although DOD recently restructured the Hunter program, the program faces further delays and curtailment of critical testing while allowing for the procurement of defective systems; and (7) the planned award of a second low-rate production contract will have a minimal effect on preserving the contractor's skilled labor pool.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD has terminated the Hunter Program, citing the problems first identified by GAO.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should prohibit award of a second low-rate production contract until the Hunter system satisfactorily demonstrates that it is operationally effective and operationally suitable and will satisfactorily meet the requirements of the Army, the Marine Corps, and the Navy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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