Electronic Warfare:

Additional Buys of Sensor System Should Be Delayed Pending Satisfactory Testing

NSIAD-96-175: Published: Sep 27, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1996.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Army's program for acquiring the Intelligence Electronic Warfare Common Sensor (IEWCS), focusing on whether the Army was ensuring that the system performed acceptably before committing to the system's production.

GAO found that: (1) the Army prematurely committed to low-rate initial production of IEWCS systems to install on Advanced Quickfix (AQF) helicopters; (2) the Army is planning additional low-rate initial production that it has not justified; (3) the Army plans to enter full-rate production without ensuring that the system meets minimum acceptable performance requirements; and (4) unless the Army changes its acquisition strategy, it could procure a system that requires redesign and retrofit to achieve acceptable performance.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD voluntarily stopped production of the system because it did not meet minimum performance requirements. The House Appropriations Committee then zeroed the fiscal year 1998 funding request.

    Matter: In light of DOD unwillingness to have the Army revise its IEWCS acquisition strategy, Congress may wish to take the actions necessary to limit AQF procurement until AQF systems successfully complete operational testing and to require IEWCS demonstration of established key performance parameters prior to the procurement of additional systems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army went forward with the planned fiscal year 1997 production of the system. However, during fiscal year 1998, the Army zeroed production funds and production was halted. GAO's accomplishment report will be for the cost-avoidance on future production.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Army to cancel the planned fiscal year 1997 procurement of one AQF system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Under a follow-up report on IEWCS (NSIAD-98-3) GAO made similar recommendations. DOD and the Army stopped production of the system because it could not meet minimum acceptable performance requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require both that specific, measurable, minimum acceptable performance requirements be established for the IEWCS system and that the system demonstrate the capability to meet these requirements before proceeding with additional procurements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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