Joint Direct Attack Munition:

Low-Rate Initial Production Decision

NSIAD-97-116R: Published: Mar 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1997.

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GAO reviewed the Joint Direct Attack Munition's (JDAM) readiness to begin low-rate initial production, focusing on the possibility that the Air Force could decide to award a contract for initial production before it conducts operational testing.

GAO noted that: (1) the developmental test plan calls for captive carry tests and guided test drops from three aircraft before the April decision point; (2) however, the operational software needed by the aircraft to effectively use JDAM is not yet completely developed; the guided drops and other tests are being conducted with aircraft software that is still in development; (3) the majority of flight testing to date has been with the F-16 aircraft, not one of the initial deployment platforms; (4) dedicated developmental tests with the F/A-18C/D and the B-52H are not scheduled to end until August 1997; (5) dedicated operational tests with these aircraft, scheduled to begin in September 1997, will not be completed until December 1997, about 8 months after the Air Force plans to contract for the first production lot and only about 90 days before possible approval for full-rate production and exercising an option for the second production lot; (6) in addition, the Air Force expects to begin operational testing with the B-2 in July 1997, although the B-2 is not designated as an initial deployment aircraft for the JDAM; and (7) the initial production of JDAMs does not appear to be consistent with the purposes outlined in Department of Defense Regulation 5000.2R; for example, the Air Force has already contracted for 630 production representative JDAMs, 275 more than needed for operational testing. GAO requested that the Air Force provide answers to certain questions regarding the production of JDAMs prior to signing a production contract or by April 18, 1997, whichever is earlier.

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