Air Force Rationale for JDAM Production Decision

NSIAD-97-176R: Published: Jun 13, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 1997.

Additional Materials:


Louis J. Rodrigues
(202) 512-4841


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO reviewed the Air Force's response to its letter expressing concern that the Air Force might be making a premature commitment to significant production of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) before demonstrating through operational testing that the JDAM could meet key performance parameters.

GAO noted that: (1) its review indicates that, although the initial production decision was made in April 1997 and the low-rate production contract signed on April 30, 1997, dedicated developmental testing with the B-52H and the F/A-18C/D will not end until August 1997; (2) moreover, initial operational testing will not begin until September 1997; (3) the Secretary of the Air Force's response stated that the Air Force conducted some operational testing with the F-16 in January 1997; (4) however, an official of the Air Force Test and Evaluation Command stated that the January testing was not the same as operational testing because the Air Force used the F-16, which is not one of the threshold aircraft, and it did not have operational flight software; (5) the same official further stated that even the threshold aircraft, the B-52H and the F/A-18C/D, would have to be certified as using operational software in order to be judged ready to conduct operational testing; (6) the January tests evaluated four areas of JDAM development, rating two as having no problems, while rating the other two as having issues that required attention; (7) however, this assessment is not the same as an evaluation prepared after dedicated operational testing; (8) according to Air Force officials, the purpose of this assessment was to evaluate performance to determine if the weapon will be ready for dedicated operational testing; (9) because of JDAM's developmental phase and consequent lack of data, some critical operational issues were not evaluated, in areas that were subsequently assessed as having no issues; (10) in response to GAO's question about the potential impact of delaying the initial JDAM production decision until the services complete developmental and operational tests with the F/A-18C/D and B-52H, the Secretary replied that such a delay would abrogate the production contract with McDonnell Douglas, would result in substantial contractor claims, and delay delivery of production tailkits; and (11) however, until the contract option for JDAM production was awarded on April 30, 1997, there would have been no basis for contractor claims.

Dec 17, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Oct 19, 2020

Oct 16, 2020

Sep 8, 2020

Jul 22, 2020

Jun 23, 2020

Jun 17, 2020

Jun 11, 2020

Mar 19, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here