Apache Longbow Helicopter:

Fire Control Radar Not Ready for Multiyear Procurement

NSIAD-98-11: Published: Nov 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 1997.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Army's plans to award a multiyear contract for the Apache Longbow Helicopter's fire control radar in December 1997, focusing on determining whether the fire control radar design is stable and ready for multiyear contract award.

GAO found that: (1) the award of a multiyear contract for the Apache Longbow fire control radar is inappropriate until the Army has completed development of the radar transmitter's design and tests to demonstrate its performance; (2) under 10 U.S.C. 2306(b), before awarding a multiyear contract, the design of the system should be stable; however, the radar's transmitter, a key component, is being redesigned; (3) the original transmitter may not complete qualification testing and the redesigned transmitter's performance will not be demonstrated before the contract is awarded; (4) in a previous report, GAO expressed concern about the stability of the transmitter's design and concluded that the radar would not be ready for the planned multiyear procurement; and (5) however, the Army still plans to proceed with the multiyear contract.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army alleged that changes to the Fire Control Radar's (FCR) transmitter were relatively minor and did not warrant delaying the FCR multi-year contract award. As a result, a multi-year contract for the FCR was awarded in January 1998. Subsequently, GAO learned that partially because of GAO's findings and recommendations, the Army shelved the redesigned version of the transmitter and went back to using the original transmitter in the FCR.

    Recommendation: Because the redesigned transmitter will be used in approximately 85 percent of the Apache Longbow's fire control radars, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to delay the award of the multiyear contract until the radar has successfully passed first-article and qualification tests with the redesigned transmitter.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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