Electronic Warfare:

Test Results Do Not Support Buying More Common Sensor Systems

NSIAD-98-3: Published: Mar 24, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 1998.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO conducted a follow-up review of the Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Common Sensor (IEWCS) program, focusing on whether results of testing conducted since its previous review support continued IEWCS production.

GAO noted that: (1) test results now available do not support continued IEWCS production; (2) the Army postponed operational testing scheduled for fiscal year (FY) 1997 that was to demonstrate IEWCS operational effectiveness and suitability in a realistic combat environment; (3) the Army replaced operational testing with less-rigorous developmental testing, which showed that the system has serious hardware and software problems; (4) furthermore, FY 1996 tests of IEWCS on a Marine Corps vehicle showed that the Marine Corps' IEWCS prototype also has serious problems, including inaccurately identifying the direction to hostile communication systems by as much as 100 degrees; (5) although the Army plans to conduct additional research and development work on IEWCS, in the interim, it still intends to contract for five more systems while trying to correct the problems; and (6) despite the IEWCS system's many problems, the Marine Corps has joined with the Army and is procuring two IEWCS systems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD and the Army have decided to not produce additional IEWCS systems citing the inability of the system to pass tests.

    Recommendation: The Army plans to contract for five IEWCS systems without demonstrating that additional research and development efforts have corrected known deficiencies. Therefore, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to delay contracting for additional IEWCS systems until operational testing demonstrates that the systems' many problems are fixed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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