Antitank Weapons:

Current and Future Capabilities

PEMD-87-22: Published: Sep 17, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Department of Defense's (DOD) infantry antitank weapons' capabilities to determine the: (1) probability of hitting targets; (2) probability of a target kill; (3) rate of fire; (4) fire sustainability; and (5) infantry and weapons survivability.

GAO found that there was no information available: (1) on many of the elements that could degrade hit probability, since DOD did not routinely cover them in its performance estimates; (2) on the degrading effect of reactive armor on the performance of light weapons; (3) on how combat stress could degrade rates of fire; and (4) to compare attrition rates for each weapon under the same test conditions. GAO believes that its analytical framework could help organize weapon performance data in the acquisition of antitank weapons.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Responding to congressional direction, DOD is revising its antiarmor master plan in accord with the GAO framework. The 1988 Antiarmor Munitions Plan does apply GAO framework to most, but not all, infantry antitank weapons in current and planned U.S. inventory. Continued application is not assured; DOD stated that continued application will depend on reaction to the 1988 plan.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the data generated by DOD regarding antitank weapon performance are comparable across weapon alternatives and cover the fire effectiveness factors and three degradation factors contained in the GAO framework.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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