Close Air Support Test Objectives Should Be Reexamined

PSAD-78-119: Published: Jun 6, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1978.

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The joint Army and Air Force operational test on tactical aircraft effectiveness and survivability in close air support and antiarmor operations (TASVAL) will be delayed 1 year, until the Spring of 1979, because of environmental impact constraints, test instrument limitations, and the scarcity of threat simulators. Although the problems causing the delay are expected to be resolved, the current test plans do not adequately address a principal purpose of the test--to reduce the uncertainties associated with decisions on acquiring new weapons systems for use in close air support. The test objectives are primarily directed toward collecting data on losses of existing air and group weapons, but, by themselves, these results will not be useful for extrapolation to future aircraft, threats, or different combat environments. The objectives do not examine the target acquisition contribution to the effectiveness and survivability of the attack aircraft. An evaluation plan has not been prepared to show how the test data will be analyzed. The test and evaluation plans should provide for extrapolating the test results to future aircraft and future threats to comply with the purpose of supporting acquisition decisions. Test and evaluation plans should also place greater emphasis on collecting target acquisition and exposure time data with and without current helicopter and air controller aircraft support.

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