Navy Tactical Computer Development--Limited Competition and Questionable Future Software Savings

Gao ID: MASAD-81-28 May 15, 1981

GAO was requested to report on the Navy's program for development of new tactical computers. Concern was expressed as to whether the Navy obtained maximum competition and provided for the early phase-in of the new Department of Defense (DOD) standard computer programming language called Ada. The objectives of the review were to determine: (1) why the Navy did not get more than two manufacturers to make offers on the AN/UYK-43 and AN/UYK-44 development; (2) if and how well the Navy can implement Ada; and (3) what the Navy needs to do in the future to enhance competition and Ada effectiveness.

Competition for the AN/UYK-43 and AN/UYK-44 computers was limited. GAO believes that the Navy made a concerted effort to get companies to make offers on the computers the Navy specified, as evidenced by continued industry participation in various project stages. However, limited competition resulted for a number of reasons. Many U.S. computer manufacturers prefer more latitude to determine how to meet a customer's needs than the Navy allowed in its proposals. The Navy will be able to convert to Ada and plans to use Ada for new weapon systems programs and major upgrades. However, the consensus of the industry representatives is that the Navy will not be able to obtain anticipated Ada software economies because the instruction set architectures specified are not suited to Ada. The Navy defined these specified architectures to obtain further benefits from software expenditures. The current Navy computers are becoming inadequate. Increased requirements for new weapons system applications necessitate new computers to maintain a high level fleet capability. The Navy has begun to develop a concept for replacement of the computers. Their objectives are increased competition and faster technology infusion.


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