Matters of Concern Observed in Evaluation of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Program

Gao ID: MASAD-83-17 February 28, 1983

GAO reviewed the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) program, a joint Air Force and Navy program designed to replace the Sparrow Missile, to determine the extent to which the program is likely to satisfy Air Force and Navy performance objectives and the status and significant issues concerning the program.

GAO found that assessments and simulations made of operational usefulness during 1981 and 1982 highlighted the favorable combat attributes of AMRAAM. However, these studies suggest that some AMRAAM-related capabilities may have only marginal usefulness in combat. In addition, GAO found that AMRAAM technical performance remains uncertain. Demonstration of the missile's total performance will not be possible until after planned November 1984 production commitments. Full-scale development testing is scheduled to continue well beyond the initial commitment to production. The validation phase schedule proved to be unrealistic, and the full-scale development schedule seems to be no less ambitious. Finally, GAO found that a July 1982 estimate shows that the AMRAAM acquisition cost has more than tripled since concept validation began, and this estimate does not include known elements which could add substantially to acquisition costs. A Department of Defense estimate shows that the program's life-cycle cost may approach $14 billion.

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