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Army Acquisition: Medium Trucks Passed Key Operational and Technical
Tests (Letter Report, 01/08/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-4).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's testing of
its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) to determine if they meet
contractual and operational requirements.

GAO found that: (1) FMTV exceed the Army's reliability requirements in
both operational and technical tests, and meet most of the Army's
performance requirements; (2) many FMTV are not produced on the
production line and are retrofitted to correct past deficiencies; (3)
the FMTV contract allows the Army to verify whether the contractor has
corrected previously identified problems during testing by comparing the
quality and performance of full-production trucks with that of the final
configuration; and (4) the Army needs adequate assurance that the
full-production and retroactive trucks meet its performance and
reliability, availability, and maintainability requirements.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Army Acquisition: Medium Trucks Passed Key Operational and 
             Technical Tests
      DATE:  01/08/96
   SUBJECT:  Testing
             Contractor responsibility
             Army procurement
             Operations analysis
             Military land vehicles
             Product performance evaluation
             Combat readiness
             Contract specifications
IDENTIFIER:  Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles
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================================================================ COVER

Report to the Honorable
William V.  Roth, Jr., U.S.  Senate

January 1996



Army Acquisition


=============================================================== ABBREV

  DOT&E - Director, Operational Test and Evaluation
  FMTV - Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles
  MMBHMF - Mean miles between hardware mission failures
  MMBOMF - Mean miles between operational mission failures
  RAM - Reliability, availability, and maintainability

=============================================================== LETTER


January 8, 1996

The Honorable William V.  Roth, Jr.
United States Senate

Dear Senator Roth: 

In response to your request, we reviewed the Army's testing of its
Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).  Because of previous FMTV
test failures, we reviewed the performance of the FMTV trucks during
the Army's recently completed technical and operational testing.  Our
primary objective was to determine whether the FMTV demonstrated that
it could meet contractual and operational requirements. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The FMTV trucks passed technical and operational tests, paving the
way for the Army's August 29, 1995, decision to approve full-rate
production.  Following the contractor's modifications of the vehicle
to correct deficiencies identified in previous testing, the Army
conducted (1) a limited follow-on technical test to determine whether
the trucks could meet contractual reliability and performance
requirements and (2) a full operational test to determine whether it
could meet its operational reliability and other mission requirements
when operated and maintained by soldiers.  The trucks exceeded
reliability requirements in both tests and met most performance
requirements.  In those cases where the performance did not meet
requirements, the Army determined that the performance levels were

While the FMTV trucks overall performed satisfactorily, many of the
technical test vehicles were not produced on the production line
and/or were retrofitted to correct past deficiencies.  Also, the
contractor pretested both the technical and operational test vehicles
and corrected deficiencies prior to delivering them to the Army for
testing.  However, the FMTV contract allows the Army to verify that
the contractor has corrected the problems identified during testing
through tests comparing the quality and performance of
full-production trucks with that of the approved final configuration. 
If the Army's comparison tests include full-production and
retrofitted trucks, it should have adequate assurance that the trucks
continue to meet the Army's performance and reliability,
availability, and maintainability (RAM) requirements. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

The FMTV program is one of the Army's largest acquisition programs at
a projected cost of $15.9 billion.  With deliveries starting in 1993,
the Army plans to purchase, over a 30-year period, 87,598 FMTV trucks
to replace its aging medium truck fleet.  The program consists of a
family of 2.5- and 5-ton trucks based on a common truck cab and
chassis.  The 2.5-ton trucks, called light medium tactical vehicles,
consists of cargo and van models and a 2.5-ton cargo trailer.  The
5-ton trucks, called medium tactical vehicles, consists of seven
models--cargo, long wheel base cargo, dump, tanker, tractor, van, and
wrecker--and a 5-ton cargo trailer. 

The Army is procuring the FMTV as a nondevelopmental item using a
competitive testing approach.  Army officials considered this
approach low risk because of the availability of modified commercial
components applicable to the FMTV.  Under this approach, the Army
contracted for FMTV prototypes with three contractors, tested the
prototypes against each other, and awarded a production contract to
the winning contractor.  On October 11, 1991, the Army awarded a
$1.2-billion, 5-year contract for the production of the first 10,843
trucks to the winning contractor.  The contract did not include the
production of the 5-ton tanker and van models or the cargo trailers. 
These vehicles will be produced at a later date if funding is
available.  The contractor is currently in the third year of
production under this contract. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :2.1

Because the winning contractor's prototype performed well during the
competitive testing, the Army planned to perform only a technical
test (Production Qualification Test) and an operational test (Initial
Operational Test and Evaluation) before making the full-rate
production decision.  Also, the Army decided that the two tests could
be performed concurrently.  The Production Qualification Test was to
determine whether the FMTV models fulfill the Army's requirements and
meet contract specifications.  The Initial Operational Test and
Evaluation was designed to determine whether and to what degree the
FMTV could accomplish its mission when operated and maintained by
soldiers in the expected operational environment. 

The contractor experienced some production start-up problems that
delayed the start of the production and operational testing 6 and 10
months, respectively.  The Army began the production test in June
1993 and the operational test in October 1993.  The operational test
was suspended in December 1993 because the trucks were not able to
meet their operational reliability requirements.  Following the
operational test suspension, the contractor identified over 50
problems and began developing fixes for these problems.  The Army
completed the full 20,000-mile production test in December 1994, but
the trucks exhibited poor reliability and failed to meet some
performance requirements.  By the end of the production test, the
Army had identified over 90 problems that the contractor needed to

In June 1994, the Army began a series of limited user tests to help
the contractor identify and validate potential solutions to the
continuing problems.  In August 1994, the Army started a second
operational test with some of the FMTV models.  In September 1994,
operational and limited user testing was suspended.  Test personnel
were not available to conduct the testing because they were deployed
to the Haiti peacekeeping mission.  According to Army test assessment
officials, the vehicles were not meeting their reliability
requirements at the time the second operational test was suspended. 

The Army conducted a limited 12,000 miles per vehicle production test
from February 1995 to June 1995 and a new and complete operational
test from April 1995 to June 1995.  The limited production test was
60 percent of the mileage of the first test, which called for each
vehicle to complete 20,000 miles of RAM testing.  Army test
assessment officials believed a 12,000-mile test was sufficient as
the majority of the previous problems occurred in the first 8,000
miles of testing.  Each van was run 20,000 miles because they were
not included in the original test.  In addition, all the dump truck's
RAM problems identified during the original production test were
either chassis, engine, or drive train problems.  According to Army
test assessment officials, since the dump truck has the same chassis,
engine, and drive train as the 5-ton cargo, which was being retested,
there was no need to retest the dump truck in the RAM portion of the
production test. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The FMTV's performance during the recently completed limited
production and operational tests significantly improved.  The trucks
passed both tests. 

The Army test data in tables 1 through 3 reflect the test results
that supported the Army's decision to proceed to full-rate
production.  This data shows that all models of the truck met their
RAM requirements during the tests.  However, there were different
results for some models according to the analysis performed by the
Defense Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).  For
systems that are ready to enter full-rate production DOT&E is
required to independently assess the system's operational test and
provide a report of that assessment to Congress.  DOT&E's assessment
does not enter into the Army's full-rate production decision. 
DOT&E's results are included in tables 1 and 2. 

                                Table 1
                   Reliability Results of Production
                     Qualification Test and Initial
                    Operational Test and Evaluation

                         Requirem      Army  Requirem      Army  resul
FMTV model                    ent   results       ent   results      t
-----------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  -----
2.5-ton cargo               3,000    12,000     2,200      over  8,424
5-ton cargo                 2,700      over     2,000     6,386  3,198
Dump                        2,700       Not     2,000     2,812  1,688
Tractor                     3,300     4,800     2,500     3,606  1,967
Van                         2,700    10,000     2,000     4,346  3,380
Wrecker                     2,300     4,800     1,900     4,720  2,754
\a Mean miles between hardware mission failures. 

\b Mean miles between operational mission failures. 

                                Table 2
                   Availability Results of Production
                     Qualification Test and Initial
                    Operational Test and Evaluation

                     ((Percent of time available))

                             Requiremen        Army        Army  resul
FMTV model                            t     results     results     ts
---------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  -----
2.5-ton cargo                        91          98          96     95
5-ton cargo                          88          98          96     91
Dump                                 88  Not tested          90     83
Tractor                              88          95          89     84
Van                                  91          98          93     93
Wrecker                              90          97          93     86

                                Table 3
                 Maintainability Results of Production
                     Qualification Test and Initial
                    Operational Test and Evaluation

                     ((Mean miles between essential
                         maintenance actions))

                                            Production     Operational
                            Requiremen   Qualification        Test and
FMTV model                           t            Test      Evaluation
--------------------------  ----------  --------------  --------------
2.5-ton cargo                      450           2,182           3,369
5-ton cargo                        250           1,286           1,521
Dump                               250      Not tested             937
Tractor                            250             857             952
Van                                450           1,429             942
Wrecker                            250             706             767
DOT&E's assessment of the operational test resulted in a general
reduction from the Army's test results.  As can be seen in tables 1
and 2, all FMTV models met or exceeded their reliability and
availability requirements using the Army operational test results. 
Based on the DOT&E data, however, the dump and tractor models did not
meet their reliability requirement, and the dump, tractor, and
wrecker models did not meet their availability requirement. 

DOT&E noted that the FMTV family reliability would probably be a
better measure of the reliability of the dump and tractor models
because they had no failures of model unique subsystems and the
failures that occurred did not appear to be directly related to the
models' missions.  Using the family reliability for the dump and
tractor models, DOT&E concluded that all models met their reliability

DOT&E also noted that the operational tempo during the test was
increased 20 percent above the normal wartime operational tempo and
concluded that the increased operational tempo would cause more
failures during the test and decrease the trucks availability. 
Because of the increased operational tempo during the test, DOT&E
concluded that the dump, tractor, and wrecker models should be
considered to have adequate availability and, therefore, all models
met their availability requirements. 

In addition, all models met or nearly met their performance
requirements, and the Army was willing to accept this level of
performance as satisfactory.  The Army has agreed to accept FMTV
models, which do not fully meet four contractual performance
requirements--external air transport, speed-on-grade, full-load
cooling, and interior noise requirements. 

  The contract requires all FMTVs to be externally air
     transportable--lifted by helicopter--without damage.  However,
     in 4 of 17 lift tests, the FMTV windshield cracked.  Army
     officials believe that a slightly different rigging during
     external transportation and a thicker windshield the contractor
     proposes to install should correct the cracking problem.  The
     Army has agreed to accept the results of these fixes regardless
     of whether they correct the problem because the Army does not
     currently plan to use helicopters to air transport its trucks. 

  The contract requires that each truck model with various loads
     maintain certain speeds on 2- and 3-percent road grades.  Within
     the Army, there was a disagreement on whether this requirement
     should be tested with the cooling fan locked on to simulate the
     greatest load on the engine or with it locked off.  The vehicles
     were tested both ways.  With the fan locked off, all models
     except one met this requirement.  With the fan locked on, three
     models missed meeting the requirement.  The Army agreed to
     accept these results because the FMTV trucks' performances were
     an improvement over the current truck fleet. 

  The contract requires that the engine oil, engine coolant, and
     transmission temperatures not exceed certain temperatures when
     operated under a full load on the engine and drive train,
     defined as a 0.6- tractive force.  All FMTV models except the
     wrecker met these requirements.  The Army test evaluation
     officials said that they believe the wrecker's inability to meet
     this requirement will have minimal operational impact. 

  The contract requires that the interior noise be low enough that
     operators do not need hearing protection.  This means that the
     interior noise may not go over 85 decibels.  However, the 5-ton
     cargo and the van exceeded the interior noise requirement at 80
     kilometers per hour, and the wrecker exceeded this requirement
     at 16 kilometers per hour.  The Army has agreed to accept the
     need for single hearing protection on some models at some

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

The trucks the contractor provided the Army for its most recent
testing may not have been production representative vehicles because
(1) either the Army or the contractor modified some test trucks off
the production line and/or (2) the contractor tested the trucks and
corrected any problems identified prior to delivering the trucks to
the Army for testing. 

The Army was required to conduct the production and operational tests
with production or production representative vehicles.  The FMTV
contract required the contractor to provide production representative
vehicles for the production test.  Defense regulations require that
production or production representative vehicles be used in
operational tests supporting the full-rate production decision.  The
operational test was designed to support the FMTV full-rate
production decision. 

All of the trucks used to demonstrate the RAM portion of the limited
production test were newly produced trucks.  However, some of them
were produced before all of the required changes could be
incorporated into the production line and had to be modified off the
production line to incorporate those changes.  Also, the trucks used
for the performance portion of the limited production test were a
combination of newly produced trucks and trucks used during the first
production test.  The trucks used in the first production test were
modified at the test site to incorporate the required changes;
however, some of these trucks did not receive all the required
changes.  All of the trucks used during the operational test were
produced after the modifications were incorporated into the
production line. 

The contractor conducted a test of about 1,000 miles per truck on the
limited production test trucks and about 600 miles per truck on the
operational test trucks before delivering them to the Army. 
According to Army test officials, the contractor performed this test
to check a new electrical system installed in the test trucks. 
However, according to Defense Plant Representative Office officials
who monitored these tests, the contractor corrected any problems
found on the trucks during the test.  Although these problems did not
require the contractor to make hardware modifications to the test
trucks, they did require the contractor to modify the production

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

The contractor is required to develop corrective actions for all of
the problems identified during the recent production and operational
testing.  If the corrective actions are design changes, they are to
be incorporated into the final approved FMTV configuration--the truck
design incorporating all required changes against which the
production trucks will be compared. 

Problems identified during the tests included the following six
deficiencies that the operational assessment officials labeled as
major safety deficiencies. 

  The starter sometimes did not disengage and overheated, which could
     result in an electrical fire. 

  The brake lines were too close to the exhaust system and could be
     damaged during an exhaust system leak.  Such damage could result
     in the loss of brakes. 

  The bumper was not compatible with the government-furnished tow
     bar, which could cause a loss of control of the towed vehicle. 

  The wrecker main winch free spool switch was too close to the other
     switches and might be accidentally engaged during recovery
     operations.  Accidentally engaging the switch could cause a loss
     of control over the vehicle being recovered. 

  The tractor's gladhandle, a fixture for attaching the air hose that
     allows air pressure to be applied to the brakes on a towed
     trailer, was not compatible with all trailers.  This
     incompatibility could cause a towed trailer's brakes to fail. 

  A transmission indicator light was too bright in the blackout mode,
     which could cause a reduction in the driver's night vision. 

According to Defense and Army assessment officials, the contractor
must correct these deficiencies before the trucks can be fielded. 
The contractor is working on correcting these deficiencies. 

As of June 30, 1995, the contractor had produced 2,163 trucks, and
the Army has conditionally accepted 842 of them.  The contractor is
required to retrofit all these trucks and any additional trucks that
were produced before the final configuration is determined.  The
1,474 trucks produced during the first 2 program years of the
contract will require an extensive retrofit effort, essentially
replacing everything but the frame.  Retrofitting trucks produced
during the third program year will not be as extensive. 

The Defense Plant Representative Office has estimated that the cost
of the retrofit could be as high as $24 million, and the Army may be
required to pay as much as $11.8 million for modifications it wanted
over and above those required to meet contract requirements.  This
estimate was made before the recent testing was completed and does
not include the cost of additional modifications required as a result
of these tests.  The office is currently working on a new retrofit
cost estimate. 

The FMTV contract allows the Army to verify that the contractor has
corrected the problems identified during testing through tests
comparing the quality and performance of full-production trucks with
that of the approved final configuration.  The contract calls for the
Army to conduct up to three of these comparison tests per program
year using two trucks per test.  Each truck will be tested for 10,000
miles in up to 120 days. 

If the Army's comparison tests include full-production and
retrofitted trucks, it should have adequate assurance that the FMTV
trucks continue to meet the Army's RAM and performance requirements. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

The Department of Defense concurred with our report and recommended
that we include the operational test data from the recent DOT&E
report.  We have incorporated this data throughout the report where

The Department also noted that the Army plans to perform the
comparison tests on both retrofit and new production vehicles to
verify that the quality and performance of the vehicles will continue
to meet the requirements.  We believe these tests will be responsive
to our observations on the differences in the Army's and DOT&E's
operational test results, the modifications of test vehicles, and the
needed corrections of identified major safety deficiencies. 

The Department's comments are provided in their entirety in appendix

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

We interviewed and obtained documents from officials in the U.S. 
Army headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Program Executive Office for
Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, U.S.  Army Tank-Automotive and Armament
Command, Warren, Michigan; U.S.  Army Test and Evaluation Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; U.S.  Army Materiel Systems
Analysis Activity, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; U.S.  Army Test
and Experimentation Command, Fort Hood, Texas; U.S.  Army Operational
Test and Evaluation Command, Arlington, Virginia; and Defense Plant
Representative Office, Stewart and Stevenson, Sealy, Texas.  Also, we
observed the operational test scoring conferences at Fort Bragg,
North Carolina.  We conducted our review between August 1994 and
August 1995 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :7.1

We plan no further distribution of this report until 10 days from its
issue date, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier.  At
that time, we will send copies of the report to the Chairmen and
Ranking Minority Members of the House Committees on Government Reform
and Oversight, on National Security, and on Appropriations; the
Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the Senate Committees on
Governmental Affairs, on Armed Services, and on Appropriations; and
the Secretaries of Defense and the Army.  We will also send copies to
other interested parties upon request. 

Please contact me on (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
are listed in appendix II. 

Sincerely yours,

Thomas J.  Schulz
Associate Director, Defense
  Acquisitions Issues

(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
============================================================== Letter 

========================================================== Appendix II


Robert J.  Stolba
Lawrence D.  Gaston, Jr. 


Robert W.  Herman
Gregory A.  Kalin
Daniel J.  Martin

*** End of document. ***