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Precision-Guided Munitions: Acquisition Plans for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (Letter Report, 06/28/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-144).

GAO evaluated the Air Force's and Navy's Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff
Missile (JASSM) program, focusing on: (1) the acquisition process; (2)
schedule and cost risks; (3) the Air Force's plan to acquire 35 pilot
production missiles; and (4) the Navy's commitment to the program.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force is using an innovative acquisition
process to procure JASSM; (2) the Air Force expects JASSM contractors to
modify existing missile designs, use off-the-shelf technology, and apply
best commercial practices to their design and production work; (3) some
crucial JASSM technologies may not be mature in time for them to be
integrated into JASSM; (4) JASSM may be vulnerable to jamming, and the
Air Force is trying to identify a cost-effective countermeasure; (5) a
JASSM automatic target recognition capability is still under
development; (6) the Air Force will phase in integration of JASSM with
combat aircraft, undertaking separate programs to integrate the missile
with each type of aircraft as funds become available; (7) the Air Force
plans to acquire 35 pilot production missiles, but those missiles may
not be needed for testing, and may not represent the actual production
configuration; (8) the Air Force's unit price goal for JASSM is
optimistic when compared to similar missile procurement programs; (9)
the Navy has not provided JASSM development funding, but carrier
operability is a firm JASSM requirement, and the Navy expects to commit
funds for JASSM integration with the F/A-18 aircraft after JASSM
development; and (10) the need for JASSM may not be as urgent as the Air
Force believes.

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

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-96-144
     TITLE:  Precision-Guided Munitions: Acquisition Plans for the Joint 
             Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
      DATE:  06/28/96
   SUBJECT:  Advanced weapons systems
             Military procurement
             Missiles
             Concurrency
             Military cost control
             Testing
             Military aircraft
             Combat readiness
             Electronic warfare
IDENTIFIER:  Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
             Standoff Land Attack Missile
             Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile
             F/A-18 Aircraft
             Air Force JASSM Single Acquisition Management Plan
             Joint Direct Attack Weapon
             Tomahawk Cruise Missile
             AGM-142 Missile
             AGM-130 Missile
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to Congressional Committees

June 1996

PRECISION-GUIDED MUNITIONS -
ACQUISITION PLANS FOR THE JOINT
AIR-TO-SURFACE STANDOFF MISSILE

GAO/NSIAD-96-144

Precision-Guided Munitions

(707107)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  DOD - Department of Defense
  JASSM - Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
  JDAM - Joint Direct Attack Munition
  SLAM - Standoff Land Attack Missile
  SLAM-ER - SLAM-Expanded Response
  TSSAM - Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-260439

June 28, 1996

Congressional Committees

The Air Force and Navy are developing the Joint Air-to-Surface
Standoff Missile (JASSM) to attack, at nearly any time, high-value,
well-defended targets while allowing the launch aircraft to stay
outside the range of enemy defenses.  We reviewed the JASSM
acquisition plan under our basic legislative responsibilities because
(1) the program has congressional interest, (2) it is a major
acquisition program, and (3) we wanted to determine how the Air Force
plans to overcome the difficulties in meeting stringent requirements
similar to those of the canceled Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile
(TSSAM).  This report, which contains a matter for congressional
consideration, is addressed to you because your committees have
jurisdiction over this area. 

This report discusses (1) the Air Force's plan to use a new
acquisition process that balances capability and affordability
requirements for acquiring JASSM, (2) schedule and cost risks because
of the immaturity of essential technology and the complexity of
integrating JASSM with multiple aircraft, (3) the Air Force's plan to
acquire 35 pilot production missiles early in development that may
not be needed, and (4) the need to strengthen the Navy's commitment
to the program. 


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

In 1986, the Air Force began developing TSSAM to provide a low
observable conventional cruise missile.  Key characteristics included
long-range, autonomous guidance, automatic target recognition, and
precision accuracy with a warhead able to destroy a well-protected
structure.  After the TSSAM procurement unit cost increased from an
estimated $728,000 in 1986 to $2,062,000 in 1994 (then-year dollars),
the Department of Defense (DOD) terminated the program. 

Following a comprehensive reassessment of force requirements, the Air
Force and Navy agreed they urgently needed an affordable missile with
most of TSSAM's characteristics.  They proposed a joint program that
would build upon the lessons learned from TSSAM and more recent
programs that use new acquisition approaches.  On September 20, 1995,
the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and
Technology approved the initiation of the JASSM program, under Air
Force leadership.  It is to be developed, produced, and initially
deployed over the next 5 years. 

The Air Force's April 1996 schedule for JASSM development and early
production calls for

  -- a 24-month competitive program definition and risk reduction
     phase beginning in June 1996 (milestone I);

  -- a 32-month engineering and manufacturing development phase
     beginning in June 1998 (milestone II);

  -- production of 75 low-rate initial production missiles beginning
     in January 2000;

  -- production of 90 full-rate production missiles beginning in
     April 2001 (milestone III); and

  -- initial JASSM deployment in June 2001. 

Figure 1 shows the Air Force's schedule for JASSM development,
missile deliveries, and testing. 

   Figure 1:  JASSM Schedule

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

\a A critical design review is conducted to determine that the
detailed design satisfies performance and engineering required of the
development specification. 

\b First capability is the first attainment of the minimum capability
to effectively employ a weapon of approved specific characteristics
and which is manned or operated by an adequately trained, equipped,
and supported military unit or force. 

The estimated development cost for the JASSM program is $675 million
(fiscal year 1995 dollars).  The Air Force plans to buy about 2,400
missiles at an average unit procurement price of $400,000 to $700,000
(fiscal year 1995 dollars).  Based on these unit prices, we estimate
the procurement cost for 2,400 Air Force missiles is $960 million to
$1.68 billion, and the total estimated acquisition cost (development
and procurement) is
$1.64 billion to $2.36 billion.\1 The Congress appropriated $25
million to start the JASSM program in fiscal year 1996, and the
President's fiscal year 1997 budget includes $198.6 million for the
program. 


--------------------
\1 These cost estimates do not include the costs for Navy missiles
because the Navy has not yet established its procurement plans for
JASSM. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

The central theme of the JASSM program is to use acquisition reforms
and commercial practices to obtain the best value for the government
by meeting the users' requirements for a long-range standoff weapon
at an affordable cost.  We agree with this theme.  However, we are
concerned that procurement reforms will not be sufficient to overcome
the technical challenges of producing a viable and affordable system
in the desired time frames.  The program plan calls for developing
and initially deploying the Air Force's most capable precision-guided
munition in 5 years for no more than $700,000 a missile.  It seems
optimistic when compared to the cost experience for other
less-capable precision-guided munitions in DOD's inventory or
development.  During the 24-month competition, the Air Force intends
to use its new management strategies to address these schedule and
cost risks before advancing into the final development, testing, and
initial production phases.  Considering today's less threatening
security environment and the capabilities of other missile systems in
DOD's inventory, more time, if needed, may be available to minimize
these risks before low-rate initial production. 

Compared to past programs with similar goals, the JASSM acquisition
plan contains schedule and cost risk.  Specifically, the plan does
not appear to allow enough time to develop and test the complex
technology needed for autonomous guidance and automatic target
recognition, and then integrate the missile into the aircraft planned
to carry it.  Even though attempts were made throughout an 8-year
period, to integrate TSSAM with these same aircraft, not one aircraft
was certified to carry the missile during that period. 

The Air Force's plan to manufacture 35 pilot production missiles
early in development increases schedule risk and results in buying
developmental missiles for about $25 million that are not needed to
support the planned test program. 

Even though JASSM is a joint Air Force-Navy program, the Navy's
commitment to the program is uncertain.  JASSM is to be designed for
use at sea, but no Navy funds are committed to its development, no
requirement exists to integrate the missile with the Navy's F/A-18
aircraft during development, and no Navy missiles are included in the
planned production quantity.  In March 1996, the Chief of Naval
Operations committed to providing funds for F/A-18 integration, but
this is not expected to occur during JASSM development. 


   NEW ACQUISITION PROCESS BEING
   USED
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The JASSM Single Acquisition Management Plan has an overriding theme
of affordability.  To provide the required capability at an
affordable cost, the Air Force plans to use a series of new
acquisition processes and encourage industry to use commercial
practices to lower the missile's price and speed its deployment. 

To accomplish these challenging goals, the Air Force intends to
establish a unique partnership with industry.  In contrast to its
past practice, the Air Force intends to minimize (1) the requirements
to use military specifications and standards and (2) government
oversight.  The JASSM request for proposal, for example, is
significantly shorter than for TSSAM and other past missile
acquisition programs, focuses on the desired capability, and does not
tell industry how to develop the missile.  The Air Force intends to
offer industry the maximum possible flexibility to apply commercial
practices and innovation.  During the 24-month competitive phase,
JASSM program office personnel plan to join with contractor personnel
to form problem-solving teams and help facilitate the development of
the proposed missile design. 

The JASSM contractors are expected to modify an existing missile
design, use available off-the-shelf technology, and use a variety of
commercial business and technical practices.  The use of commercial
practices has been stressed to all potential JASSM developers.  These
initiatives are intended to lower development, production, and
operational support costs, as well as reduce the time needed to
develop and produce the system.  The principal focus of the 24-month
competition, for example, is to eliminate unnecessary cost and allow
the contractors to trade off performance and other requirements. 
JASSM cost is as important as technical performance and schedule. 
Another innovation is that the contractor is expected to provide a
lifetime, total system warranty for each missile. 

A similar approach using reforms and commercial practices is being
used in a pilot program to acquire the Joint Direct Attack Munition
(JDAM).  Under this pilot program, the Air Force is developing a
guidance system and steerable tail kit to significantly improve the
accuracy of 1,000- and 2,000-pound general purpose bombs that are
currently in its inventory.  The JDAM program office is projecting at
least a 50-percent reduction in the baseline average unit procurement
price, which includes the cost of a full system warranty. 


   ESSENTIAL TECHNOLOGY MAY NOT BE
   READY
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

Although the Air Force plans to rely upon existing missile designs
and off-the-shelf technology to speed JASSM development, essential
guidance and automatic target recognition technologies are not
mature.  The
2 to 3 years available before JASSM flight testing may not be
sufficient time to fully develop, integrate, and test these complex
subsystems.  Because these technologies are essential to meeting the
program's requirements, their successful development is one of the
pacing items of the program. 


      RELIABLE GUIDANCE SYSTEMS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.1

JASSM is expected to use an inertial navigation system integrated
with a global positioning system receiver to navigate from its launch
point to the target area.  This navigation system is expected to be
low-cost, reliable, and accurate to about 13 meters.  Global
positioning system receivers, however, are vulnerable to both
intentional and unintentional interference, including jamming. 
Recent studies by DOD and the Air Force describe how properly placed
jammers can cause an unprotected global positioning system-aided
weapon to entirely miss its target.  One problem facing the
engineering community is defining the potential jamming threat so
that a cost-effective countermeasure can be developed. 

Although the Air Force is evaluating electronic and other
countermeasures to develop an antijam capability, it appears a
combination of techniques may be needed to ensure reliable and
accurate missile guidance.  Specially designed antennas and more
rapid connection with global positioning system satellites are among
the techniques being considered.  The Defense Science Board
recommended that DOD develop more accurate inertial navigation
systems that do not rely on a global positioning system as much.  The
high cost of potential antijam devices or more accurate navigational
systems has limited their use in precision-guided munitions. 

An Air Force laboratory is conducting a program to develop and test a
global positioning system antijam system suitable for
precision-guided munitions such as JDAM.  Development of the antijam
system began in 1995, and it is scheduled to be tested in fiscal year
1998.  Assuming the threat uncertainties are resolved and the antijam
system's cost is acceptable, it could initially be added to JDAM.  It
may also be adaptable to JASSM and other precision-guided munitions. 
With this schedule, however, this system may not be available in time
to meet JASSM's June 1998 critical design freeze when the missile
design is to be finalized. 


      AUTOMATIC TARGET RECOGNITION
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.2

JASSM requires an automatic target recognition system for a true
fire-and-forget\2

precision attack capability under adverse weather conditions.  Other
programs, such as the Tomahawk, are trying to develop this
technology, but no precision-guided munition available today has that
capability.  Although navigating to the target using a global
positioning system-aided preprogrammed flight plan is a
well-understood technology, reliably finding the target, and
specifically, the desired aim-point without the aid of a pilot
remains an unfilled DOD requirement.  Precision accuracy in smoke,
fog, and adverse weather conditions is a critical aspect of this
technology that remains to be demonstrated in an operational system. 
Affordability and reliability are also important issues. 

The three basic sensor technologies that have been evaluated in
laboratory studies are imaging infrared, laser radar, and synthetic
aperture radar.  All three appear suitable for JASSM, with laser and
synthetic aperture radar technologies offering better adverse weather
performance and easier, less costly mission planning.  None of them,
however, are mature enough to incorporate into an existing design
today.  All would require, in the opinion of Wright Laboratory
engineers, intensive development in an actual weapon system program
like JASSM to become a fully operational system ready for production. 
Wright Laboratory and JASSM program engineers estimated 2 to 3 years
would be needed to develop, integrate, and flight test this
technology.  With a June 1998 design freeze, this does not appear to
support the JASSM development schedule. 

According to JASSM program office officials, synthetic aperture radar
technology could not be available in time for JASSM, and the
availability of laser radar technology is questionable.  They said an
imaging infrared radar could be ready and is a likely candidate for
JASSM.  Based on our analyses of other programs, including TSSAM,
developing imaging infrared technology and its associated mission
planning elements in 2 years will be difficult.  In an autonomous
guidance system using an imaging infrared sensor, the system tries to
match the sensor-detected image to a computer image of the target
obtained earlier.  Because the system relies on light intensity
variation, the time of day, time of year, and atmospheric conditions
are important and sometimes difficult to manage.  Extensive
laboratory testing by the Air Force has shown that such systems are
error prone and unreliable.  Also, the key problems of mission
planning have not yet been satisfactorily resolved. 


--------------------
\2 Fire and forget is a term applied to a weapon system that does not
require operator assistance to guide it once it is fired. 


   AIRCRAFT INTEGRATION APPROACH
   ADDS COST AND SCHEDULE RISK
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

JASSM is to ultimately be carried by a variety of Air Force and Navy
aircraft, including F-16, F-15, and F/A-18 fighters and B-52H, B-1B,
and B-2 bombers.  Because these aircraft have different structural
and electrical systems, JASSM must be designed to be compatible with
all of them.  For example, the missile can weigh no more than 2,250
pounds based on a F-16 and F/A-18 carriage limitation.  The missile
can be no longer than
168 inches for it to fit on the B-1B's internal launcher.  It must
also be compatible with different electrical circuits and software
systems applicable to the various aircraft launch platforms. 

Integrating a missile with multiple aircraft is a complex task and
has taken other programs years of wind tunnel testing, fit checks,
electrical and software analyses, and extensive flight testing. 
Numerous changes, for example, were made to TSSAM to accommodate the
idiosyncracies of the same aircraft that are planned to carry JASSM. 
Attempts to integrate TSSAM with these same aircraft occurred over 8
years, yet not one aircraft was certified to carry the missile during
that period.  Availability of suitable test aircraft and stable
electrical and software configurations were among the problems
slowing the integration of TSSAM.  The JASSM program office
identified these same problems as potential risk areas. 

To speed JASSM's development, the Air Force has decided to initially
integrate the missile only with F-16 and B-52H aircraft.  Later, as
funds are available, separate programs are to complete integration
with the remaining aircraft.  While the program manager expects this
plan to reduce the complexity of the integration task during JASSM
development, we believe it adds technical risk and undisclosed future
costs.  Technical risk remains because compatibility evaluations are
not sufficient to identify all potential integration issues.  Also,
the costs of integrating JASSM on several other aircraft (i.e., F-15,
F/A-18, B-1B, and B-2) are not included in the $675-million
development cost estimate.  Moreover, as currently planned,
postponing these difficult tasks until after the government and
contractor development team is dispersed risks losing essential
experience and expertise. 


   SOME DEVELOPMENTAL MISSILES MAY
   NOT BE NEEDED
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

The Air Force plans to buy 72 JASSMs during development and 75 during
low-rate initial production.  Of the 72 developmental missiles, 37
are to support the development test program, including initial
operational test and evaluation, and 35 are to be pilot production
missiles to demonstrate that the contractor can repeatedly produce
quality missiles for no more than an average unit price of $700,000
(fiscal year 1995 dollars).  If the Air Force revised its JASSM
acquisition schedule and used the low-rate initial production
missiles for proving the production process and for initial
operational test and evaluation, it could reduce the number of
developmental missiles and save about $25 million. 

The Air Force plans to begin manufacturing the 35 pilot production
missiles in November 1998, or soon after the start of the 32-month
development and testing phase.  Conducting pilot production early in
the development phase, however, increases schedule risk and may
result in manufacturing missiles requiring design and production
process changes after production begins.  A similar pilot production
program was used for the Advanced Cruise Missile program, and none of
those missiles were similar enough to the final configuration that
they could be updated and deployed at a reasonable cost.  In the case
of the Advanced Cruise Missile program, as the flight test program
identified design and manufacturing deficiencies, many changes were
made to the missile's guidance set, sensor, actuators, and other
subsystems; the program's schedule slipped; and projected costs
increased. 

According to DOD Regulation 5000.2, low-rate initial production is
the minimum quantity necessary to (1) provide production-configured
or representative articles for operational tests, (2) establish an
initial production base for the system, and (3) permit an orderly
increase in the production rate for the system sufficient to lead to
full-rate production upon successful completion of operational
testing.  The regulation, therefore, contemplates that low-rate
initial production missiles can be used for proving the production
process and for initial operational test and evaluation.  As now
planned, however, 9 of the 37 developmental missiles will be used for
initial operational test and evaluation and the 75 low-rate initial
production missiles will be delivered only after this testing is
completed.  The 35 pilot production missiles, after proving the
production line, will be used for additional testing, if needed, and
to establish an early operational capability. 

If the JASSM acquisition plan is revised to eliminate the 35 pilot
production missiles, the Air Force could reduce some of the overlap
between development and production, as well as the associated cost
and schedule risk.  Also, using low-rate initial production missiles
would reduce the number of development test missiles required.  Each
of the early missiles is expected to cost approximately $700,000;
eliminating the 35 pilot production missiles would reduce development
cost by about $25 million. 


   JASSM UNIT PRICE GOAL IS
   OPTIMISTIC
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

To ensure that JASSM is affordable, the Air Force established an
average unit procurement price goal ranging from $400,000 to $700,000
(fiscal year 1995 dollars).  The $400,000 price is the program
objective, while the $700,000 price is the threshold beyond which the
Air Force would reevaluate continuing the program.  We support the
Air Force's objective to acquire an affordable and capable
replacement for TSSAM.  However, we are concerned that the JASSM
price is optimistic and could lead to acquisition problems as the
program proceeds. 

As a critical parameter for the JASSM program, the average unit
procurement price is firm and not expected to increase.  In fact, the
program manager has challenged interested contractors to achieve the
$400,000 objective price, if possible.  The Air Force believes the
price objective is achievable if (1) JASSM is derived from an
existing missile in a competitive environment and (2) the Air Force
and contractor are able to realize savings by implementing
acquisition reforms and using best commercial practices.  The program
office prepared a cost estimate that supports the $700,000 threshold
price, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense is reviewing the
estimate. 

Attaining a price within the $400,000 to $700,000 range will be the
focus of the 24-month competition when the contractors are to trade
off performance and other requirements to obtain the most
cost-effective system possible.  A similar process was used in the
JDAM program, a guidance and steerable tail kit for general purpose
bombs.  The JDAM program office expects to reduce the average unit
procurement price by at least 50 percent. 

Price goals were also proposed for other missile programs.  For many
of them, however, the average production unit price grew as the
program matured.  For example, the production unit price for TSSAM
increased from an estimated $728,000\3 to about $2.1 million
(then-year dollars).  Although TSSAM's production price grew more
than other programs, many of those we examined experienced cost
growth. 

Our comparison of the estimated unit prices for several missiles in
DOD's inventory and development disclosed that JASSM is expected to
cost less yet provide significantly greater capability.  Several
precision-guided munitions in inventory and development cost more
than the $700,000 average procurement price established for the JASSM
program.  Yet, none of these missiles have the automatic target
recognition capability required for JASSM, which is expected to
contribute significantly to the system's cost.  Missile systems that
most closely approximate the capability expected of JASSM, such as
the Navy's Tomahawk and the Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded
Response (SLAM-ER) missiles, cost significantly more.  Others, such
as the Air Force's AGM-130 and AGM-142, do not have the range,
accuracy, or carrier flexibility required for JASSM, yet they cost
about the same as the JASSM threshold price or more.  Also, none of
these missiles has the lifetime, full service warranty planned for
JASSM. 

Containing cost growth on other missile programs has led to some of
the following acquisition problems: 

  -- reduced performance and system capability,

  -- postponement of key capabilities until a later production block
     or modification program,

  -- reduced procurement quantities and higher unit price, and

  -- initiation of other programs to meet unfilled requirements. 

In time, cumulative efforts to reduce costs led to contractor, user,
and congressional dissatisfaction.  Some programs were cut back
significantly, while others were terminated.  The TSSAM program, for
example, was terminated after nearly 8 years and $4.4 billion were
invested, because of significant development difficulties and growth
in its expected unit cost.  Based on this extensive history of
overrunning initial cost estimates, it is incumbent for DOD to watch
this program closely. 


--------------------
\3 The production unit cost goal was $405,000 (fiscal year 1984
dollars) when proposed. 


   NAVY COMMITMENT IS UNCERTAIN
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

Although JASSM is a joint Air Force and Navy program, the Navy has
not provided development funding and, until March 1996, did not
require carrier operability.  Also, integration with the F/A-18 is
not planned during the development program.  Further, none of the
2,400 missiles planned for procurement are intended for Navy use. 
This brings the Navy commitment into question. 

For JASSM to be carried on, stored within, and launched from an
aircraft carrier or other ship, it must meet Navy environmental and
supportability requirements.  These requirements are significantly
more demanding than those for a land-based missile system.  They must
be designed into the missile system.  Adding them later, according to
the program office, would require a basic redesign of the system and
a production block change.  Until recently, these characteristics
were optional, but, after a March 1996 meeting between DOD, service,
and contractor personnel, carrier operability became a firm
requirement and is to be designed into JASSM. 

Integrating JASSM with the F/A-18 is not scheduled during the
development program.  This integration issue was debated by the Air
Force and Navy during the formation of the JASSM acquisition plan. 
The issues appear to be funding, availability of test aircraft, and
increased complexity of the development program.  In March 1996, the
Chief of Naval Operations committed to providing funds for F/A-18
integration, but this is not expected to occur during JASSM
development. 


   RAPID DEPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE SO
   URGENT
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

To meet the Air Force's urgent need for JASSM, the program's
development and initial production is scheduled to achieve an initial
deployment of the weapon system in late 2001, or about 5 years after
the start of the program.  While no other missile in DOD's inventory
provides all the capabilities planned for JASSM, several in inventory
or development offer significant capability, particularly for the
Navy.  Accordingly, the services may have more time, if necessary, to
develop and test JASSM without excessive schedule risk. 

The JASSM Mission Need Statement identifies an urgent need for a new
missile, because current air-launched standoff weapons are very
limited in number and do not provide the required capability.  The
Operational Requirements Document states that JASSM should provide
the following required capabilities: 

  -- long standoff range,

  -- autonomous guidance,

  -- precision accuracy,

  -- automatic target recognition,

  -- ability to destroy fixed hard and soft targets,\4

  -- carriage by the primary fighter and bomber aircraft, and

  -- survivability. 

According to Air Force officials at the Air Combat Command, JASSM is
urgently needed because (1) the Command expected to have TSSAM in the
year 2000; (2) until JASSM is deployed, Air Force bombers and
fighters will have only a limited number of long-range missiles; and
(3) available weapons are unable to destroy enemy command and control
operations and integrated air defenses with acceptable attrition
rates.  Until this need is met, Command officials believe less
cost-effective and less-capable alternatives will have to be used,
resulting in potentially higher attrition rates for both the weapons
and launch platforms. 

Although no existing weapon has all the characteristics planned for
JASSM, several precision-guided munitions in the inventory or
development have some of them.  For example, the SLAM-ER\5 will
provide much of the range planned for JASSM.  SLAM-ER does not have
an automatic target recognition capability, but can achieve precision
accuracy with pilot assistance.  The Tomahawk missile, widely used
during Desert Storm, can be launched hundreds of miles from a target
to attack a specific building.  The Navy has several thousand
Tomahawk missiles in its inventory, and an improved version is being
developed.  Table 1 shows the characteristics and quantities of
precision-guided munitions in inventory and development.\6



                                     Table 1
                     
                            Precision-Guided Munition
                          Characteristics and Quantities


Missile
system      Range         Guidance      Warhead type  Carrier           Quantity
----------  ------------  ------------  ------------  ------------  ------------
Inventory systems
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AGM-130     over 15 nm    Television    2000-pound    F-15E , F-             602
                          and infrared  general       111
                          with man-     purpose
                          in-loop\a

AGM-142     over 15 nm    Television    750-pound     B-52H            about 130
(Have Nap)                and infrared  blast/
                          with man-     fragmentatio
                          in-loop       n or
                                        penetrator

AGM-86C     over 350 nm   Autonomous    Blast/        B-52H             over 200
(CALCM)                                 fragmentatio
                                        n

AGM-84E     over 60 nm    GPS/INS plus  Blast/        F/A-18                 767
(SLAM)                    IIR with      fragmentatio
                          man-in-loop   n

Tomahawk    over 350 nm   Autonomous    Unitary or    Ships,               3,405
C/D                                     submunition   submarines


Developmental systems
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JASSM       over 60 nm    Autonomous    Blast/        F-16,                2,400
                                        fragmentatio  B-52H
                                        n and
                                        penetrator

AGM-154     over 15 nm    GPS/INS with  Blast/        F/A-18,             23,800
(JSOW)                    man-in-loop   fragmentatio  AV-8B,
                                        n, or         P3, S3
                                        penetrator

SLAM-ER     over 60 nm    GPS/INS plus  Blast/        F/A-18               700\b
                          IIR with      fragmentatio
                          man-in-loop   n
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Legend

nm = nautical miles
GPS/INS = global positioning system/inertial navigation system
IIR = imaging infrared

\a DOD uses the term "man-in-the-loop" when the operator can manually
guide the munition to the target. 

\b The Navy plans to upgrade and retrofit 700 of the 767 baseline
SLAMs to the SLAM-ER configuration. 

In addition to developing JASSM, the Air Force and Navy are buying
and/or modifying additional precision-guided munitions.  For example,
the Navy plans to modify 700 SLAMs to the SLAM-ER version, which is
planned to have greater standoff range, lethality, and accuracy than
SLAM.  About 1,000 Harpoon missiles could also be upgraded to SLAM-ER
missiles if they are needed.  The Air Force has increased its
procurement of AGM-142 and AGM-130 missiles and is modifying 200
nuclear Air-Launched Cruise Missiles to the conventional
configuration. 

Although none of these weapons have all the characteristics planned
for JASSM, the precision-guided munitions in the inventory and those
planned to be added to the inventory in the next few years provide a
strong capability for U.S.  forces.  Since several of these weapons
were not available previously, this capability will be more effective
than that used during the successful air campaign of Desert Storm. 


--------------------
\4 Fixed hard targets include bridges, port facilities, hardened
aircraft shelters, underground command posts, and bunkers; fixed soft
targets include factories and manufacturing sites, general purpose
buildings, roads, and rail yards. 

\5 The SLAM-ER is an upgrade and retrofit to the baseline SLAM.  It
will maintain baseline SLAM capability while improving performance in
the areas of launch and control, aircraft survivability, immunity to
countermeasures and probability of kill against hardened targets. 
SLAM-ER is also expected to provide improved range, hard target
penetration and user interfaces for both mission planning and
aircraft integration. 

\6 For further information on these and other precision-guided
munitions, see Weapons Acquisition:  Precision-Guided Munitions in
Inventory, Production, and Development (GAO/NSIAD-95-95, June 23,
1995). 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :10

The difficulties of developing critical technologies and the
potential of cost growth, as well as our view that this missile is
not urgently needed, are real concerns.  To minimize them, we believe
that the progress of this program should be managed by accomplishment
of significant events and not just to meet a tight time schedule. 
Therefore, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense ensure that (1)
required autonomous guidance and automatic target recognition
technologies are mature before finalizing the JASSM design, (2) the
Air Force does not acquire the 35 pilot production missiles early in
development without a demonstrated need for additional test missiles,
(3) missiles used during planned initial operational test and
evaluation are production-representative missiles, and (4) the Navy
participates fully in the program so the final JASSM design meets
both Air Force and Navy requirements. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :11

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD agreed with three of the
four recommendations.  It agreed to ensure that essential technology
is mature before finalizing the JASSM design,
production-representative missiles are used for initial operational
test and evaluation, and the Navy participates fully in the program
so that the JASSM design meets the needs of both services. 

DOD did not agree with our recommendation that the Air Force not
acquire the 35 pilot production missiles early in the development
phase without a demonstrated need for more test missiles.  DOD stated
that the Air Force's plans to use these missiles for maturing the
production process, for certain tests, for flight test spares, and
for an early deployment option were justified. 

Although we agree the pilot production missiles can serve all of
these purposes, without a sense of urgency for fielding this weapon,
we are not convinced that spending about $25 million for these
missiles so early in the program is necessary.  Early pilot
production increases the risk of manufacturing missiles that require
significant changes to make them deployable.  We further believe DOD
would be better served if low-rate initial production missiles were
used instead.  Low-rate initial production missiles can serve all of
the purposes identified by the Air Force for the 35 pilot production
missiles, and they can be deployed. 

The DOD response is included in appendix I. 


   MATTER FOR CONGRESSIONAL
   CONSIDERATION
----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :12

Because the Air Force's plan to manufacture 35 pilot production
missiles early in development increases schedule risk and results in
buying developmental missiles that are not needed to support the
planned test program, the Congress may wish to consider not providing
the estimated $25 million for the 35 pilot production missiles. 


   SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :13

We reviewed Air Force and Navy requirements documents that are the
basis for the JASSM program.  We then reviewed the JASSM acquisition
plans to determine if the program will fulfill the requirement.  We
reviewed historical cost data on existing missile systems to
determine how planned acquisition costs compared to actual production
costs. 

We identified Air Force and Navy precision-guided munitions that are
in production or about to go into production to determine what
interim capability will be available until JASSM becomes operational. 

We discussed precision-guided munition technology with research
engineers to find out what capabilities are available now and what is
still in development.  We interviewed Air Force and Navy personnel
concerning requirements and acquisition.  We visited or spoke with
personnel at the following locations: 

  -- JASSM Program Office, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida;

  -- Air Force Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia;

  -- Naval Air Systems Command, Arlington, Virginia;

  -- Air Force Headquarters, Washington, D.C.;

  -- Wright Laboratories, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and

  -- Wright Laboratories, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. 

We conducted our review between January 1995 and March 1996 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


--------------------------------------------------------- Letter :13.1

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense,
the Air Force, and the Navy; the Director, Office of Management and
Budget; and other interested parties.  We will also make copies
available to others upon request. 

Please contact Thomas J.  Schulz, Associate Director, Defense
Acquisitions Issues at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
were Raymond Dunham, Matthew R.  Mongin, and Gerald W.  Wood. 

Louis J.  Rodrigues
Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues


List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable Strom Thurmond
Chairman
The Honorable Sam Nunn
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Ted Stevens
Chairman
The Honorable Daniel K.  Inouye
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Floyd D.  Spence
Chairman
The Honorable Ronald V.  Dellums
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

The Honorable C.W.  Bill Young
Chairman
The Honorable John P.  Murtha
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on National Security
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
COMMENTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE
============================================================== Letter 



(See figure in printed edition.)

Now on p.  15. 

Now on p.  15. 



(See figure in printed edition.)

Now on p.  15. 

Now on p.  15. 

*** End of document. ***