Defense Acquisitions: Steps to Improve the Crusader Program's Investment Decisions: GAO-02-201

February 2002
GAO Reports;2/25/2002, p1
Government Documents
The Army wants an artillery system with greater firepower, range, and mobility than its current self-propelled howitzer. In 1994, the Army began to develop the Crusader, an advanced artillery system consisting of a self-propelled 155-millimeter howitzer and a resupply vehicle. The Department of Defense (DOD) will decide next year whether the Crusader program should enter its system development and demonstration stage, which will require the commitment of major resources. GAO found that the Crusader program has made considerable progress in developing key technologies and reducing its size and weight. However, more progress and knowledge is needed to minimize the risk of cost overruns, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls. The Crusader program will likely enter product development with most of its critical technologies less mature than best practices recommend. Most of the Crusader's critical technologies have been demonstrated in a relevant environment but not in the more demanding operational environment. Although the Army is reducing the Crusader's weight so that two vehicles can be deployed on a C-17 aircraft, the deployability advantage gained does not appear significant. The reduction in the Crusader system's weight would only decrease the number of C-17 flights needed to transport two complete systems and support equipment from five to four flights. A lighter system offers several other benefits, and knowing the magnitude of the deployability advantage of reduced weight would allow the Army to make better decisions on trade offs. An apparent overlap exists between the Crusader's and the Future Combat Systems' capabilities and schedules. The Army expects the Future Combat Systems to meet the same artillery missions as the Crusader and eventually replace it. The current schedules for initial fielding of the Future Combat Systems and the Crusader system occur in the same year, 2008. The extent of this apparent overlap depends more on the Future Combat Systems than the Crusader because less is known about the Future Combat Systems' technologies.


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