Index


Army Armored Systems: Meeting Crusader Requirements Will Be a Technical
Challenge (Letter Report, 06/06/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-121).

GAO reviewed selected aspects of the Army's Crusader program to
determine: (1) the status of the program; and (2) whether there are any
alternative howitzer systems that could meet the Crusader requirements.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army believes that the Crusader system, using
advanced technologies, has the potential to revolutionize field
artillery operations; (2) according to Army analyses, the system could
increase force effectiveness, in terms of rounds fired, missions
completed, and enemy systems destroyed and reduce U.S. losses, up to 52
percent; (3) however, developing and integrating the Crusader system to
meet all the Army's requirements will be technically challenging because
it depends heavily upon the accomplishment of many technological firsts
for U.S. field artillery systems; (4) these include the automated
ammunition loading and handling system, automated ammunition and fuel
transfer system, and actively cooled cannon barrel; (5) not meeting some
requirements could have an adverse effect on system potential; (6) for
example, the system needs to achieve a 10-rounds-per-minute firing rate
because the Army's force effectiveness analyses showed that an
eight-round rate would cause the U.S. force to lose in some battlefield
scenarios; (7) also, as currently designed, some subsystems have no
backup capabilities, therefore, if the system does not meet its
reliability requirement, it may not be able to perform its mission; (8)
for example, the Crusader's autoloader has no backup; (9) if the
autoloader fails, the Crusader howitzer will be unable to fire because
the cannon cannot be hand loaded; (10) in response to funding
reductions, the Army is making critical program scheduling decisions
that will compress the program's schedule beyond its already-compressed
schedule under the streamlined acquisition process; (11) in the past,
such schedule adjustments have resulted in reduced testing and/or
concurrent testing, allowing programs to enter low-rate initial
production before they were ready; (12) allowing programs to enter
low-rate initial production before they were ready has often resulted in
procurement of substantial inventories of unsatisfactory weapon systems
which required costly modifications or, in some cases, substandard
weapon systems being procured for combat forces; (13) no existing
alternative artillery system meets all of the Army's projected artillery
requirements; and (14) however, if the Crusader cannot meet its
requirements, other artillery systems, such as an improved Paladin or
the German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, may provide an alternative*

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

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-97-121
     TITLE:  Army Armored Systems: Meeting Crusader Requirements Will Be 
             a Technical Challenge
      DATE:  06/06/97
   SUBJECT:  Advanced weapons systems
             Army procurement
             Systems design
             Weapons research
             Defense capabilities
             Military land vehicles
             Military systems analysis
             Concurrency
             Ground warfare
             Testing
IDENTIFIER:  M992 Vehicle
             Paladin Howitzer
             Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle
             Crusader Self-Propelled Howitzer
             Crusader Resupply Vehicle
             M109A6 Howitzer
             Pzh 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzer
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to the Secretary of Defense

June 1997

ARMY ARMORED SYSTEMS - MEETING
CRUSADER REQUIREMENTS WILL BE A
TECHNICAL CHALLENGE

GAO/NSIAD-97-121

Army Armored Systems

(707180)


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

  DOD - Department of Defense
  FAASV - Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle
  MDAPS - Major Defense Acquisition Programs
  MAIS - Major Automated Information System

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


B-276453

June 6, 1997

The Honorable William S.  Cohen
The Secretary of Defense

Dear Mr.  Secretary: 

The Army is developing its next generation field artillery system,
called the Crusader, to support its fast moving maneuver forces.  The
Crusader system consists of a self-propelled 155-millimeter howitzer
and a resupply vehicle.  We reviewed selected aspects of the Crusader
program to determine (1) what the status of the program was and (2)
whether there are any alternative howitzer systems that could meet
the Crusader requirements. 


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

The Crusader was to be developed with an advanced technology, liquid
propellant cannon; however, in March 1996, the Army decided to
develop the system with an advanced technology solid propellant
cannon because of escalating developmental costs and chronic
technical problems associated with the liquid propellant cannon.  The
Army plans to replace its current self-propelled artillery
system--the M109A6 Paladin and the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition
Support Vehicle (FAASV)--with the Crusader system in the rapidly
deployable and forward deployed forces.  The Army estimates it will
cost over $12 billion (in fiscal year 1995 constant dollars) to
design and procure 824 Crusader howitzers and 824 Crusader resupply
vehicles.\1 The Crusader system unit cost is estimated to be $14.7
million (in fiscal year 1995 constant dollars)--$7.5 million for the
howitzer, $5.8 million for the resupply vehicle, and $1.4 million
that the Army could not divide between the two vehicles. 

The system is being designed under its program definition and risk
reduction phase, with the first prototype scheduled for delivery in
October 1999.  The Crusader program is using the integrated product
development philosophy with a Crusader development team consisting of
the Army and a contractor team led by United Defense Limited
Partnership.  Department of Defense (DOD) regulations require that
decision criteria be established for each major decision point in a
major defense acquisition program.\2

In August 2003, the Army plans to decide whether the program should
be allowed to enter the low-rate initial production. 

DOD determined that the primary threat future U.S.  artillery systems
would encounter is target acquisition radars and other reconnaissance
and surveillance systems that would enable an enemy to quickly locate
and return fire once a howitzer starts firing.  To be successful
against this threat, the Army determined that it would need an
artillery system that could provide accurate and lethal fire from
longer ranges than the current systems and that could move and
generate combat firepower quickly to evade enemy counterfire.  In
addition, some foreign howitzers currently have greater range than
the Army's current system, the Paladin, and Operation Desert Storm
demonstrated that current U.S.  howitzers were unable to keep up with
the maneuver force. 

The Crusader system's five key requirements, called key performance
parameters, call for improved performance in these areas over
existing systems.  System lethality and survivability are expected to
be improved by meeting the requirements that the Crusader cannon have
a range of 40 to 50 kilometers, a maximum rate of fire of 10 to 12
rounds per minute for
3 to 5 minutes, and the ability to rearm the howitzer with 60
complete rounds in less than 12 minutes.  Mobility is expected to be
improved by meeting requirements for both vehicles to be capable of
sustained cross country speeds of 39 to 48 kilometers per hour and
sustained highway speeds of 67 to 78 kilometers per hour. 


--------------------
\1 The Crusader costs are program acquisition costs and consist of
research and development, procurement, and military construction
costs that are in direct support of the system. 

\2 DOD Regulation 5000.2-R "Mandatory Procedures for Major Defense
Acquisition Programs (MDAPS) and Major Automated Information System
(MAIS) Acquisition Programs," dated March 15, 1996. 


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

The Army believes that the Crusader system, using advanced
technologies, has the potential to revolutionize field artillery
operations.  According to Army analyses, the system could increase
force effectiveness--in terms of rounds fired, missions completed,
and enemy systems destroyed and reduce U.S.  losses--up to 52
percent. 

However, developing and integrating the Crusader system to meet all
the Army's requirements will be technically challenging because it
depends heavily upon the accomplishment of many technological firsts
for U.S.  field artillery systems.  These include the automated
ammunition loading and handling system, automated ammunition and fuel
transfer system, and actively cooled cannon barrel.  Not meeting some
requirements could have an adverse effect on system potential.  For
example, the system needs to achieve a 10-rounds-per-minute firing
rate because the Army's force effectiveness analyses showed that an
8-round rate would cause the U.S.  force to lose in some battlefield
scenarios.  Also, as currently designed, some subsystems have no
backup capabilities; therefore, if the system does not meet its
reliability requirement, it may not be able to perform its mission. 
For example, the Crusader's autoloader has no backup.  If the
autoloader fails, the Crusader howitzer will be unable to fire
because the cannon cannot be hand loaded. 

In response to funding reductions, the Army is making critical
program scheduling decisions that will compress the program's
schedule beyond its already-compressed schedule under the streamlined
acquisition process.  In the past, such schedule adjustments have
resulted in reduced testing and/or concurrent testing, allowing
programs to enter low-rate initial production before they were ready. 
Allowing programs to enter low-rate initial production before they
were ready has often resulted in procurement of substantial
inventories of unsatisfactory weapon systems that required costly
modifications or, in some cases, substandard weapon systems being
procured for combat forces. 

No existing alternative artillery system meets all of the Army's
projected artillery requirements.  However, if the Crusader cannot
meet its requirements, other artillery systems, such as an improved
Paladin or the German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, may provide
an alternative to improve the Army's current artillery capabilities. 


   ARMY BELIEVES CRUSADER COULD
   REVOLUTIONIZE FIELD ARTILLERY
   OPERATIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

According to the Army, the Crusader system could revolutionize Army
field artillery operations.  It is expected to be the Army's first
fully automated and computerized, tracked combat vehicle system. 
Also, it is expected to be the first tracked vehicle system designed
for the digital battlefield.  The Army expects these features to
change the way it uses artillery. 

The system is expected to eliminate repetitive, time-consuming,
labor-intensive tasks traditionally performed by artillery system
crews.  Currently, the Paladin's crew manually loads and fires the
cannon.  Likewise, Army officials said that the FAASV crew generally
carries the projectiles and propellant between vehicles during
resupply because it is faster than using the FAASV shuttle arm--a
small conveyor belt--to move projectiles between the vehicles. 
However, in the Crusader system's current design, all cannon loading,
firing, and resupply tasks will be fully automated, controlled by
crewmembers seated at their computerized crew stations.  The resupply
vehicle will require some manual effort for replenishing its load. 

The Army plans to use the Crusader howitzer in more flexible ways
than traditional artillery.  Unlike the Paladin, the Army expects the
Crusader howitzer to be capable of operating independent of a fire
control center on missions such as raids and ambushes.  In the
digital environment, the crew is expected to receive up-to-date
intelligence on their crew station displays that allows them to be
aware of the battlefield situation and to make tactical decisions. 
Also, the Army expects a single howitzer to be capable of firing from
four to eight artillery rounds, depending on range to the target,
fast enough and on different trajectories, so that they all impact
close together and at the same time.  One Paladin cannot perform this
mission.  It would require from two to four Paladins to fire an
equivalent number of rounds to impact close together and at the same
time. 

Also, the Army expects the Crusader resupply vehicle to be capable of
independent operations and resupplying and refueling more than one
howitzer.  Currently, a FAASV must remain close to its assigned
Paladin and has no refueling capability.  The Paladin howitzer must
leave its firing position and go to a separate refueling point. 


   ARMY ANALYSES SHOW CRUSADER
   MORE EFFECTIVE
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

In support of the Crusader design effort, the Army has performed
detailed force effectiveness and other analyses, using computer
modeling.  The Army based its analyses on a Crusader system that met
its minimum requirements.  The analyses indicated that such a
Crusader system would be more operationally effective than the
Paladin and resupply vehicle or improved versions of the two
vehicles.  Also, they indicated that the Crusader system would be
able to engage the enemy at longer ranges and for a longer time,
would be more available for firing missions, and would have more
rounds readily available for firing missions. 

The analyses simulated battle in 2006 using four scenarios--both
defensive and offensive operations in both southwest and northeast
Asia--and concluded that the Crusader system would best meet the
Army's needs.  In one analysis during a simulated 4-hour counter
battery artillery mission, the computer model indicated the Crusader
howitzer could reduce U.S.  losses by 34 percent and could fire 215
percent more rounds, could fire 145 percent more missions, and could
kill 175 percent more targets than the Paladin.  The analyses
suggested that the Crusader system would increase force effectiveness
by up to 52 percent and defeat the future threat. 


   CRUSADER MUST MEET ITS
   REQUIREMENTS TO ACHIEVE ITS
   FULL POTENTIAL
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

Development and integration of the Crusader system are challenging
because the system incorporates many new technologies.  Moreover, the
Crusader system must meet its minimum requirements if it is to
provide the benefits described in the Army's analyses. 


      DEVELOPING AND INTEGRATING
      THE CRUSADER ARE TECHNICALLY
      CHALLENGING
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.1

The many new subsystems make developing and integrating the Crusader
system a challenge technically.  The technology is mostly driven by
three key requirements--the rate of fire, the resupply rate, and the
cannon range.  Most of this technology has never been fielded in an
Army artillery system and is currently in various stages of
development. 

To meet the 10- to 12-rounds-per-minute firing rate, the current
Crusader howitzer design incorporates the following new subsystems: 

  A computer controlled, fully automated autoloader that will
     identify, select, and load projectiles and propellant. 

  A solid propellant system, called the Modular Artillery Charge
     System, to enable propellant autoloading. 

  A fuze, called the Multi-Option Fuze for Artillery, that can be set
     remotely. 

  An actively cooled cannon tube and recoil mechanism to dissipate
     the heat generated by firing at the required rate. 

  A laser ignition system to electronically fire the cannon. 

The Army is developing the new propellant system and the new fuze for
use in all its artillery fleet, not just the Crusader system.  The
new propellant system consists of two different propelling charges
contained in combustible cases that the Army expects will replace the
cloth bags of propellant currently used in artillery operations.  The
remaining subsystems are being developed specifically for the
Crusader system, although the laser ignition system may later be
applied to the Paladin. 

The Army believes that the Crusader howitzer and resupply vehicle
will need to interface with each other and will require computer
controlled, fully automated ammunition handling and refueling systems
to meet the less than 12-minute resupply requirement.  The current
resupply vehicle design incorporates a telescoping transfer boom to
dock with the howitzer so that the crews can remain in the vehicles
during the transfer of ammunition and fuel.  The Army expects the
vehicles' computers will interface with each other and transfer
information on what needs to be resupplied and what is being supplied
such as projectile type, weight, and fuze type.  In the current
design concept, the howitzer's autoloading system also functions as
its automatic ammunition handling system. 

Because of the range requirement, the Army believes that the Crusader
howitzer will need a 54-caliber cannon, which will be significantly
longer than the Paladin's 39-caliber cannon.  Developing a 54-caliber
cannon that also meets the Crusader's durability requirement is
challenging because longer cannons wear out faster than shorter ones. 
The Crusader's durability requirement is that the cannon have a
30-day battlefield life.  Recently, the Army made this requirement
more stringent by reducing the artillery battery from eight to six
howitzers without changing the battery's mission.  Now, six howitzers
must do the firing formerly planned for eight howitzers.  If the
battery contained eight howitzers, each Crusader howitzer would have
to fire 10,500 rounds to meet the cannon durability requirement. 
However, with the reduction to six howitzers, each Crusader howitzer
will have to fire 13,800 rounds to meet the requirement.  A program
official said that the cannon's durability will also be adversely
affected because the six howitzers will have to fire more rounds at
longer ranges.  The Army is exploring different coatings for the
inside of the cannon and possible improvements to artillery
projectiles to increase the cannon's life. 

Also, the current Crusader system design includes other new
technologies.  Preeminent among these technologies are (1) advanced
automated crew stations; (2) advanced fire control; (3) embedded
command, control, communications, and intelligence, and training; (4)
improved navigation systems, signature management, defensive systems,
and nuclear, chemical, and biological protection; and (5)
state-of-the-art mobility systems, including drive-by-wire, external
hydropneumatic suspension, improved tracks, and an improved diesel
power train.\3 The Army expects that the Crusader system will be the
first tracked vehicles driven by wire with their movement, engine
speed, transmissions, breaking, and steering, controlled through the
vehicles' computers. 


--------------------
\3 A drive-by-wire system replaces mechanical linkages and controls
with electrical impulses through a wire to operate the vehicle's
transmission, engine, and steering. 


      ACHIEVING PROJECTED FORCE
      EFFECTIVENESS REQUIRES THE
      CRUSADER TO MEET MINIMUM
      REQUIREMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.2

As previously mentioned, the Army's force effectiveness analyses were
based on a Crusader system that met its minimum requirements. 
Therefore, to reach its full potential, as described in the Army's
analyses, the Crusader system needs to meet its minimum requirements. 
The Army's force effectiveness analyses indicated that the system
would be more operationally effective than existing artillery systems
because of its advantages in rate of fire, resupply capability, and
system reliability.  However, the system's advantages can be quickly
eroded if its requirements are not met. 

For example, a Crusader project official said that Army's analyses
indicated that if the Crusader howitzer could only fire 8 rounds per
minute instead of 10, the Army would lose in some battlefield
scenarios.  Also, an Army's analysis showed significant improvement
in the number of rounds available to the howitzer if it could be
resupplied within 12 minutes.  However, during the time the howitzer
and resupply vehicle are close together or docked during resupply and
the howitzer is unable to fire, they are more vulnerable.  Therefore,
missing the required resupply time increases the vehicles'
vulnerability and reduces the howitzer's availability for firing
missions. 

The Crusader system needs to meet its reliability requirement because
its advantage in system reliability was one of the main reasons the
Crusader was determined to be more effective than the Army's existing
artillery system.  The Crusader howitzer and resupply vehicle have
different reliability requirements.  The howitzer is required to have
at least 34 hours mean time between essential function failures and
at least 62 hours mean time between system aborts.  The resupply
vehicle is required to have at least 62 hours mean time between
essential function failures and at least 104 hours mean time between
system aborts.  An Army official said that an essential function
failure allows the vehicle to complete its mission in a degraded
capacity while a system abort ends the mission. 

Additionally, the Crusader system must achieve high reliability
because many of its subsystems will not have a backup, and a failure
in one of those subsystems could cause the Crusader to be unable to
complete its mission.  For example, the Crusader howitzer only has
one autoloader, and the current howitzer design will not allow the
crew to hand load the cannon if the autoloader fails.  Therefore, the
Crusader howitzer cannot fire if the autoloader fails.  Likewise, the
cannon will not be able to fire at sustained high rates if the cannon
cooling or recoil cooling fails.  In this case, the howitzer could
still fire but at a 10-rounds-per-minute rate for
1 minute, after which it could only fire at a one- to
two-rounds-per-minute rate. 

As currently designed, the two Crusader vehicles each will possess
only one automated ammunition handling system.  The automated systems
allow Crusader crews to remain in the crew compartments, under armor,
while performing the resupply.  This increases crew survivability by
minimizing exposure to counterfire and contaminated air.  However, if
either handling system breaks down, the crews must dismount and
perform the resupply by a time-consuming, hand process, making them
more vulnerable to counterfire and contaminates. 

The current Crusader computer concept contains some redundancy in
that each crewmember will have a computer control display that can
perform all the crew functions and the computer system itself will
have three central processing units.  However, the transmission and
the engine each will have only one microprocessor linked to the
central processors.  A project office official said that failure of
one of these microprocessors would be a mission-ending failure
because the crew could not drive the vehicle without the unit. 


   ARMY IS MAKING CRITICAL
   CRUSADER PROGRAM SCHEDULING
   DECISIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

In response to funding reductions, the Army is making critical
program scheduling decisions that will compress the Crusader
program's schedule beyond its already compressed schedule under the
streamlined acquisition process.  In the past, such schedule
adjustments have resulted in reduced testing and/or concurrent
testing, allowing programs to enter low-rate initial production
before they were ready.  This has often resulted in procurement of
substantial inventories of unsatisfactory weapon systems that
required costly modifications or, in some cases, substandard weapon
systems being procured for combat forces.\4

The Crusader program is using a streamlined acquisition approach
consisting of a single, three-phased developmental cycle from
milestone I to milestone III.  This approach is designed to reduce
the time needed to develop, produce, and equip the first artillery
unit with the Crusader system by 12 to 15 months.  This approach
eliminates milestone II by replacing the formal Defense Acquisition
Board Review with a less formal Defense Acquisition Executive
in-process review, which is scheduled for April 2000.  While it is
unclear what this review will entail, the current Crusader
acquisition plan states that this approach intends to meet "the
spirit of all regulatory guidance for milestone II content."

The Crusader is being designed under its program definition and risk
reduction phase (previously called demonstration and validation
phase) of the streamlined acquisition cycle.  Up to this point, the
development team has been involved in further defining the Crusader
system's basic design, demonstrating potential Crusader technologies,
and developing potential Crusader components using models,
simulations, and advanced technology demonstrators.  For example, the
cannon tube is being safety tested using a combination of actual and
simulated firings. 

The first Crusader system prototype is scheduled for delivery in
October 1999.  The Army expects the contractor to produce 10
prototype systems--10 howitzers and 10 resupply vehicles--during the
development cycle.  Only the last four prototype systems are expected
to be fully functional.  The current schedule shows that the Army
plans to make the low-rate initial production decision in August
2003, with the full-rate production decision following 2 years later,
in October 2005.  In addition, the Army expects the contractor to
produce 115 Crusader systems--
230 vehicles--during the low-rate initial production phase.  Army
officials informed us that they realized that this quantity exceeds
10 percent of the planned Crusader production; however, they believe
this quantity will allow the contractor to build up to full-rate
production by producing
80 vehicles in the first year and another 150 in the second year.\5
Full-rate production is planned at 240 vehicles a year. 

The Army is planning for a full test schedule to demonstrate the
Crusader system's capabilities.  It expected to use the prototypes in
various tests, including the preproduction qualification test, which
was scheduled to end in July 2003.  According to the project manager,
the preproduction qualification test results will be considered in
the low-rate initial production decision scheduled for August 2003. 
The Crusader test master plan states the purpose of this test is to
demonstrate that the prototypes can meet all the Crusader technical
requirements.  However, Army program officials said that if the
system does not demonstrate all its requirements, they will assess
the significance of the short comings to determine whether the
program should enter low-rate initial production.  While the Army has
not established specific criteria for making this determination,
project office officials said they plan to do so before the decision
date. 

On January 30, 1997, the Crusader project manager informed the
Defense Acquisition Executive that the in-process review--the
decision to allow the Crusader program to enter its full system
development and preproduction phase (previously called the
engineering and manufacturing development phase) would be delayed in
excess of 6 months due to funding reductions.  In the most recent
Selected Acquisition Report, the Army reported to the Congress that
most of the Crusader program, including the in-process review and the
first artillery unit deliveries, would experience an 11-month delay. 
However, a project official said that the project office is now
developing a schedule that delays the in-process review at least 6
months but not the date that the first Crusader artillery unit is
fully equipped.  Project officials said that they are aware of the
problems that could result from compressed schedules and that they
are working with the testing community to assure that these problems
will not occur in the Crusader program.  They added that they are
planning to revise the program schedule to maintain the full test
schedule.  The project office is planning to submit the latest
schedule for headquarters approval on July 18, 1997. 


--------------------
\4 Weapons Acquisition:  Low-Rate Initial Production Used to Buy
Weapon Systems Prematurely (GAO/NSIAD-95-18, Nov.  21, 1994). 

\5 If the system's low-rate initial production quantities, as
determined at milestone II, exceeds 10 percent of the system's
planned total production, 10 U.S.C.  2400 requires the Secretary of
Defense to include the reasons for such quantities in a statement in
the system's next Selected Acquisition Report. 


   NO ALTERNATIVE MEETS ALL
   CRUSADER REQUIREMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

No existing artillery system meets all of the Crusader requirements. 
However, if the Crusader system cannot meet its requirements, other
howitzer/resupply vehicles may provide an alternative means to
improve the Army's current artillery capabilities. 

No existing artillery system has an automated resupply vehicle;
therefore, most cannot meet the Crusader key performance parameter
for a less than 12-minute resupply and all systems do not have the
survivability advantages of being able to resupply without the crew
leaving the vehicles.  All of the alternative howitzers depend on
resupply vehicles where the crews must manually handle and transfer
the ammunition between vehicles.  As previously discussed, the
Crusader's resupply advantage was one of the main reasons the Army
concluded that the system would be more effective than alternative
systems.  While none of the existing self-propelled howitzers can
meet all of the Crusader howitzer requirements, an Army study
assessed the German PzH 2000 as the most capable foreign howitzer. 
The PzH 2000 is Germany's next generation 155-millimeter
self-propelled howitzer and is scheduled to begin fielding in 1998. 
As can be seen in table 1, the PzH 2000 is an improvement over the
Paladin, but it does not meet all of the Crusader's requirements. 



                                Table 1
                
                Comparison of the Crusader requirements
                  to Paladin and PzH 2000 capabilities

                           Crusader       Paladin        PzH 2000
Description                requirement    capability     capability
-------------------------  -------------  -------------  -------------
Maximum rate of fire       10 to 12 (for  4 (for 3       10 (for 1
(rounds per minute)        3 to 5         minutes)       minute)\a
                           minutes)                      8 (for 3
                                                         minutes)\a

Sustained rate of fire     3 to 6         1 to 2         3\b
(rounds per minute until
system is out of
ammunition)

Maximum range              40 to 50       30             40\c
(kilometers)

Multiple round             4 to 8         2 (between 10  \d
simultaneous impact        (between 8     and 20
(rounds impacting)         and 36         kilometers)
                           kilometers)

Rearm time (minutes)       Less than 12   22             less than 11
                                                         minutes

Cross-country speed        39 to 48       30             45
(kilometers per hour)

Highway speed              67 to 78       67             61
(kilometers per hour)

Combat loaded weight       55             32             60
(tons)

90-second survival dash    750            560            750
speed (meters)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a Preparing the propellant charge is not included in the time.  The
PzH 2000 could not fire at this rate at targets located in the longer
third of its range because it lacks active cannon cooling. 

\b The PzH 2000 could not fire at this rate at targets located in the
longer sixth of its range because it lacks active cannon cooling. 

\c Has not been demonstrated. 

\d As this is not a German requirement, the PzH 2000 has not
attempted to fire such a mission.  However, contractor officials
believe that if the PzH 2000 had a propellant autoloader, it would
have the same capability as the Crusader howitzer. 

Source:  Army data for the first two columns and PzH 2000 contractor
data for the third column. 

In addition to the differences shown in the table, the PzH 2000's
survivability and availability for firing missions would be less than
the Crusader's.  First, without an automated resupply vehicle, PzH
2000 crewmembers would have to leave the protection of their vehicle
to physically carry the projectiles and powder charges between
vehicles.  This would make them more vulnerable than Crusader
crewmembers, who can remain protected in their vehicles to conduct
resupply operations.  Further, the PzH 2000's availability for firing
missions would suffer because the PzH 2000 would have to leave the
battle whenever it needed resupply or refueling. 

Second, the location of the crewmembers within the PzH 2000 would
adversely affect their survivability.  The PzH 2000 is configured as
a typical howitzer, with the majority of the crew located in the
weapons compartment.  As currently designed, the Crusader vehicles
have separate crew and weapons compartments, which allows additional
armor to be placed around the crew compartment and provides better
protection from hits in the weapons compartment. 

PzH 2000 contractor officials said that they could develop an
automated resupply vehicle based on the PzH 2000 chassis and modify
the PzH 2000 howitzer to meet all of the Crusader key requirements
and many of the other Crusader requirements.  Also, they believed
that they could field these vehicles within 6 years of the start of
development, assuming that U.S.  government-furnished material, such
as the actively cooled cannon, was available when needed. 

The Army did not perform a detailed assessment of possible
modifications to the PzH 2000 to improve its performance.  Army
program officials said that a detailed analysis was not required
because an Army cost analysis had determined that the basic PzH
2000's life-cycle costs were more than the Crusader's and that
modifying the PzH 2000 would only increase these costs.  However,
this reasoning overlooks the possibility that the modifications that
would fully automate the firing and resupply processes would likely
reduce the PzH 2000's crew requirements.  The PzH 2000's crew size,
five, was a major factor in its life-cycle costs being more than
those of the Crusader howitzer. 

PzH 2000 contractor officials said that a modified PzH 2000 howitzer
and an automated PzH 2000-based resupply vehicle each would require a
crew of three--the same crew size as the Crusader vehicles are
expected to require.  However, a modified PzH 2000 howitzer would
still have crew located in the weapons compartment and the associated
adverse impact on survivability.  Also, the modified PzH 2000
howitzer would not have interchangeable crew stations at which all
crew tasks could be performed. 

Because the current PzH 2000 howitzer does not meet the Crusader
combat loaded weight requirement, the PzH 2000 contractor would have
to look for opportunities to reduce the modified PzH 2000 howitzer's
weight.  However, the Crusader contractor is projecting that the
Crusader howitzer, as currently designed, will not meet its weight
requirement.  The Crusader contractor also is looking for
opportunities to reduce the Crusader's weight. 

The Crusader project manager said that if it became necessary to
choose an alternative to the Crusader system, the Army would likely
choose an improved Paladin.  The Paladin, based on a 1950s design,
was first delivered to the Army in 1963 and, over the past 34 years,
has been produced in six different models.  Paladin project officials
believe that some modifications could be made to the Paladin, which
would increase its cannon range to the Crusader requirement, its rate
of fire to six rounds per minute, and its speed.  However, these
officials stated that the Paladin's cross-country mobility could not
be improved without a major redesign of its chassis.  Further, an
improved Paladin would maintain the current configuration with most
of the crew in the weapons compartment and with the associated
adverse impact on survivability.  Finally, the Paladin and FAASV
could not be automated to allow the crews to remain in the vehicles
during resupply. 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

According to the Army, the Crusader system has the potential for
revolutionizing artillery operations.  However, the program faces
considerable programmatic risks due to the technical challenges faced
in developing and integrating advanced technologies, the potential
compression of the program's schedule, the use of a streamlined
acquisition approach, and the absence of defined criteria for
entering into low-rate initial production.  Consequently, to minimize
the risk of prematurely entering production, we recommend that the
Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the Army to establish
criteria specifying, at a minimum, that the Crusader system
demonstrate that it meets all key requirements and is on schedule for
meeting its reliability requirement before entering low-rate initial
production and is operationally effective and suitable before
entering full-rate production.  If, at either point, the Crusader
system does not demonstrate that it meets its requirements, then the
Secretary of the Army should determine whether an alternative
artillery system may be a better way to improve the Army's artillery
capabilities. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

DOD concurred with our report and noted that in accordance with its
acquisition management policies and controls, the criteria for
entering low-rate initial production will be established for the
Crusader system at milestone II.  According to DOD, typical criteria
for entering low-rate initial production are that the system meet all
key performance requirements and show satisfactory progress toward
demonstration of reliability requirements.  In addition, DOD
commented that its policy requires that should a system fail to meet
its key performance requirements, the system requirements and all
reasonable options to meet those requirements will be investigated. 

While we are aware of DOD's acquisition policies and controls for the
normal milestone II review, the Crusader program, as previously
noted, is using a streamlined acquisition approach that eliminates
the normal milestone II review.  In its place is an in-process review
by the Defense Acquisition Executive that will authorize the
program's transition into the full system development and
preproduction phase.  The intent of our recommendations is to make
sure that this review process ensures that, at a minimum, the
Crusader system meets its rate of fire, range, mobility, and resupply
requirements and is capable of meeting its reliability requirement
before it enters production.  If it does not demonstrate these
capabilities, then serious consideration should be given to program
termination in favor of an alternative system.  Also, we have changed
the title of the report to more accurately reflect the report's
message. 

DOD's comments are reprinted in appendix I.  DOD also has provided
some technical and editorial comments, and we have incorporated them
in the text where appropriate. 

<head1.SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY

To evaluate the status of the Crusader program, we interviewed DOD,
Army, and contractor officials and reviewed various program
documents, including the program acquisition strategy, the system
threat assessment report, operational requirements documents, the
acquisition program baseline, the test and evaluation master plan,
and the results of force effectiveness and other studies.  We also
observed and operated the contractor's Crusader crew simulator and
the Army's Paladin Artillery System to understand the improvements
the Army expects to gain from the Crusader.  In addition, we
discussed the potential threat to artillery systems with officials of
the National Ground Intelligence Center, Charlottesville, Virginia. 

To determine whether alternative howitzers could meet Crusader
requirements, we interviewed DOD, Army, and contractor officials and
reviewed various program documents, including the engineering
trade-off study, the cost and operational effectiveness study, other
evaluation reports, and operational requirements documents.  We also
compared Crusader requirements with other current artillery systems. 
In addition, we discussed the capabilities of and possible
improvements to the German PzH 2000 howitzer with officials of both
the Army and its prime developer, the Wegmann & Company, GmbH,
Kassel, Germany.  We did not validate the Crusader requirements. 

We performed our work at DOD and the Army headquarters, Washington,
D.C.; Crusader and Paladin project offices, and U.S.  Army Armament
Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, New
Jersey; U.S.  Army Field Artillery Center and School, Fort Sill,
Oklahoma; and United Defense Limited Partnership's Armament Systems
Division, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Paladin Production Division,
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. 

We conducted our review from June 1996 to April 1997 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :9.1

As you know, the head of a federal agency is required by 31 U.S.C. 
720 to submit a written statement of actions taken on our
recommendations to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and
the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight not later than
60 days after the date of this report.  A written statement also must
be submitted to the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations
with the agency's first request for appropriations made more than 60
days after the date of the report. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen and Ranking
Minority Members, Senate and House Committees on Appropriations,
Senate Committees on Armed Services and Governmental Affairs, House
Committees on National Security and Government Reform and Oversight;
the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and the Secretary of
the Army.  We will also provide copies to others upon request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
were
Robert J.  Stolba, Lawrence Gaston, Jr., and John P.  Swain. 

Sincerely yours,

Louis J.  Rodrigues
Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues




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



(See figure in printed edition.)

*** End of document. ***