FAS | Military Analysis | GAO |||| Index | Search |


Navy Torpedo Programs: MK-48 ADCAP Upgrades Not Adequately Justified
(Letter Report, 06/12/95, GAO/NSIAD-95-104).

GAO reviewed the Navy's plans to upgrade both the propulsion and the
guidance and control systems of the MK-48 Advanced Capability torpedo
(ADCAP), focusing on the: (1) need for the propulsion system upgrade;
and (2) appropriateness of approving low-rate initial production of the
guidance and control system.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy believes the $249 million ADCAP propulsion
system upgrade will reduce the launching submarine's vulnerability in
shallow water; (2) the propulsion upgrade will not improve ADCAP
performance or reduce the submarine's vulnerability to enemy attack
because of the short ranges at which submarines are likely to be
detected in shallow water; (3) the upgrade is not needed, since ADCAP is
already operational in shallow water; (4) the Navy did not establish a
requirement to improve the propulsion system for use in open-ocean, deep
water; and (5) low-rate initial production of the guidance and control
system should not be approved until new software is developed and
installed in mid-1998.

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

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-95-104
     TITLE:  Navy Torpedo Programs: MK-48 ADCAP Upgrades Not Adequately 
             Justified
      DATE:  06/12/95
   SUBJECT:  Submarines
             Advanced weapons systems
             Defense cost control
             Defense contingency planning
             Weapons research
             Research and development
             Computer software verification and validation
             Command and control systems
             Munitions
             Navy procurement
IDENTIFIER:  Closed Cycle MK-48 Advanced Capability Propulsion System
             MK-48 Advanced Capability Torpedo
             MK-48 Advanced Development Torpedo Program
             ADCAP Torpedo Propulsion Upgrade Program
             
**************************************************************************
* This file contains an ASCII representation of the text of a GAO        *
* report.  Delineations within the text indicating chapter titles,       *
* headings, and bullets are preserved.  Major divisions and subdivisions *
* of the text, such as Chapters, Sections, and Appendixes, are           *
* identified by double and single lines.  The numbers on the right end   *
* of these lines indicate the position of each of the subsections in the *
* document outline.  These numbers do NOT correspond with the page       *
* numbers of the printed product.                                        *
*                                                                        *
* No attempt has been made to display graphic images, although figure    *
* captions are reproduced. Tables are included, but may not resemble     *
* those in the printed version.                                          *
*                                                                        *
* A printed copy of this report may be obtained from the GAO Document    *
* Distribution Facility by calling (202) 512-6000, by faxing your        *
* request to (301) 258-4066, or by writing to P.O. Box 6015,             *
* Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015. We are unable to accept electronic orders *
* for printed documents at this time.                                    *
**************************************************************************


Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to the Secretary of Defense

June 1995

NAVY TORPEDO PROGRAMS - MK-48
ADCAP UPGRADES NOT ADEQUATELY
JUSTIFIED

GAO/NSIAD-95-104

Navy Torpedo Programs


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

  ADCAP - Advanced Capability
  CCAPS - Closed-Cycle ADCAP Propulsion System
  COEA - cost and operational evaluation analysis
  DOD - Department of Defense
  OPTEVFOR - Operational Test and Evaluation Force
  SIA - Special Initiatives Assessment

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


B-260154

June 12, 1995

The Honorable William J.  Perry
The Secretary of Defense

Dear Mr.  Secretary: 

As part of our ongoing work on Navy torpedo programs, we reviewed the
Navy's plans to upgrade both the propulsion and the guidance and
control systems of the MK-48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) torpedo. 
Because the program manager is requesting approval to begin low-rate
initial production, we are reporting on (1) the need for the
propulsion system upgrade and (2) the appropriateness of approving
low-rate initial production of the guidance and control system. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The proposed $249 million upgrade to the ADCAP propulsion system is
not needed.  The Navy justifies this upgrade as improving the ADCAP's
performance against diesel submarines operating in littoral or
shallow water by reducing the range at which an adversary is alerted
to an attack and the time available for that adversary to
counterfire, thereby reducing the launching submarine's
vulnerability.  However, because of the short ranges at which diesel
submarines are likely to be detected in littoral or shallow water,
the technological improvement to be contributed by the propulsion
upgrade--that is, torpedo quieting--will neither improve the
performance of the ADCAP nor reduce the vulnerability of the
launching submarine to enemy attack.  Moreover, the Commander,
Operational Test and Evaluation Force (OPTEVFOR), already considers
the current ADCAP operationally suitable and effective in shallow
water, and the Navy did not establish a requirement to improve the
ADCAP's propulsion system for use in open ocean, deep water in its
operational requirements document for the upgrade. 

Approval for low-rate initial production for the guidance and control
upgrade would be ill-advised at this time.  The Navy's proposed
acquisition schedule was developed to "piggyback" on the installation
of the propulsion upgrade.  Installing the new guidance and control
unit will do nothing more to counter the existing threat than the
current units until the new software is developed and installed. 
Since the software necessary to take advantage of the upgraded
guidance and control hardware will not be ready until mid-1998,
upgrade acquisition would be better scheduled to coincide with the
software development schedule.  As currently planned, the Navy could
buy as many as 529 units at a cost of $177 million before the new
software will be available. 


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

In 1975, the MK-48 Advanced Development Torpedo program was
established to develop, procure, and deliver to the fleet an advanced
heavyweight torpedo system to counter faster, deeper diving, quieter
submarines that could threaten U.S.  ships.  The ADCAP reached full
production in fiscal year 1989 and is expected to serve as the Navy's
primary submarine-launched antisubmarine warfare weapon through the
year 2026.  The Navy had planned to buy ADCAP torpedoes beyond the
year 2000.  However, in 1992, in response to the end of the Cold War
and to budgetary pressures, the Secretary of the Navy canceled
further ADCAP production.  All production contracts for the ADCAP are
scheduled to be completed by 1996. 

In fiscal year 1989, the Navy began an effort to increase the
processing capabilities of the ADCAP's guidance and control unit. 
The new unit was designed to process more data at a faster rate by
using a new processor and converting its current software to the ADA
computer language.  The Navy had planned to use the new guidance and
control system on torpedoes purchased in fiscal year 1995 and beyond. 
But since ADCAP production will end in 1996 and because the Navy
believes the new guidance and control system and the use of ADA will
enhance ADCAP operation, the Navy has decided to upgrade ADCAPs in
its inventory with the new guidance and control units.  Beginning in
January 1997 and until ADA software is completed, currently scheduled
for mid-1998, these units are expected to use a version of the
current software modified for ADA. 

In 1992, the Navy initiated the ADCAP torpedo propulsion upgrade
program to reduce noise emissions, making the torpedo harder to
detect.  A July 7, 1992, operational requirements document described
the initial improvement expected from the propulsion unit.  In
November 1993, the document was rewritten to provide operational
requirements for the upgrade in littoral waters, including shallow
water. 

In January 1993, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research,
Development, and Acquisition approved a plan to combine the guidance
and control and the propulsion upgrades into a single modification
program.  That decision and the decision to begin engineering and
manufacturing development were based, in part, on a cost and
operational effectiveness analysis (COEA) completed in 1992.  The
purpose of a COEA is to evaluate the costs and benefits of
alternatives to the proposed changes, including maintaining the
status quo. 

The Navy program manager is currently requesting approval for
low-rate initial production for the upgrade program.  If approved,
the Navy would upgrade its entire inventory of ADCAP torpedoes over
the next 7 years at a total cost of about $821 million--$249 million
for the propulsion upgrade, $462 million for the guidance and control
upgrade, and $110 million for the torpedo's new software. 


   PROPULSION UPGRADE DOES NOT
   IMPROVE LITTORAL- OR
   SHALLOW-WATER OPERATIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The most pressing threat to Navy submarines, according to Navy
documents, is the diesel electric submarine.  The Navy's Forward .  . 
.  From The Sea strategy places emphasis on defeating this type of
threat.  The Operational Requirements Document for the propulsion
upgrade justifies the upgrade on the basis of improving the ADCAP's
ability to defeat this type of threat in littoral- and shallow-water
operations where diesel submarines are expected to be detected at
very short ranges.  The littoral- and shallow-water environments
present difficult acoustic and geographic constraints that limit
distances at which targets can be detected.  The Navy's justification
indicates that by quieting the torpedo, the propulsion upgrade would
reduce the range at which an adversary could determine that it is
under attack.  This would put U.S.  submarines in a better position
to evade counterfire, yet maintain the same probability of destroying
the target. 

However, we found evidence that the upgrade would not improve the
performance of the ADCAP by reducing the range and time a target is
alerted or the vulnerability of the launching ship to counterfire by
a diesel submarine operating in shallow or littoral water.  For
example, a June 1994 report by the Commander, OPTEVFOR, concluded
that a diesel submarine operating in shallow water would have a very
short period of time to react to an ADCAP launch at high speeds and
would not be able to take effective evasive or counterfire actions. 
In addition, the report and other Navy documents show that the
littoral- and shallow-water diesel submarine threat will likely be
detected by Navy forces at ranges that are too close for quieting to
yield any operational benefit.  Although a diesel submarine alerted
by the noise of a high-speed ADCAP launch could in some cases take
evasive action, the report considered the increased probability of
the diesel submarine taking effective action as insignificant.  The
Commander, OPTEVFOR, certified that the ADCAP torpedo without the
propulsion upgrade was both operationally suitable and effective for
shallow-water operations. 

In commenting on a draft of this report, the Department of Defense
(DOD) said that the tests that showed that the propulsion upgrade
would not improve shallow- and littoral-water operations were limited
to a single threat in a single environment.  DOD stated that testing
in dissimilar environments might lead to different results.  We agree
that testing in an open-ocean, deep-water environment against a
different threat could produce different results, but that was not
the purpose of the upgrade.  The Navy justified the upgrade on the
basis of improving the ADCAP's performance against diesel submarines
operating in littoral or shallow water and the threat used for the
testing we cite was a simulated diesel submarine and the environment
was shallow water. 


   THE PROPOSED PROPULSION UPGRADE
   DOES NOT ADDRESS OPEN-OCEAN,
   DEEP-WATER REQUIREMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

As we have previously reported,\1 the proposed propulsion upgrade
does not meet quieting goals that, until 1992 were considered
necessary to counter a nuclear submarine threat operating in an
open-ocean, deep-water environment. 

In fiscal year 1986, the Navy initiated the Closed-Cycle ADCAP
Propulsion System (CCAPS) program to replace the existing system and
reduce its detection or delay its classification as a weapon by a
threat submarine.  But, as a result of technical problems, schedule
delays, and high estimated costs, the Navy canceled the CCAPS
requirement in July 1992 and decided to proceed instead with this
propulsion upgrade program, which did not meet the CCAPS
requirements. 

In establishing the operational requirements for the upgrade in 1992,
the Navy used open-ocean, deep-water based performance measures. 
However, in the 1993 revision, it eliminated open-ocean, deep-water
operational performance requirements for the proposed upgrade.  Thus,
the upgrade is not in response to a specific open-ocean, deep-water
performance requirement. 

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD stated that the
Operational Requirement Document specifies that the ADCAP shall be
operationally effective in all expected ocean environments.  We agree
that the Operational Requirements Document specifies that the ADCAP
shall be effective in all ocean environments.  However, OPTEVFOR has
already approved the fleet introduction and certified the operational
effectiveness and suitability of the ADCAP without the upgrade for
use in all ocean environments. 


--------------------
\1 Navy Torpedo Program:  MK-48 ADCAP Propulsion System Upgrade Not
Needed (GAO/NSIAD-92-191, Sept.  10, 1992). 


   COEA FOR PROPULSION UPGRADE DID
   NOT ADEQUATELY ADDRESS
   SIGNIFICANT ISSUES
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

No new COEA has been prepared to support the proposal to proceed to
low-rate initial production because, according to Navy program
officials, an updated COEA is not required for a low-rate initial
production decision. 

The 1992 COEA did not address significant items that bear on the
decision to approve production.  Specifically, it did not evaluate: 

  The proposed upgrade's effectiveness in shallow water.  At the time
     of the COEA, a shallow-water model had yet to be validated
     against shallow-water results.  This model is currently
     underdevelopment. 

  Alternate ways to reduce the noise of the torpedo.  The only
     comparisons made were of the proposed propulsion upgrade and the
     existing ADCAP. 

Further, the effectiveness of the proposed upgrade and the existing
ADCAP were compared in the COEA using different speeds.  DOD
maintains that this allowed a comparison of systems, each operating
at its optimum efficiency.  The comparisons of the two systems used a
modified ADCAP running 63 percent slower than the existing ADCAP. 
However, slower torpedoes generate less noise and are therefore less
detectable by an adversary.  The COEA did not identify how much of
the difference between projected propulsion upgrade performance and
existing ADCAP performance was due to the difference in speed and how
much may have been due to system improvements. 

In addition, the December 1992 COEA assumed that the propulsion
upgrade would achieve its noise goals.  But in 1993, the allowable
noise levels were increased by about as much as 30 percent over the
COEA noise goals to accommodate differences in the torpedo's
technical performance.  Therefore, the projected quieting benefits of
the upgrade may have been overstated. 

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD stated that alternative
ways to reduce torpedo noise were addressed in a Special Initiatives
Assessment (SIA) in 1991, which identified the propulsion upgrade as
the most cost-effective alternative for torpedo quieting.  However,
the proposed upgrade did not exist at the time of the SIA. 

A Navy briefing on the SIA and discussions with the Technical Program
Manager at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center indicate that the
purpose of the SIA was to evaluate alternative technologies to attain
the CCAPS noise quieting levels considered necessary to counter the
Soviet nuclear submarine operating in the open ocean.  As noted
above, CCAPS experienced technical development problems that
generated the Navy's seeking alternatives to this development effort. 
Alternatives considered included electrical and stored chemical
energy and major internal and external modifications to the current
ADCAP.  The study suggested that the only way to quiet the current
ADCAP was to modify the existing open-cycle engine. 

According to a Navy official, contractors were asked to come up with
ways to make the current engine quieter.  While some of the concepts
from the SIA were considered, such as sound damping or adding a
muffler, the proposed propulsion upgrade design bears very little
resemblance to the designs considered during the SIA. 


   ACQUISITION OF THE GUIDANCE AND
   CONTROL UPGRADE IS PREMATURE
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

The Navy has not established an independent need for low-rate initial
production of the guidance and control upgrade.  Navy officials told
us that the Navy decided instead to acquire the upgraded guidance and
control system beginning in 1995 because they anticipated cost
savings from installing the propulsion and guidance and control
upgrades at the same time.  These projected savings shown in the 1992
COEA were based on buying enough of each upgrade per year to complete
the program in
5 years.  However, due to budget pressures, the quantities of the
upgrades to be bought each year have been reduced and the program has
been extended.  According to program officials, this program
extension would probably reduce the potential cost savings shown in
the 1992 COEA, but at the time of our review a new cost analysis had
not been conducted to determine the extent of the reduction in the
projected savings.  Subsequently, DOD provided updated cost data. 
However, the new data prepared to support the low-rate initial
production decision does not show the impact on potential cost
savings if the propulsion upgrade portion of the modification program
was canceled. 

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD stated that (1) the
upgraded guidance and control hardware will provide the increase in
processing power needed to allow the torpedo to discern the target in
the complex, noisy, shallow-water environment and (2) this hardware
is required to support software development and testing scheduled for
fiscal year 1997.  Our analysis shows that the new guidance and
control unit will do nothing more to counter the existing threat than
the existing unit does until new software is installed.  ADA software
that makes the new guidance and control system more effective in
shallow water is not scheduled to be available until mid-1998, by
which time the Navy, under the current plans, may have bought as many
as 529 units at a cost of about $177 million (in then-year dollars)
through fiscal year 1998. 

In November 1994, we reported\2 that the practice of prematurely
approving low-rate initial production for weapon systems had resulted
in large inventories of unsatisfactory weapons that have subsequently
required costly modifications.  We also noted that once low-rate
initial production starts, options available to DOD and the Congress
when the system is deficient are greatly limited. 


--------------------
\2 Weapons System Acquisition:  Low-Rate Initial Production Used to
Buy Weapons Systems Prematurely (GAO/NSIAD-95-18, Nov.  21, 1994). 


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

We recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of
the Navy to

  terminate the proposed propulsion system upgrade program and reduce
     program funding accordingly and

  delay any production decision for the guidance and control system
     until an acquisition schedule that coincides with the software
     development schedule and avoids premature commitment to
     production can be developed. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

DOD's written comments on a draft of this report are presented in
appendix I.  DOD disagreed with our two recommendations and stated
that reductions in torpedo radiated noise are essential to enhancing
the survivability of the launching vessel and that the upgraded
guidance and control hardware is required to support fiscal year 1997
testing. 

As indicated throughout the report, DOD's comments provide no new
information or further rationale for the proposed upgrade. 
Therefore, we continue to believe that the propulsion upgrade should
be terminated because it does not improve the performance of the
ADCAP or increase the survivability of the launching submarine in
littoral or shallow waters.  We also continue to believe that the
guidance and control upgrade should be scheduled to support the
current software development schedule.  Although some upgraded
guidance and control units may be needed for testing, the Navy cannot
reasonably justify the production of over
500 units, which is its current acquisition schedule, before the
software that makes the units more effective is scheduled to be
available. 


   SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

We analyzed and discussed data and test plans at the Naval Undersea
Warfare Center, Newport, Rhode Island.  We reviewed data and
discussed emerging issues with the Commander, OPTEVFOR, Norfolk,
Virginia.  In addition, we visited the National Maritime Intelligence
Center, Suitland, Maryland, and the Commander, Submarine Development
Squadron 12, Groton, Connecticut, to clarify threat capabilities and
operational issues.  We reviewed the cost, schedule, and technical
performance issues and the results of our analysis with program
officials in Washington, D.C., and with technical experts from the
Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, Rhode Island. 

We conducted our review between September 1994 and April 1995 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


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

As you know, 31 U.S.C.  720 requires the head of a federal agency to
submit a written statement on actions taken on our recommendations to
the Senate Committee Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on
Government Reform and Oversight not later than 60 days after the date
of the report.  A written statement must also be submitted to the
Senate and House Committees on Appropriations with an 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 Secretary of the Navy;
the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and
Acquisition; and appropriate congressional committees.  Upon request,
we will make copies available to other interested parties. 

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,

Brad Hathaway
Associate Director, Systems Development
  and Production Issues




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



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



   GAO COMMENTS
----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :10

The following are GAO's comments on the unclassified Department of
Defense (DOD) letter. 

1.  Page 5 of the June 1994 report states that the probability of
effective counter fire, based on best known projected capabilities
and tactics of the threat submarine, was low and the adverse effect
on survivability of the launching platform was not significant.  The
June 1994 report also shows that in the vast majority of cases the
threat submarine when alerted by the noise of the Mk-48 Advanced
Capability (ADCAP) torpedo did not have time to effectively evade the
ADCAP or to effectively fire on the launching platform.  The report
shows that the ADCAP performance was well above the threshold stated
in the 1993 Operational Requirements Document. 

The tactical memorandum on which the tactics used in the test were
based clearly states that short detection and firing ranges are a
result of the harsh acoustical environments found in littoral and
shallow waters.  Further, Navy tactics as regards most encounters
during regional conflicts will require quick reactions because of the
short-detection ranges.  Rules of engagement will likely preclude the
attacking U.S.  submarine from increasing the range to better protect
itself.  Moving to a safer covert firing range could cause the
nuclear attack submarine to lose contact with the adversary and put
U.S.  surface forces at risk. 

2.  DOD provided us a bar graph as documentation that fleet sonar
systems could engage diesel submarines at greater ranges than were
used in the cited test.  Navy personnel with whom we discussed the
graph were not able to explain when and how the numbers used in the
graph were derived.  We asked for further documentation but were not
provided anything.  As a result, we are not able to accept the graph
as a rebuttal to our position. 

3.  We agree that the Operational Requirements Document specifies
that the ADCAP torpedo, with or without the propulsion upgrade, will
be effective in all ocean environments.  In fact, the Commander,
Operational Test and Evaluation Force, has approved the ADCAP for
fleet introduction and certified the operational effectiveness and
suitability of the torpedo for use in all ocean environments without
the propulsion upgrade.  The three deep-water environments cited in
the Operational Requirements Document are littoral, not open ocean. 

4.  The propulsion upgrade was not evaluated in or during the Special
Initiatives Assessment (SIA).  The purpose of the SIA was to evaluate
alternative propulsion system technologies to attain the Closed-Cycle
ADCAP Propulsion System (CCAPS) noise quieting goals considered
necessary to counter Soviet nuclear submarines operating in the open
ocean.  The study concluded that the noise goals were not attainable
within the immediate future and suggested that the only way to quiet
the ADCAP was to modify the existing open-cycle engine.  Contractors
were asked to come up with ways for quieting the engine.  While some
of the concepts from the SIA were considered, the proposed propulsion
upgrade design bears little resemblance to the designs considered
during the SIA. 

5.  According to the Technical Director of the cost and operational
effectiveness analysis (COEA), the study cannot be used in any way to
conclude that the propulsion upgrade will or will not be effective in
shallow water. 

6.  DOD provided a one page update to the cost evaluation when we met
to discuss their comments on the draft report.  The updated data does
not identify the cost of independently proceeding with either
proposed upgrade. 

7.  The COEA noise level compared against the ADCAP base line was
based on the 1992 Operational Requirements Document.  Our report
states that the 1993 Operational Requirements Document increased the
radiated noise levels by as much as 30 percent. 


MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT
========================================================== Appendix II


   NATIONAL SECURITY AND
   INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION,
   WASHINGTON, D.C. 
-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:1

Thomas J.  Denomme
Penny D.  Stephenson


   BOSTON REGIONAL OFFICE
-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:2

Richard E.  Silveira
Joseph Rizzo, Jr.
John M.  Ficociello