DOCL0UMET RESUhE 03994 - B3194420) OCperatioral Tsting of the Army's Ahibian Vehicle Known as the LACV-301. LCD-78-205; B-15§407. November 11, 1977. 5 pp. i*-port to Secretary, Department of the Army; by Rcbert G. ,otnwell (ioL Fred J. Shafer, Director, Logistics and communications iv.). Issu Area: Facilities and Material aragement: Federal Iransportation ot Things (704); Military Preparedness Plans: Transportaton in Emergency Situations (04). Contact: Loqistics and Cozmunications iv. Budqet Function: ational Defense: DFartment ci Defense- .ilitary (except procurement contracts) (051). urqanization Concerned: epartment o Leiense. Authority: hrwy eulation 70-38. The LACV-30 (lighter, air cushion vehicle, 30-ton paylcad) is eirq considered as a eFlacement for existing Ahrmy ampibian ,ehicles. As such, its mission will invclle varicus amphibious operations, including logi-tics-cver-the-shore iLsupply. At present the Army has only two of the vehicles, one of whicl has een udergoinq cFeraticnal testing while the s;cond as been undergoing developmental testing. he Army is considerinq acquirinq 28 more LACV-3Cs at a tctal ccst ci ore trian $1 1C illion. Findirngs/Conclusicns: Althcugh the Army has an cu erational test and evaluation agency, tnat agency is ccnucctilq neither the operational test nor the operaticr.al evaiuation cr t LACV-30. lne grcup handling the test is under tnil cintrol o the Armor and Engineer Eoard, which is largely cOLtsed ot persons onl lcan rcm the Iranscrtation School, the coaiuz devtloue~l or the LACV-30, and te zransFcrtation Center, tn- eVt ntuai user ot the venicle. epcrts on the tests will be ouLbItzted tO the Traininq and DoctriLe Ccmmiand (TRiACC) rather r,.in to tli cniet r Start. Neither FADCC nor the ;l np.crttion Scnool constitutes an ideFendent test or evaiuatio) aqncy, as required by DeFartgent cf Deierse .,ju1i-on:-. Inh- c urent scope ct the cperaticnai testing will no* 'isuL-r tat the LACV-30 demonstratts ct rtain regured [:~t IIa ieICre a major pocurenent daeclsicr is madeo . ':e~ "::lopmnrt -,~ testinq nor civilan ex:ercf:c is a .-utr.itue te c -- ticnal testinq. (EL) tY . 9 UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548 LI001TICS AND COMMUNICATIGNS DIVISION B-155407 Ov 11 I The Honorable The Secretary of te Army Dear Mr. Secretary: We ae monitoring the operational testing of the Army's amphibian vehicle known as the LACV-30 (lighter, air cushion vehicle, 30-ton payload). Although the testing and evaluation is not yet complete, we are presenting concerns we have about the way in which the test is being carried out. Specifically, we question (1) whether the Army's operational testing and evaluation of the vehicle can be considered independent in the context of current DOD policies and (2) whether the scope of tenting will be adequate. The LACV-30, a military adaptation of a commercial air cushion vehicle, is being considered as a replacement for Jxisting Army amphibian vehicles. As such, its mission will involve various amphibious operations, including logistics- over-the-shore resupply. We were told that the Army presently has only two of the vehicles. One has been undergoing opera- tional testing at Fort Story, Virginia, and the other has been undergoing evelopmental testing at several locations. The Army is considering acquiring 28 more LACV-30s at a total .ost of more than $110 million. LACK OF INDEPENDENT TEST AND EVALUATION Current DD regulations on testing and evaluation are an outgrowth of the increased emphasis in the early 1970s on insuring that new weapon systems meet the needs of operational users before procurement decisions are made. As a result, each military service has been directed to establish an in- dependent agency, separate and distinct from the developing and using commands, to operationally test and evaluate new weapon systems and to report the Lesults directly to the Military Service Chief or Defense Agency Director. LCD-78-205 (943314) B-159407 This procedure is mandatory only for major acquisition prcgrams, as designated by the Secretary of Defense (generally those with research and development costs of at least $5 million or production costs of at least $300 million). How- ever, DOD regulations specify that the same principles are to be applied in the acquisition of systems, such as the LACV-30, that do not fall into the major program category. The Amy has an operational test and evaluation agency, but Army officials said it is conducting neither the opera- tional test nor the operational evaluation of the LACV-30. The group handling the test is under the control of the Armor and Engineer Board. However, this group is largely composed f persons on loan from the Trarsportation School, the combat developer of the LACV-30, ant the Transportation Center, the eventual user of the vehicle. The 'ransporta- tion School will also make the operational evaluation of tte vehicle. Both the Armcr and Engineer Board and the Transportation School are subordinate agencies of the Train- ing and Doctrine Command and, as such, will submit their reports to TRADOC, not to the Chief of Staff. TRiADOC ofic als interpret the term "independent," as used in DOD regulations, to mean only that the same agency should not do both he test and the evaluation of a system. They said that it is customary for TRADOC to have jurisdic- tion over operational testing o less-than-major systems and that, in such cases, the tes _ and evaluation agencies need not submit their reports diretly o the Chief of Staff. These officials also told us that they interpret the phrase "developing command," as used in DOD regulations, to mean only the command responsible for material development. Thus, they contend that TRADOC's responsibility for combat develop- ment of the LACV-30 does not preclude it from also being responsible for operational testing and evaluation. We believe, however, that the intent of the DOD regula- tions is to insure that operational tests and evaluations are made by agencies that do not have a vested interest in the development or use of systems being considered for procure- ment. Regarding the LACV-30, we believe that neither TRADOC nor the Transportation School constitutes an independent test or evaluation agency. For example, the Army's require- ment for an air cushion vehicle was identified and validated in a study made for TADOC by the Transportation School° Thus, the Army agency that riginally proposed acquisition 2 B-159407 ,.f the vehicle is now responsible for assessing the vehicle's operational effectiveness and suitability. LIMITED SCOPE OF OPERATIONAL TESTING Our other concern is that the current scope of operational testing will not insure that the ACV-30 demonstrates certain required capabilities before a major procurement decision is made. For example, Army officials said operational testing will not include tests of the vehicle's capability to operate -- in plunging srf up to 8 feet high, -- in winds up to 50 miles per hour, -- in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or -- over vertical obstacles up to 3 feet high. Transportation School officials told us that these re- quired operating capabilities will undergo development test- ing and that the result, will be used in the operational evaluation of the LACV-30. They pointed out that these capabilities will not be operationally tested because Fort Story lacks the necessary environmental conditions. For ez- ample, the maximum predictable plunging surf at Fort Story is 2 to 3 feet and the coldest temperature ever recorded in the Norfolk area was 2.5 degrees in 1875. Last winter the low was 5 degrees on January 17, 1977, and the average tempera- ture was 28.4 degrees. Other capabilities will not be operationally tested be- cause of the desire to avoid duplicating development tests or the lack of approval to perform potentially hazardous tests, such as operating in very high winds. The officials added that operational testing of the LACV-30 is not as ex- tensive as normal because the vehicle is a military adapta- tion of a commercial item and that civilian experience can thus be used in the operational evaluation. We beli-ve that neither development testing nor civilian experience is a substitute for operational testing. Develop- ment testing is usually edone by the developing agency to in- sure that the engineering design and development process is complete and that tne system meets specifications. This testing may be done in laboratories or under controlled 3-159407 conditions different from the operating and environmental conditions under which the system will be used. In contrast, operational testing is done to estimate the system's opera- tional effectiveness and suitability, as wel' as its military utility. Furthermore, these tests are to be done under realistic operating conditions with the type of prsonei expected to use and maintain the system. Experience in the civilian sector may also have been acquired under conditions far different from those expected during military operations. It is doubtful that civilian experience with a version of the LACV-30 was obtained under the types of conditions encountered during military amphi- bious operations. Similarly, the skills of civilian opera- tors and maintenance personnel may not have been comparable to those of their military counterparts. BASIS FOR REQUIRED CAPABILf.IES We discussed the required operating car'bilitie of the LACV-30 with Transporcation School officials There appears to be a basis for each requirement. The capability to operate in plunging surf up to feet high was based on an environmental analysis made in six geographical areas-worldwide that were considered typical of areas where logistics-over-the-shore resupply operations might be performed. In these areas surf less than 5 eet high occurred 56 percent of the time, surf 5 to 8 feet high occurred 21 percent of the time, and surf more than 8 feet high occurred 23 percent of the time. Accordingly, it was decided that the LACV-30 should be able to operate in surf up to 8 feet high. Concerning climatic capabilities, Army Regulation 70-3a specifies what is required. The formula for determining exact requirements is complex but basically dictates that equipment be required to operate in extreme climatic condi- tions if it is expected to operate in such conditions more than 1 percent of the time. In. the case of 'he LACV-30, application of AR 70-38 dictated that the craft b capable of operating in winds up to 50 miles pr hour with gusts up to 60 miles per hour, and irn temperatures as low as minus 40 decrees Fahrenheit. 4 B-159407 The capability to clear 3--foot vertical obstacles was considered necessary to permit the LACV-30 to clear common obstructions, such as embankments and logs. Although there is a basis for each capability require- ment, there is some question whether logistics-over-the- shore operations could be carried out under the severest conditions contemplated by the equirements. The require- ments should be stringent enough to insure performance, but if they are too stringent, they should be modified. We would appreciate being advised of the Army's posi- tion on these matters and of any actions planned. A copy of this letter has been sent to Representative G. William Whitehurst, at his request. Sincerely yours, P. J. Shafer Director
Operational Testing of the Army's Amphibian Vehicle Known as the LACV-30
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-11-11.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)