oversight

Apache Helicopter: Serious Logistical Support Problems Must Be Solved to Realize Combat Potential

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-28.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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         GA@‘NSIAIMW294                                                                  .
EL238876

September 281990

The Honorable k Aspin
Chairman, Gmmittee tin Armed !SezWxs
House of Representatives

The Honorable John D. Dingell
Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight
  and Investigations
Committee on Energy and Commerce
House of Representatives

This report on the 1ogMcal support, reliability, and other problem that are affecting the
Army’s ability to maintain high avaiIabUty rates with its Apache helicopter is in reqmnse to
your request. It contains recommendations to the ConlQess aimed at improving Apache
operations and support.

This report was prepared under the direction of Richard Davis, Director, Army Issues, who
may be reached on (202) 2754141 if you or your staff have any questions. Other rnz@r
contributors are listed in appendix I.




Frank C. Comhan
Assistant Comptroller General
l5lxecutive
        summaxy

                       The Apache-the Army’s premier attack helicopter-is considered the
                       most advanced attack helicopter in the world. Estimated to cost $12 til-
                       lion, the Apache program is nearing the end of production. Upon
                       receiving indications that the Apaches WpTeexperiencing low availa-
                       bility in the field, the Subcommitt&e on Investigations and Oversight,
                       House Committee on hergy and Commerce, and the House Committee
                       on Armed Services requested GAOto determine Apache availability rates
                       and if it found these rates to be low, to d&ermine (1) the causes of low
                       availability, (2) the implications of low availability for combat opera-
                       tions, and (3) the Army’s corrective acti-.


                   -   The primary mission of the Apache, which was designed for high-
Background             intensity battle in day or night and adverse weather, is to find tanks and
                       other targets and destroy them with its laser-guided llellfire missile, its
                       30-mm gun, or its 2.75-inch rockets, The hrmy plans to procure
                       807 Apaches, of which 74 1 are under contract and about 600 ha\‘* been
                       delivered. The Congress has appropriated funds for the remaining
                       66 Apaches. Critical to making effective use of its capabilities is how
                       often the Apache is available Coperform missions. The Army’s peace!-
                       time goal-that at least 70 percent of the Apaches are to be available to
                       perform any mission at a given point in time-is referred to as the
                       “fully-mission-capable rate.”


                       Apache availability rates fat1 well short of the goal and decrease as bat-
Results in Brief       talions accumulate flight hours. Below the surface of the low availa-
                       bility rates are serious logistical support problems such s undersized
                       maintenance organizations, weaknesses in repair capabilities, and fre-
                       quent component failures. Given that the Apache has not been able to
                       attain availability goals in peacetime despite favorable conditions, it is
                       questionable whether it can meet the far more strenuous demands of
                       high-intensity combat. However, this is a question for which there is not
                       a good answer because the Army has not realistically tested the basic
                       Apache combat unit--the battalion-under        conditions that simulate
                       sustained combat.

                       The Army has initiated numerous corrective actions to improve aircraft
                       reliability and maintenance capabilities- While these actions offer poten-
                       tial improvements in peacetime availability, they will not necessarily
                       ensure that the Apache can be sustained in high-intensity combat. It will
                       be difficult to assess the effectiveness of corrective actions in terms of
                       combat capability until the Army determines the Apache’s logistical
                       support demands under combat-repiesentative conditions. improving


                       Page 2                                       GAO/NSLUMO-294   Apache Heb~
-
                            the Apache’s logistical support to maintain high availability during
                            combat is likely to require substantially more personnel, maintenance
                            and test equipment, repair parts, and component reliability. Devoting
                            more resoumzs to overcoming key support problems will be difficult
                            when one considers that fielding additional Apaches will demand mofe
                            support resources at a time whert overall resources for conventional
                            forces are declining.

                            In April 1990, GAOrecommended in testimony that the 132 Apaches not
                            yet under contract at the time not be produced so that more resources
                            could be applid to address @istical support shortfalls. The Congress
                            did not act on this recommendation, and the Army has since contracti
                            for 66 more Apaches. GAObelieves that the Department of Defense’s
                            (DOD)actions do not go far enough and that the difficult choice of buying
                            fewer aircraft to better support those in the field must still be made. If
                            EOD  buys all 807 Apaches, it may be necessary to field fewer battalions
                            to provide a greater concentration of resources--people, aircraft, and
                            equipment-to     each battalion.


IPrincipal Findings

Availability   Rates Are    The Apache falls far short of meeting the Army’s fully-mission-capable
                            goal. The 11 combat battalions in the field at the time GAO’S review
LOW
                            began achieved a 50-percent fully-mission-capable rate from January
                            1989 through April 1990. More significantly, fully-mission-capable rates
                            tend to decline as battalions accumulate flying hours. Rates are low
                            despite favorable operating conditions such as few flying hours relative
                            to the other serv-vices,contractor support, and infrequent weapons firing.


Maintenance Units Have      The frequent failure of components and the consequent demand for
                            maintenance and for parts are major contributors to the Apache’s low
Not Been Able to Keep Up,   fully-missiorrcapable rates. The Apache’s numerous complex compor .
With-Apache’s High          nents present a high work load in the form of corrective and preventive
Logistic Support Demands    maintenance. Tests show that Apaches require essential maintenance
                            actions (maintenance needed to correct the more significant problems)
                            about every 2.5 flying hours. Sititenance units cannot keep up with the
                            Apache’s unexpecteddly high work load because they are too small and
                            are hampered by Army management practices and because test equip-
                            ment has not performed as needed. For these and other reasons, the




                            Pyre   3
-
                           A.rmy has departed from its basic support premise that failed camp
                           nents are to be easily detected and quickly repaired close to the heli-
                           copter. The Army has turned increasingly to contractors for assistance;
                           contractor personnel routinely assist in unit- and intermediate-level
                           maintenance and perform most depot-level maintenance.


Combat Operations Will     Army tactics call for 15 of the 18 Apaches in a battalion to fly missions
                           at one time during combat--an availability rate of 83 percent. At &e
Place Greater Demands on   same time, the Army expects to fly each Apache about 4 hours a day in
Apache Availability and    combat. This far exceeds the peacetime average of about half an IW.U
SUPpofi                    per day. Yet availability would likely be lower during combat becw       of
                           the greater burden posed by high flying hours, frequent weapons f&g,
                           and battle damage. The Army has conducted one battalion-sized test
                           under less strenuous conditions and found the Apache’s availability to
                           be insufficient despite substantial contractor support. Considering these
                           results, along with known shortfalls in people and test equipment, it is
                           questionable whether 1.5of a battalion’s 18 Apaches could be sustained
                           as needed during high-intensity combat. Apache operations in Panama
                           involved less than a battalion but indicated the high concentration of
                           resources that are needed to support the aircraft in combat-a concert-
                           tration of resources not normally available to Apache battalions.


key Problems Originated    Army test and evaluation agencies have waned of serious logistical
                           support problems since before the i982 production decision. Some of
Early in the Program       these probiems are hurting f;llly-mission-capable rates today. Testing
                           did not fully disclose the problems’ seriousness because of narrowly
                           defined performance measurements and the limited realism of test con-
                           ditions. Despite known problems and test limitations, the Apache pro-
                           ceeded to full-rate production without further operational testing or
                           decision points. The persistence of basic logistical support problems
                           after the bulk of production was completed suggests that production
                           took prionty over logistical supportability.


Planned Corrective         The Army has been forthright in acknowledging the Apache’s ava&-
                           bility problems. It ts taking numerous corrective adions, including steps
Actions Do Not Go Far      to improve reliability, test equipment, and spares availability, The Army
Enough                     has decided to increase the number of people in the Apache battalion to
                           partially fi:I the personnel shortfall but has not determined the source
                           for these increases. The Army also plans to field more contractor repair
    .
                      facilities and, as a short-term measure, will hire more contractor main&
                      nance personnel. These actions are likely to increase Apache availa-
                      bility, at least during peacetime. IIowever, it will be several years before
                      the reliability and test equipment improvements are demonstrated, and
                      .someof these problems have proven difficult to correct despite previous
                      attempts. In addition, th$ Army’s reliance on contractor support to ease
                      logistical support problems may not be practical for combat.

                      In April 1990 testimony, GAOrecommended that I)~)D conduct combat-
                      representative testing of the Apache and apply the lessons learned by
                      the other services in supporting their aircraft. DOD agreed that, while
                      corrective actions and logistical structure needed to be verified in an
                      operational environment, this verification could be done by evaluating
                      performance during planned exercises. GAObelieves such verification
                      would be of limited benefit, however, because exercises have not been of
                      sufficient duration to approach sustained combat, and previous evalua-
                      tions have not accurately disclosed problems becauseof limitations in
                      performance measurements and data collection. DOD aLsostated that
                      existing mechanisms were sufficient for applying lessons learned by the
                      other services. However, the fact that the other services fly their air-
                      craft significantly more hours. devote many more people to aircraft sup
                      port, and appear to have more complete data suggests that the Apache
                       has not benefited from this csperience.



                      priated ior the procurement of the last 66 Apaches to other appropria-
Matters for           tion accounts to provide the increased logistica! support the Apache
Cmgressional          requires. If the Congress decides against such a transfer, GAO recom-
                      mends that the Congress direct the Secretary of Defense to determine
Consideration         whether fewer Apache battalions should be fielded than planned to pro-
                      vide a greater concentration of resources to each battalion. GAO also rec-
                      ommends that the Congress direct the ,Secretary of Defense to
                      (I) operationally test the Apache in battalion-sized or larger units;
                      (2) form an interservice team to apply the experience of the other ser-
                      vices in improving the Apache’s logistical support; and (3) implement
                      the changes, emanating from the above efforts, necessary to sustain
                      desired peacetime and wartime operations for the Apache. These and
                      other recommendations are presented in full in chapter 7.

                  m
                      As requested, GAOdid not obtain official comments from DODon this
Agency Comments       report. However, Don formally responded to GAO’Stestimony, and GAO
                      has considered this response in preparing this report.
Executive Summary                                                                   2

Chapter 1                                                                          10
Introduction               Program History and Current Status                      If
                           Significant Improvements Are Planned for the Apache     13
                           Primer on Apache Maintenance                            13
                           Measuring the Apache’s Availability in the Field        16
                           Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                      IS
                       1
Chapter 2                                                                          21
Low Apache                 Apache Fully-Mission-Capable Rates Fall Short of Army   21
                                   Goals
Availability Rates         Fully-,Mission-Capable Rates Decline as Apaches         23
Indicate Significant            Accumulate Hours
                           The Apache’s Availability May Actually Be Lower Than    25
Logistical Support              Reported
Problems                   Fully-Mission-Capable Rates Indicate Underlying         29
                                Logistical Sup%5 Problems
                             ~--
Chapter 3                                                                          31
The Burden of              Apaches Generate Numerous Failures
                           Component Failures Create a High Demand for
                                                                                   31
                                                                                   35
Correcting Frequent             Maintenance
Failures Is a Major        Parts Shortages Contribute to Downtime                  38
                           Apache Warranties Prove Ineffective in Covering         41
Cause of Apache                 Frequent Failures
Downtime

Glzpter 4                                                                          43
Apache Maintenance         Maintenance Organizations Cannot Meet Apache’s Work
                               Lcrad
                                                                                   43
units   Are                Weaknesses in Test and Repair Equipment Hamper          46
Overburdened and               Xaintenance
                           A‘my Is Relying Increasingly on Contractor Assistance   50
Dependent on               Army Is Taking Several Actions to Improve Maintenance   63
Contractor Support             Capabilities




                           Page    6




                             _-,       _ .   -                 %
:hapter 5                                                                          56
my’s Ability to         Combat Operations Will Place Greater Demands on            55
                            Apache Avail~+lity and Support
iupport the Apache in   Shortfalls in Apache Logistical Support Could Become       56
iustained Combat            More Pronounced in Combat
                        The Army Has Not Tested the Apache Under Combat-           57
lperations Is               Representative Conditions
juestionable            Operation “Just Cause” Highlights Logistical Support       59
                            Challenges

Chapter 6                                                                          62
ley Problems            Performance as Measured During Testing Failed to
                             Capture Eventual Field Problems
                                                                                   62
kiginated Early in      Support Problems were Identified Early but Not Resolved    69
he Program
:hapter 7
inclusions,             Conclusions
                        Recommendations and Matters for Congressional
tecommendations ,           Consideration
tnd Matters for
‘fingressi0na.l
kwkleration
lppendix                Appendix I: Major Contributors to This Report              78

Tables                  Table 1.1: Fluctuations in Apache Procurement Quantities   12
                        Table 2.1: Comparison of the Apache’s Monthly Flying       26
                             Hours With Those of Other Aircraft
                        Tab!e 3.1: Expected and Demonstrated Replacement/          32
                             Failure Intervals for Selected Apache Components
                        Table 3.2: Estimated Hours to Remove and Replace
                             Selected Components
                        Table 3.3: Examples of Back-Ordered Spares
                        Table 6.1: Apache Mission Reliability as Measured During
                            Testing
                        Table 6.2: Maintenance Man-Hours Expended per Flight       66
                             Hour on the Apache
    Table 6.3: Maintenance Man-Hours per Flight Hour for           67
        Navy and Marine Corps Aircraft
1
    Figure 1.1: The Apache’s Essential Systems                     10
    Figure 1.2: Apache Electronic Equipment Test Facility          15
    Figure 1.3: Systems Required for a Fully-Mission-Capable       17
         Apache
    Figure 2.1: Apache Availability Goals and Performance          21
    Figure Z-2: !Uonthly F’uYy-MissionGapable Rates                22
    Figure 2.3: Apache Fu!ly-Mission-CapabIe Rates and             24
         Accumulated Flying Hours
    Figure 4.1: Processing of Sensor Components by                 48
         Electronic Equipment Trz+tFacilities




    DOD       Department of Defense                            .
    GAO       General Accounting Office
                                              .
-,..-   ..-   .                     .
                               -,




                  %lANK PAGE
                  Page 9
                                                  The Apache-       .: .*.rmy’s premier attack helicopter-is considered the
                                                  most advance         .,ck helicopter in the world. It is a two-seat, twin-
                                                  engine helicopter armed with the Hellfire antitank missile system, a
                                                  30-mm cannon, and 2.75inch rockets. The Apache’s basic mission is to
                                                  support ground forces by destroying enemy tanks and other ground
                                                  targets from the air. &ides this anti-armor mission, the Apache assists
                                                  air cavalry operations by providing firepower and security and provides
                                                  armed escort for unarmed helicopters. The A-p&z is consider4 part of
                                                  the combat maneuver force and, as such, will not operate from a fared
                                                  base in combat; rather, it; operations and maintenance will be conducted
                                                  in forward areas and will move as the needs of battle dictate.

                                                  The Apache was designed for high-intensity conflicts against heavy
                                                  forces. To be survivable and effective in thS environment, ZheApache
                                                  wzs cksigncd f 11derct~t and engage targets from long ranges, to fly and
                                                  light at night and in ;~dverse weather, and to evade enemy air defenses
                                                  anr: wit,hstancl Ilits when nc: rssary. These requirements dictated the
                                                  ApathtB’: sophistkatt4 systtzms and advanced features, some of which
                                                  a-1’ dcqicrrd in figure 1.1.
..I         --___II                                --- __---
3ure 1.1. The Apache’s Essential Systems
                            _-__-.-~----~.--




      integrared ldelr,let
      and Display     SIP-!
                                                                                                _,_ -’ Engnes
      Subsystem




   Target Acqu.wt.cJn         ;
   and Oesqca!.on




._-l_l-__                             ~-   .-..               -_~~~-   -----   --   ..- ~----   -.-




                                                  Page   10
                      The copilot/gunner, who sits in the front se& uses the Target
                      Acquisition and Designation Sight to find taq$%s from long ranges with
                      infrared, television, and direct-view optics. ARer finding a target, the
                      copilot/gunner designates it with the sight’s hoer ami guides the laser-
                      seeking Hellfire missile to impact. Just as the copilot/gunner uses the
                      infrared sensor to find targets at night and during obscured conditions,
                      the pilot uses an infrared night vision sensor UI fly the Apache under
                      the same conditions. These sensors are the Apache’s most important sys-
                      tems because they give the Apache its stand&f range, its night vision,
                      and itz ability to guide the Hellfire missile--apabilities that set the
                      -4pache apart from ocher helicopters.

                      Another important feature is the Apache’s Megrated Helmet and
                      Display Sighting System. which displays critkal flight and target infor-
                      mation on lenses mounted ctn the crew’s helnrers. The targeting and
                      night vision xmsors move with the crew’s h& movements, and, using
                      their helmet displays, the crew can see ttveryxhing the sensors see
                      without having to look down into a cockpit scxazen. The Apache has air-
                      craft survivability equipment that can inhibt the enemy’s ability to
                      engage the aircrait. The Apache i.sdesigned ts withstand hits from
                      munitions up TV23.nun in size. It also uses ZI automated rlavigation
                      system to guide its flight close to the ground

                      !&causc* of alI these capahilitit?,, corlpled with the Apache’s abundant
                      power, Army aviators fixl it to be far supericmto the C&bra helicopter
                      in all performance dimensions, including fli@ performance, night
                      vlsiokt, target attack. and survivability.

                                                                                -
                      Ap,,jch6>development began in 1973. and in 19% Hughes Hc!icopters
Program History and   was sr-iected, after cornpetItion, to completer&velopmcnt and prodltc-
Current Status        tic;:~ ?roductiun began in 1982, and the first a&craft WC klivered in
                      198-I ?r!cDonncll JIoug1a.s1felicoptet-s has sine- bought 11ughesand is
                      now the primp contractor. Other major contrarrors inchlde Martin
                      Mxiert;t Orla!tdo .>+?rospace,which produces ahe meting and night
                      WSYYC    sensors. and Generai Electric. which p:xiuces the enzines.
                                                                                               .--_-          -         -




                                            remaining 66 by October 1990. The contractor is currently producing
                                            about 6 per month and plans to deliver ail 807 by the end of fiscal year
                                            1993. As of January 1999, the Army had fielded 14 Apache battalions
                                            and plans to field 26 more by 1995. The battalion. which is the basic
                                            Apache organizational unit, normally has 18 Apaches, along with scout
                                            and utility helicopters.

                                            The Army has established a requirement for 1.031 Apaches based on iTs
                                            force structure for active. reserve, and National Guard units However,
                                            the number of Apaches the Army plans to fund depends on the
c 2                                         affordability of the Apache program and the needs of other programs.
. -..MY                                     Because of these and otkr reasons, such as cost increases, Xpahe pm
                                            curement quantities have fluctuated considerably over the years. These
                                            fluctuations are shown in table 1.1.

           Table1.1:FluctuationrIn Apache
           ProcurementQurrvtltles
      ..




                                            1985                                                                   65
                                                                                     ____I
                                            1986                                                                   533
                                            19R7                                                                   .KFi




                                            In April 1990, we testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight and
                                            Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, PS the
                                            results of our work.! On the basis of the severity of the Apache’s logis-
                                            tical support problems and the need to devote significant resources to
                                            resolve the problems, we recommended that the Congress limit the
                                            Apache’s procurement to 675 helicopters, forgoing the last 132 Apaches
                                            that were not under contract at that time. We recommended that the
                                            funds not spent on the additional Apaches be transferred to other
                                            appropriation accounts to improve logistical support. The Congress did
                                            not act on our recommendation, and the Army has since contracted for
                                            ,, -,   --..



                   chapter        1
                   IA-




                   66 of the rematig 132 Apaches. Our testimqny also included recom-
                   mendations to the Secretary of Defense. These recommendations, along
                   with the Department of Defense’s (COD)respocw, are discussed in the
                   relevant sections of the report


                   In 1989, the Army began engineering development on a $3.4 billion prc+
Sigdicant          gram to enhance the war-fighting capability of the Apache. This
Improvemnts Are    improvement, which will convert about 227 Apaches to “Longbow”
Plarmed for the    Apaches, involves placing a targeting radar above the rotor mast and
                   replacing the Hellfire’s laser seeker with a radar seeker. A decision on
Apache             incorporating the modifications is scheduled fqr October 1992. ‘Essen-
                   tially, the Longbow will give the Apache a “fire and forget” capability
                   with the Hellfire missile. Other changes will be made ta the airframe to
                   accommodate the Longbow modifications and associated avionics,
                   including an enhanced coolir@ system for the avionics bay, an enlarged
                   avionics bay to house additional components, increased electrical power.
                   and an advanced cockpit.

                   In addition to the Longbow. the Army plans other improvements for the
                   Apache. such ~5 adding the air-to-air Stinger missile system and an air-
                   borne target haRdover system. The Stinger will give the Apache a defen-
                   sive air combat capability, and the target handover system will facilitate
                   passirg target information between helicopters.


                   Apache maintenance is performed at three hierarchical levels: unit,
Primer on Apache   intermediate. and depot. Its maintenaxe concept is predicated on the
Maintenance        aircraft’s modniar design, whereby components referred to as “line
                   replaceable units” are to be quickly removed from the aircraft and
                   repLaced at the unit level. Gxnpotient repairs and other heavier mainte-
                   nance tasks are handled by the intermediate and depot levels.

                   Unit-level maintenance is performed by personnel in the Apache bat-
                   talion. These individuals generally perform ttle frequent, “on-aircraft”
                   maintenance tasks required to return the aircraft to a serviceable condi-
                   tion-such as removir?g and replacing line replaceable units. They are
                   also responsible for performing major and minor inspections, preparing
                   aircraft for flights, and tracldng the availability status of each aircraft.
                   The unit level contains the Apache crew chiefs, who are primarily
                   responsible for the daily maintenance of the aircraft, supported by tech-
                   nicians with disciplines such as armament, avionics, and engines, as well
                   as by inspectors and other general Apache repairers.


                   Page      13
Intermediate maintenance companies are primarily responsible for corn-
ponent repairs, although they roUi.nely handle someunit-level tasks
such as major inspections. These companies    do not fafl under the com-
mand of the Apache battalions but rather are assigned to a higt~ ech-
elon, such as a division or a corps. They are usually located close to the
battalion. Intermediate-level work generally takes place in specMzed
shops, including avionics, armament, airframe and sheet meta!, power
train, welding, hydraulics, machine, and engine shops.

A key responsibility of intermediate maintenance is to test and repair
electronic components. The Apache is a sophisticated aircraft that con-
tains numerous electronic line replaceable units, or “black boxes,” corn-
prised of a variety of intricate printed circuit cards. Intermedia&
maintenance units assigned to a corps are equipped with an Electzonic
Equipment Test Facility that diagnoses the black boxes. The te& facility
is depicted in figure 1.2.




Page14
                                                                                       1
                       Storageot Test Sets
                       and Suppart Equipment
                                                   Central Computer
                                                   and Test Equpnent




    Source    US Arm


    The Electronic Equipment Test Facility is housed in two 35-foot semi-
    trailer vans. One van houses the computer equipment used to diagnose
    coTnp0nent.s while the other van contains the test sets for the compo
    nents and support equipment for the facility. Each facility costs about
    $10 million. The test facility was designed to be mobile so it could move
    to provide quick repairs of electronic components close to the user. Ide-
    ally, when a black box fails, the aircraft’s built-in Fault Detection and
    Location System discovers the problem and displays a failure messagein
    the cockpit that cues unit-level personnel to remove and replace the box.
.   intermediate-level personnel connect the failed box to the facility’s test
    bench and use computer-run diagnostic software to’identify the f&y



    Page     15                                 GAO/NsIxDcyL2’%   hsmck   Hellatpter
                          circuit ti   within the box. The card can then be replaced and the box
                          returned to service!- The Army viewed the fauk detection system’s
                          ability to quickly furd probieaus and the test facility’s ability to quicMy
                          repair components as key elements of the original maintenance concept
                          and critical to aircraft availability.

                          At the depot level of maintenance, those components requiring exten-
                          sive skiils, capital equipment, and other immobile fixtures and facilities
                          are over&u&d or repaired. Generally, depots are central facilities not
                          necessarily located near the a&raft. However, the Army has fielded
                          contractor-run depot facilities near Apache battalions.


                          “Availability”    refers to a weapon sys+m’s ability to be in working con-
Measuring the             dition when it is needed. It is largely the byproduct of (1) reliability-
Apache’s Availability     how ofti a weapon breaks down-and (2) maintainability-how                 long
in the Field              it takes to repair tk weapon How quickly a weapon can be repaired is
                          further affected by how quickly parts can be obtained and 5y the capa-
                          bilities of maintenance personnel and equipment. Availability is thus not
                          only a key performance measurement itself; it can also indicate under-
                          lying reliability, maintainability and other problems.

                          Army Regulation 700- 138sets for&h the availability tracking require-
                          ments for the Apache. Basically, availability is calculated by dividing
                          the number of hours an aircraft is operable by the total number of hours
                          on hand. However, any time the aircraft spends in depot maintenance is
                          excluded from the total number of hours on hand in calculating availa-
                          bility. Thus, if an Apache were operable for 18 hours on a given day, its
                          availability for that day woulri be 18 hours divided by 24, or 75 percent.
                          If that same aircraft had been down for 4 hours of depot repairs, its
                          availabiiity would IX 18 hours divided by 20, or 90 percent.

                          The Army’s measures of availability are “fully mission capable,” “par-
                          tially mission capable,” and “non-mission capable.” The Army considers
                          an Apache fully mission capable if it can perform all of its assigned mis-
                          sions. This means that the Apache must be flyable and have all of its
                          mission-essentiai equipment working. The Army has established a goal
                          that the Apache achieve a fully-mission-capable rate of 70 percent once
                        _ the aircraft was considered mature. Figure 1.3 shows the basic systems
                          that must be operable for an Apache to be considered fully mission
                          capable.




                          Page   16
          Pat NightVidm                 Helma oisptay           Target &quWon
Abframs      SMISU                           System                   SW
                                                            I




                           #

            m-mm Gun                         Rockats



                                        -_              .   I



                       Source   US   Army


                       An Apache is classified as “partially mission capable” if it can fly and
                       perform at least one, but not all, of its missions. The Army’s goal speci-
                       fies that au Apache should be partially mission capable no more than
                       .5 percent of the time at maturity. Sormatly, an Apache is partially mis-
                       sion capable because some of its missionPssentia.l equipment is not
                       working. However, in peacetime, one of the Apache’s missions is
                       training, and it can be classified as partially mission capable even if
                       none of its mission-essential equipment is working as long as it can be
                       flown for training. When an Apache is not flyable, or is not capable of
                       performing any missions, it is classified as “non-mission capable.” The
                       Army’s goal is for Apaches to be non-mission capable no more than
                       26 percent of the time at maturity. The Army’s reporting system further



                       Page 17                                           GAO/-~294   Apache   HeUcoptu
                        distinguishes between the Apache’s beiig non-mission capable due to
                        maintenance and non-mission capable due to supply.

                        Each battalion summarizes the availability of its Apaches and reports
                        the information monthly, along with the number of hours flown and the
                        major causes of aircraft downtime. Thus, a battalion of 18 Apaches that
                        typically met the Army’s availability goals would be expected at a given
                        point in time to have 12 or 13 Apaches fully mission capable, 4 or 6 non-
                        mission capable, and 1 partially mission capable.


                        We conducted our review of the Apache program at the request of the
Objectives, Scope, ad   Chairmen of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House
Methodology             Committee on Energy and Commerce, and of the House Committee on
                        Armed Services. The request was prompted by concerns that the Apache
                        was experiencing low availability rates in the fidd. Accordingly, the
                        objectives of our review were to determine the Apache’s availability in
                        the field as measured by fully-mission-capable rates and if we found the
                        rates to be low, to (1) determine the causes of iow rates, (2) identify the
                        potential implications for combat operations, and (3) identify the
                        Army’s corrective actions.

                        We conducted our audit work from May 1989 through April 1990 in
                        accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. At
                        the direction of the requesters, we did not obtain official comments from
                        the DOD on this report. However, we did discuss its contents with DOD
                        officials and have included their comments where appropriate. In addi-
                        tion, DOD formally responded to our testimony, and we have taken ita
                        response into consideration in preparing this report.

                        We conducted the majority of our work at (1) the U.S. Army Aviation
                        Systems Command, St. Louis, Missouri; (2) eight Apache battalions
                        located at F’t. Hood, Texas; illesheim, West Germany; Wiesbaden, West
                        Germany; and Ft. Bragg, Xorth Carolina; and (3) Headquarters,
                        Departments of Defense and the Army, Washington, D.C. We visited the
                        Army Aviation Center, Ft. Rucker, Alabama; Ft. Eustis, Virginia, where
                        Apache maintenance personnel are trained; the U.S. Army Materiel
                        Systems Analysis Activity, Aberdeen, Maryland; the U.S. Army Opera-
                        tional Test and Evaluation Agency, Alexandria, Virginia; the Special
                        Repair Activity at Killeen, Texas; and the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter
                        Company, Mesa, Arizona. We also observed an -4pache field training
                        exercise at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, California, and a
                        gunnery exercise in West Germany.
At the U.S. Army Aviation Systems Command, we interview& per-
sonnel and reviewed and obtained records from the various command
dLectorates, the Advanced Attack Helicopter Program Manager’s Office,
the Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor
Project Manager’s Office, and the Automatic Test Equipment Product
Manager’s Office. Topi- covered were Apache fleet readiness, Army
studies and analyses of Apache availability problems, the supply of
spare and repair parts, individual component reliability, corrective
actions, maintenance man-hours expended, and warranty information.

A major focus of our work at the Avitiion Systems Command was our
analysis of the Apache readiness database. Using the Army’s data, we
performed detailed analyses on the availability rates of the 1i Apache
combat battalions in the field at the time we began our review. We
excluded such data for other Apache units, such as training units,
because their operations did not necessarily reflect those of combat
units. We performed a limited reliability assessment of the Army’s
database by testing the accuracy of input data for 1 of the 11 fielded
combat units. We found an input error rate of less than 1 percent for
input data and concluded that the accuracy of the database was accept-
able for review purposes. However, we found a system error that
resulted in the omission of 1 month’s data from the database for that
unit. While the omitted data had no material effect on our work, it does
have a potential impact on the Apache’s reported readiness rates. We
discussed this situation with Command representatives, and they are
taking appropriate action to correct the system error. They also stated
that, while omission of such data does distort readiness reporting, such
omissions occur infrequently.

At the eight Apache combat battalions where we conducted on-site audit
work, we analyzed individual Apache readiness reports to ensure &hat
(1) they had been prepared accurately and in compliance with Army
regulations and (2) the readiness database was reliable. Overall, we
foilnd a low incidence of errors in recording readiness data at the
combat units. One battalion in West Germany had erroneously over-
stated futly-mission-capable rates by 11 percent in the data we
examined. Also, the Ft. Bragg battalion had excluded the condition of
aircraft survivability equipment in its calculation of fully-mission-
capable rates. However, we did not find these occurrences to a signifi-
cant degree in the other battalions, and we do not think that they had a
significant effect on the overall availability rates.




Page   19                                  GAO/NSWW294     Apache   Ee~copter




                                                                                i
We spent a considerable znount of time at these battalions with mainte-
nance personnel, pilots, and command personnel to fully understand the
factors affecting the Apache’s availability. In particular, we discussed
individual components’ reliability. preventive and corrective mainte
nance, the supply of spare and repair parts. diagnostic equipment,
training, contractor support, expended maintenance man-hours, the ade-
quacy of the battalion’s size, and the amount of time productively spent
on maintaining the aircraft. Althwgh we covered many topics during
our visits to F’t, Eustis and FL Rudder, the most significant concerned
the basis for the Apache battalion’s current design and the rmuits of the
Army’s manpower requirements analysis regarding the Apache bat-
talion organization.

Throughout our review, we were concerned with the effects of a severe
storm at Ft. Hood, Texas, which damaged over 100 Apaches in May
1989. We examined the readiness database before and after the storm to
ensure that our analysis of fully-mission-capable rates and accumulated
flying hours was not unduly influenced by the storm damage. Even with
these allowances, the storm’s influence could not be completely elimi-
nated because of the longer term effect it had on the overall demand for
critical parts In the final analysis, we believe that the storm did lower
fully-mission-capable rates significantly during the latter half of 1989.
However, while the storm exacerbated the Apache’s availability
problems, it did not cause them. &fore the storm, fully-mission-capable
rates were already significantly below the Army’s goal and had declined
with accumulated flight hours.

We discussed the Apache’s availability and logistical support problems
with headquarters officials from DODand the Army. We talked with sev-
eral people who had been involved with the Apache program in years
past to gain perspective on past decisions and events that could shed
light on some of the Apache’s current problems. We discussed the inter-
pretation of requirements and test results, the status of the Apache pro-
gram at the time of the production decision. and iessons learned. We
obtained and analyzed reports from key tests and evaluations of the
Apache conducted since 1981. We also held discussions with Air Force
and Marine Corps personnel to gain their insights on aircraft mainte-
nance, support, expended man-hours, flying hour rates. training, and
contractor support.




                                                                            i
lkw Apache Availability Raks ‘Indicate
Significant Logistical Support Problems

                                           Apaches have fallen considerably short of meeting the Army’s fully-
                                           mission-capable goal. More significantly, fully-mission-capable rates
                                           tend to decline as battalions accumulate flying hours. Apache fully-mis-
                                           sion-capable rates would likely be even lower if Apaches were flown as
                                           much as aircraft from other services are flown. Although somewhat
                                           imprecise, the fully-mission-capable rates have illuminated a basic
                                           problem: the Apache demands a high level of logistical support that the
                                           Army has not been able to provide.


                                           The 11 Apache combat battalions in the field when our review began
Apache FWly-Mission-                       averaged a 49.9percent fully-missioncapable rate from January 1989
Capable Rates Fall                         through April 1990-well short of the Army’s 70-percent goal. As a
Short of Army Gods                         fleet, the Apaches did not meet the goal during calendar years 1986
                                           through 1988, nor any month during calendar year 1989. Figure 2.1
                                           compares the Army’s availability goals with the demonstrated perform-
                                           ance of the 11 Apache combat battalions from January 15,1989,
                                           through April I-5,1990.



Figure 2.1: Apache AvailaMlity Goals and Psrlomance
                                                  Partially Mission Capable




                                                    Non-mission Capable




         L                                         Fully Mission Cap&b
                  GO&                                                                         Ackkvemene

                                           Source: U S Army data




                    ,__           ._--.-
                As can be seen in the figure, Apache downtineincluding      both non-
                mission capable and partially-mission capable times-was about equal
                to the fully-mission-capable rate during the period. The amount of
                downtime is directly related to the Apache’s demand for maintenance
                and parts, as well as to the Army’s ability to meet those demands.

                ALthough fully-r.&ion-capable    rates can be expressed as an average,
                they in fact fluctuate considerably from mcnth to month. F’igure 2.2
                shows the monthly fully-mission-capable rates for the 11 combat units
                for January 1939 through April 1990.




                During this time period, fclly-mission-capable rates ranged from 29.6 to
                60.8 percent. Rates showed a general deciine from July to September
                1939, which the Army primarily attributes to two factors: (1) a severe
                storm in May 1989 that damaged over 100 Apzhes at Fort Hood, Texas,




,-.   -. -- -
                       and (2) the discovery of two aircraft component problems whose seti-
                       ousness required maintenance personnel to perform inspections and
                       modifications. While it is clear that these factor lowered fully-mission-
                       capable rates, they were not the cause of the overall problem because
                       rates were already significantly below the Army’s goal before May 1989.
                       For example, the average fully-mission-capable rate for 1988 was
                       56 percent. Apache fully-mission-capable rates have improved since
                       October 1989 and approximate their pre-May 1989 levels. This improve-
                       ment reflects recovery from both the storm and from other problems in
                       1989, as well as some of the steps the Army has taken to improve the
                       Apache’s logistical support.


                       While monthly fully-mission-capable rates are low, further analysis
Idly-Mission-Capable   shows that as Apaches accumulate flight hours, rates tend to declii.
kites Decline as       Using Army data from the time fielding began in 1986through April
                       1990, we calculated the fully-mission-capable rates as the combat battal-
apaches Accumulate     ions reached increasing levels of accumulated hours. By using flight
Iours                  hours rather than calendar months, we adjusted for the fact that the
                        11 battalions were fielded at different times and have accumulated
                       flight hour? at different rates. Figure 2.3 shows the pattern of declining
                       rates that emerges from this analysis.




                       Page 23
3t-a2.3: Apache Fully-MirriorkCapsbls           Rates and Accumulated Flying Hours
 hcentaga   04 Tim   Alrcnl~ Wsra Fully Ytdar   Crpdm




                                                 This analysis shows that older battalions with more flight hours gener-
                                                 alIy cxperienue lowe: rates than the newer battalions. From thr tiw
                                                 each of the 11 combat battalions was fielded fo the time when each had
                                                 accumulated its first 500 flight hours, the bartaiions averaged a
                                                 67-percent fully-mission-capable <ate. Six baaaiions had fIown at least
                                                 .>.500 hours, and they averaged a 49”percent nte. Only 2 of the 11 bat-
                                                 talions had accumulated over 10,000 fhght hours, am?these averaged a
                                                 37-percent fully-mission-capable rate through April 1990. The Army’s
                                                 computation of monthly fleet-wide averages Nnpens the effect* of
                                                 acc*Jmulatir.g hours and aging because it combir,w r.herates for nw and
                                                 old battaliws.
                                                                     r                        I.
          --:




                          While it is diffkrrit to preckly discern the reasons for declining fuliy-
                          mission-capable rates, Apache battalion personnel cited two main fac-
                          tors. First, as the aircraft gain flight hours, they require more mainte-
                          nance and parts. thereby increasing downtime. This increased demand
                          occurs because of component wear, major prescribed maintenance
                          inspections that are conducted on each Apache every 250 hours, and Lh
                          longer term effects of aging. Second. after the first year of fielding, Lun
                          over begins among battation maintenance pemormel, which degrades
                          maintenance capability because personnel are either replaced by less
                          experienced people or not replaced at all. This degradation of mainte-
                          nance capabilities prolongs the amount of time it Lakes to perform mair
                          tenance- at a time when maintenance demands tend to increase.

                          DOD disagreed that fuhy-mission-capable raLesdecline because of accu-
                          mulated hours. Rather, DOD believes that declining rates during 1989
                          were caused by the storm at Fort Woodand by serious problems with tf
                          SO-mm gun and a main rotor component. As we note in the report, these
                          problems lowered rates in 1989. However, our analysis of the declining
                          rates was reln ;ely unaffected by the storm at Fort Hood becauseit
                          encompassed 4 years of data and was based on accumulated flying
                          hours rather than on calendar dates. Furthermore, the pattern of
                          declining rates existed before the storm ticurred. While the storm was
                          an anomalous occurrence, significant problems with components have
                          occurred in previous years. Excluding them would clearly increase ava
                          ability rates but would render the rates meaningless.


                          The reported fully-mission-capable rates for the Apache may be higher
The Apache’s              than the actual availability of full:r operational aircraft. Apaches are
Availability May          not flown as much as other services’ aircraft are flown; the Apache’s
Actually Be Lower         lower numbers of flying hours lessen the demand for maintenan,ce and
                          parts. Apaches also benefit from contractir support and from the basir
Than Reported             of operations in prepared an-fields with permanent hangars. Finaily. fc
                          several reasons, the availability reporting system does not capture all c
                          the factors that lower fully-mission-capable rates.


Apache Availability       Normal Apache operations involve few flying hours, infrequent
Benefits From Favorable   weapons firing, prepared airfields with permanent hangars. and con-
                          tractor logistical support. These conditions reduce maintenance and
Operating Conditions      parts demands on the ono hand, while facilitating the ability to perform
                          maintenance on the other. While it does not necessarily follow that the
                          Apache should be flown harder and maintained under poorer conditior
                                                 the favorable impact of the Xpache’s operating conditions must be con-
                                                 sidertd when interpreting fully-mission-capable rates.

                                                 Apaches in the I 1 combat battalions have flown an average of
                                                 12.9 hours per month since fielding began. As shown in table 2.1, the
                                                 Apache flies far fewer hours than do tactical aircraft ir. the other
                                                 sewices.

 .,*-      Tabk 21: Conrpalson of the Apache’s
                                                           ._....~..                  .-.       --_-...      .~--       __.__
                                                                                                                           -~.-----_I____
           Monwy Flying How5 wnh Tbaa of
                                                                                                                                     Mont% fl@$s
           0th~ Nfcmft                           Service                 Aimmlt
                                                                                                                               _.   __.- -
      ‘I
                                                 Armg                    .AH-G     Apache       helcopte;           ”
                                                                                                                                    ..-.. .-- .._.____ 129
                                                                          AH 1 cobra        nekopler                                                  112
                                                 AN Fok                   F 76 Fatcon (I&d w&g)                          ‘-                          29T
                                                                                   - _      _-
                                                                          A-TO Thunderbolt  th~ed wmg)                                               358
                                                                                    _. ..~  .-    _. _                   .~.
                                                 Navy/                    F/A-18 Hornet ihxed wmg)                                                   390
                                                 Marms                    AV 8e’ Hamei        (ttxed      wng)                                       336
                                                                          AH.i    Ccbta     hellcopter                                               27 7


                                                 As shown in the table. both the Apache and the Army’s Cobra fly signif-
                                                 icantly fewer hours than do aircraft from other services. This suggests
                                                 that the problems limiting the Apache’s flying hours may apply to Army
. .
                                                 aviation in general. White several factors affect the numbers of hours
                                                 that can be flown. Apache batta!ion pPrsonnc1 informed us that a major
                                                 constraint is the battalion’s limited ability to meet the helicopter’s iogis-
                                                 tical support demands. If that Apaches flew more hours, the demands for
                                                 replacement parts and preventive and corrective maintenance would
                                                 increase. although not necessarily proportionately. Given the battalion’s
                                                 limited resources. these additional demands would likely degrade fuily-
                                                 mission-capable rates.

                                                 Other aspects of the Apache’s normal operating environment also h-en-
                                                 efit aircraft availability. For instance. the firing of weapons such as the
                                                 missile and gun takes place during a small portion of the Apache’s flying
                                                 hours. According to the Xrmy, gunnery exercises are limited by the cost
                                                 of munitions and by an inadequate number of firing ranges. As with afr
                                                 increase in flight hours, if weapons were fired more frequent!y, more
                                                 maintenance and parts would likely be needed to keep the Apaches fully
                                                 mission capable. Except during exercises, Apache battalions operate
                                                 their aircraft from prepared airfields. thereby minimizing the amount of
       _ -   -. -. -..   -,               --     -...




                              sand and dirt the helicopters ingest. Also, the battalions perform a sig-
                              nificant amount  of maintenance inside permanent hangars at the air-
                              fields. The hangars facilitate the performance of maintenance tasks that
                              wodd be more difficult. if not inadvisable. to perform outdoors or on
                              unprepared surfaces. For example, the hangar provides the clean envi-
                              ronment required for performing maintenance on the night vision and
                              targeting semis-% and the hang&s overhead hoist facilitates the
                              removal of major components such as the main rotor head. The Apache
                              also benefits from a substantial amount of direct and indirect contractor
                              support, which is discussed in chapter 4.

                              The effects of favorable operating conditions are perhaps mm evident
                              in the three Apache battalions located in West Germany when our work
                              began. These battalions tend co have higher fulIy-mission-capable rates
                              than those in the United States. The battalions in West Germany enjoy
                              top priorit) for personnel and rep!acement parts and are thus less
                              affected by parts shortages and personnel turnover than are other bat-
                              talions. They also had full-time contractor personnel to help perform
                              unit-level maintenance who were not available to other battalions at the
                              time of our review. The battalions in West Gemmny also have extra
                              Apaches that are used as “float” aircraft-they    replace Apaches in
                              need of repair so that the battalions can have more operational ainztift
                              available.


Army Reporting System         Several exclusions and omissions within the Army’s reporting system
                              result in the overstatement of the Apache’s availability status. These
May Jm3.d to Some             primarily involve portions of maintenance downtime that, for sPvera1
Overstatement of              reasons. are not fully reported, U’hile availability rates would be some
Availability Rates            what lower without these reporting system flaws, the flaws were gener-
                              ally not so severe as to render the data unreliable or substantially
                              inaccurate.

                              Several omi%ions are allowed by regulations. For example, depot-level
                              maintenance is excluded from calculations of fully-mission-capable
                              rates, as directed by Army and MID regulations. However. such mainte-
                              nance is regularly performed oksite, and the aircraft are not available
                              for use during this time. When aircraft downtime that is attributable to
                              depot maintenance is counted in the January 1989 through April 1990
                              period. fully-mission-capable rates for the 11 combat battalions decrease
                              by 2 to 5 percentage points. Similarly, the availability of float aircraft to
                              some battalions increases availability rates because the aircraft in need ’
                              of repair are no longer reported by the battalion once they are
                                     _., -, ._




exchangd. We found that the use of float aircraft assigned to two bat-
talions in West Germany increas(sd fully-mission-capable rates by about
5 percentage points.

We also found several omissions that were at odds with reporting regu-
lations. For example, the battalions located in West German; &enerally
excluded downtime for unscheduled maintenance when the corrective
action took 2 hours or less. Availability rates for one battalion at Fort
Hood were about 4 percentage points higher dw to random erron in
reporting aircraft as fully mission capable wkn they were partially
mission capabte. We found a higher error rate in battalions locat& in
West Germany becausein some cases unit- or intermediate-level main*
nance was performed while aircraft were receiving depot repairs. In one
instance, aircraft were classified as beiig down for depot repairs longer
than justified becausethey were awaiting parts that had been removed
to repair other Apaches. Also, the battalion at Fort Bragg, North
Carolina. excludes aircraft survivability equipment from its calculations
of fully-mission-capable rates, even though by regulation such quip
ment is defined as “mission+ssentiaI.”

Other aspects of the reporting system result in understatements of the
amount of supply-driven downtime at the expense of maintenance-
driven downtime, without necessarily affecting availability rates. For
example. parts shortages are not counted as long as any other mainte-
nance actions can still be performed while the parts are on order. The
practice of taking components from an aircraft already in need of
repairs to fix others- referred to as “controlled substitution”-reduces
the downtime that would have occurred if the components had hn
obtained through the supply system, even though the maintenance time
associated with exchanging the components is recorded. In addition,
while “non-mission-capable’* time is distinctly subdivided into %upply”
and “maintenance” categories, no such distinction i; made for
“partially-mission-capable” time, even though this category is a major
source of downtime. The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army has commis-
sioned a formal study of ways to improve the reporting s~~stern,and the
Army has allowed batblions to informally report partially-mission-
capable distinctions.




Page   28
                                                                                                         -




                            While fully-mission-capable rates are somewhat imprecise and subject to
N&-Mission-Capable          fluctuations, they nevertheless reflect the serious logistical support
Rates Indicate              problems occurring in Apache battalions. These problems were particu-
Underlying Logistical       larly evident as flight hours accumulated and aircraft   aged. We found
                            that fully-mission-capable rates suffer because of (1) the frequent fail-
Support Problem             ures of components that create a large demand for maintenance and
                            parts and (2) the battaliocts’ inability to meet that demand because of
                            personnel shortfalls, weaknesses in diagnostic equipment, and parts
                            shortages. As a result, Apache maintenance units are overburdened and
                            dependent on contractor support. We found that the problems, which
                            can have serious implications for combat operations, exist despite the
                            warnings of Army logisticians and several Apache tests dating back to
                             1981. These issues are the focus of the remaining chapters in this report

                            In February 1989, the Apache program office formed a team drawn
                            from several organizations. including personnel from Army field units
                            and contractors, to improve the Apache’s availability. This team,
                            referred to as the “Apache Action Team,” has made a coordinated effort
                            to identify and correct problems. As of May 1990, the team had identi-
                            fied 169 action items, 101 of which it considered as closed. Since 1982,         i
                            various attempts have been made by Army and contractor teams to
                            resolve technical problems on the Apache. However, the Apache Action
                            Team is the most comprehmsive effort to date. Also, in early 1990, the
                            Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and
                            Acquisition commissioned a “Tiger Team” to analyze the Apache pro-
                            gram and recommend steps that could be taken to quickly improve air-
                            craft availability until lor ger term corrections could take effect. The
                            specific corrective actions. taken or proposed by these teams are dis-
                            cussed in the following cktspters.


Precautions Are Needed to   At the same time the Army is working to resolve the Apache’s logistical
                            support problems, it is developing the “Longbow” modification program
Avoid Similar Logistical    for future application to the Apache. While this program offers poten-
Support Problems With the   tially significant improvements to the Apache’s combat effectiveness, it
Longbow Program             is a major modification that will require significant changes to the
                            Apache’s design and will add complex subsystems such as the mast-
                            mounted radar. These changes could complicate the Apache’s logistical
                            support problems. In our *April 1990 testimony, we recommended that
                            DOD defer incorporation of the Lnngbow mod3cation until the Amy
                            demonstrates that (1) it has overcome the logistical support problems
                            that the Apache has experier.ced and (2) the Longbow’s availability and-
                            flying hours will not be similarly compromised.


                            Page 29
cm disagreed with this b3xmt.mendatiort on the basis that it would
unnecessarily in-        the cost and delay the fielding of a critical opera-
tional capability. DODalso stated that actions to correct the Apache’s
current problems will be completed before delivery of the first
Longbow-modified Apache and that it will review the progress of these
actions before deciding whether to produce the Longbow. The intent of
our recommendation was not to defer the development phase of the
Longbow program but to ensure that before the Army makes a praduc-
tion decision, it has detennkd that the Apache’s logistical support
problems will not lx? worsened. Demonstrating the longbow’s logistical
supportability before making a production decision can prwent the
occurrence of major problems during its fielding. Army officials
informed us that they are making plans co operationally teat the
Longbow’s logistical supportability before the production decision
CbElpter 3

The Burden of tirrecting Frequent Failums Is a,
Major Cause of Apache Downtime

                          The frequent failure of components and the onsequent demand for
                          maintenance and replacement parts are major contributors to the
                          Apache’s low fully-mission-capable rates. The Apache’s numerous
                          sophisticated components and subsystems present a high work load in
                          the form of corrective and preventive maintenance, as well as a high
                          demand for replacement parts This work load has been heightened by
                          reliability problems in several key mechanical components. In addition,
                          there are indications that new problems associated with aircraft aging
                          are beginning to emerge. The &my is striving to improve Apache relia-
                          bility, maintainability, and parts availability, These actions should help
                          improve availability rates, but their full impact will not be known for
                          several years. Improving reliability may represent the Army’s biggest
                          challenge because of the Apache’s innate complexity and because sev-
                          eral component problems have proven difficult to correct despite pre-
                          vious improvements.


                          Apaches produce a high volume of failures that require a substantial
Apaches Generate          amount of maintenance and many parts to correct-resulting        in reduced
Numerous Failures         fully-mission-capable time. Apache battalion personnel have expressed
                          frustration over the frequency and varied sources of these failures. In
                          addition to the low availability rates, data from several tests bears out
                          the high frequency of failures: Apaches require ssential maintenance
                          actions about every 2.5 hours. This is nearly equivalent to the length of
                          a typical mission.


Some Problems Stem From   A good deal of the Apache’s work load stems from the number and com-
                          plexity of its subsystems and components. The Apache is a high-
the Apache’s Complexity   performance aircraft, and Army personnel place its sophistication on a
                          par with that of the Air Force’s F-16 fighter. This comp!exity is a
                          byproduct of the Apache’s designed capabilities to be effective and
                          survivable on the battlefield. The target acquisition and designation
                          sight is a good example. The sight provides the Apache’s ability to find
                          targets and guide its weapons from long ranges, using television,
                          infrared, laser, and direct-view optics. The sight is the Apache’s most
                          sophisticated system, involving 26 major electricti, optical, and mechan-
                          ical components. Although the sight has historically fallen short of reba-
                          bility requirements. it may be approaching the upper limits of its
                          rehability, given its complexity. The sight requires frequent mainte
                          nance because of its numerous failure modes,coupled with the difficulty
                          in accurately isolating failures in its sophisticated ekctronics.
Key Components Are          Some components are failing sveral times more often than expect&.
                            While different types of components suffer from reliability problems,
Experiencing Frequent       some of the most pressing problems-from the standpoint of availa-
Failures                    bility and work load-involve   the 30-mm gun system and basic mechan-
                            ical components whose failure impairs the Apache’s abiity to fly.
                            Examples of these key components and their reiiability are shown in
                            table 3.1.




                            Maln rotor blade                           1.500        hours            164    hara
                            Main rotor strap      pack                 1,500        hours            52oharn
                                                            -
                            Shall-drtven     corftoressof              2.000hours                    4oohax8
                            Tatr rotor swashplate                      1,500        hours            250 hold
                            Snm        gun                             3,833        founds          1.048   rounds

                            9?JvmQaleQ ternOval tnterud
                            !jource- U S. Army data


                            The Army has numerous corrective actions underway to improve com-
                            ponent reliability. Program officials are optimistic that proposed fures
                            will solve the problems. However, they acknowledge that it will be sw-
                            et-al years before all fixes are incorporated on fielded aircraft and
                            demonstrated. The problems with these key components and the Army’s
                            corrective actions are summarized below,

                            Main Rotor Blade: The Apache’s four main rotor blades comprise the
                            lifting surfaces for the aircraft. The blades are made with bonded com-
                            posite materials and meta1, and in several places the blade surfaces
                            debond, or separate. If the debonding is relatively minor, Army
                            intermediate-level maintenance units can reglue the skin. If the
                            debonding is more significant, the blades have to be repaired by the
                            manufacturer under a depot repair contract. The contra&r has devel-
                            oped several fixes, such as unproved glues and skin overlays that have
                            had limited success in the field. According to the Army, the problem is
                            caused by gluing voids in the production process, and blades produced
                            with an improved gluing process are performing well in testing. It
                            should be noted, however, that the original blade also passed testing.

                            Main Rotor Strap Pack: The four main rotor strap packs, which are part
                            of the main rotor hub, help socure and control the main rotor blades.
                            The strap packs, which are comprised of a serig of steei straps, crack




              _ .- .-,..-   -      -                                           .-            ,_,-
      prematurely. The component is not reparable and must be replaced. The
      strap pack has never passed qualification testing, according to Army
      personnel. and it has been a problem since 1984. The Army asked the
      prime contractor to analyze the stresses at the failure points on the
      strap pack in 1987. However, the contractor has not responded to this
      request. Earlier this year, the Army agnzed to the contractor’s proposal
      to pay for design changes and 390 spares,                                     I
      Shaft-Driven Compressor: The shaft-driven compressor, which is part of
      the environmental control system on the aircraft, provides cooling to
      many components on the aircraft. The Army has been aware of
      problems witi it since about 1983, The compressor is not reparable by
      Army units and must by repaired by the manufacturer under contract.
      Various subcomponents fail on the compressor, and Army engineers sug-
      gest two basic design flaws as the possible causes of failure: (1) the unit
      is too light and lacks the durability to operate at required high speeds,
      and (2) the unit’s oil supply comes from the transmission, whereas most
      compmrs        of this type have self-contained oil supplies. The com-
      pressor has undergone nine configuration changes, and the most recent
      version has started experiencing bearing failures. Army engineers
      believe that problems may continue on the compressor because of its
      basic design.

      Tail Rotor Swashplate: The tail rotor controls the lateral movement of
      the aircraft, The tail rotor blades, which are the control surfaces, are
      actuated by a rotating swashplate. The swashplate bearing fails prema-
      turely, cadsing the swashplate to seize and the aircraft to lose control.
      Such a failure caused a fatal crash in August 1987, prompting t.he Army
      to replace the swashplate every 250 flight hours. The swashplate
      bearing is not reparable by the Army and is replaced by the manufac-
      turer under contract. Army documentation indicates several factors may
      have contributed to the tail rotor problem, including (I) inadequate
      bearing load capacity (actual loads exceeded design loads by 138 per-
      cent), (2) improper design techniques regarding the use of dissimilar
      metals, ad (33 inadequate testing. One possible cause of the increased
      loads was the repositioning of the tail rotor lower on the tail assembly
      and increasing the diameter of the tail rotor  during development M
      improve flight-handling performance. The prime contractor redesigned
      the swashplate bearing, and the Army began testing the new design in
      Ckztober 1989. On the basis of its performance in testing, the Army is
      mstalling the new swashpiate on fielded aircraft as the old swashplates
      reach the 250-hour replacement interval.




                                                            -.,-..
                                                                -    ,..,-..-
__,
                        30-mm Gun: The 30-mm gun has had a history of problems over the last
                        10 years, primarily with jamming and stoppages caused by subcom-
                        ponents such as the feed system and the drive motor. The gun has
                        undergone numerous design changes, but these have &n unable to
                        bring it up to reliability requirements. Program personnel b&eve that
                        ammunition round control is the most serious problem with the gun
                        today. They cite two components that break and cause jams: (1) a series
                        of carrier Wks that form a belt to convey the rounds from the ammuni-
                        tion box in the belly of the aircraft to the forward-mounted gun and
                        (2) a flex chute, which guides and supporrp the belt as it enters and exiW
                        the swiveling gun. Army maintenance personnel can usually repair the
                        gun by replacing failed components with new ones.


Problems Due to Aging   As Apaches accumulate hours in the field. emerging component and air-
                        frame problems cause maintenance downtime not necessarily experi-
Have Begun to Emerge    enced by newer aircraft. Battalion maintenance personnel informed us
                        that the weird major phase inspection (which is performed at the 60&
                        flight-hour interval) revealed much more extensive damage to the air-
                        craft than they had expected. They discovered problems such as loose
                        rivets, deteriorated fuel cells, wire chafing airframe cracks, and rust in
                        major components such as the main transmission that necessitated their
                        replacement.

                        The Army has had a similar experience with the “Lead the Fleet”
                        Apache-an aircraft the Army flies at fairly high rates to determine the
                        Apache’s long-term reliability, maintainability, availability, and dura-
                        bility. This Apache has shown increasing faults in the airframe struc-
                        ture over time, particularly with working rivets, sheetmetal cracks, and
                        abrasion between composite and sheetmetal components in the aircraft’s
                        aft section. The Apache’s tail boom section may become the source of
                        future downtime because in addition to these problems, it becomes atn-
                        taminated by fluids such as oil. According to an Army official, heli-
                        copter tail booms normally experience fatigue from flight loads and are
                        eventually replaced, but the Apache’s tail boom is not removable.


&her Component          Some component failures lower Apache availability, not because of their
                        frequency but because they are so severe that they pose safety
Problems Affect         problems. In those cases, the Army issues safety-of-flight messagesthat
Availability            mandate immediate corrective action and could require the grounding of
                        the fleet. The groundings may result in a dramatic short-term effect on
                        availability because the necessaq inspections and titenance      have to


                        P8ge34                                      GAo/NsuDdomeBclbDaa
                                       be performed on large numbers of aircraft at the same time. For
                                       example, uncommanded movements made by the XI-mm gun prompted
                                       the Army to issue a safety-of-flight message in August 1989 so that con-
                                       tractors could perform a corrective modification. In November 1989,
                                       when a cracked main rotor retention nut was found during a 6Whour
                                       phase inspection, the Army issued a safety-of-flight rn-ge   so that the
                                       nut could be removed, inspected, tested, and replaced. The Army issued
                                       28 safety-of-flight messagesfor the Apache in 1987, 18 in 1988, and 24
                                       in 1989. Two of the 1989 messagesresulted in aircraft groundings.

                                       Other component problems can occur as a result of environmental condi-
                                       tions. For example, in humid conditions, electronic components have
                                       suffered from moisture buildup; in the desert, sand ingestion can cause
                                       problems. Personnel from one battalion informed us that flying in the
                                       rain can cause water to leak into the cockpit and avionics components.
                                       in 1988, cold weather conditions caused a component in the tail rotor
                                       fork-the elastomeric bear&g-to fail on numerous Apaches.


                                       The high volume of component failures generates a high work load in
Component Failures                     the form of corrective and preventive maintenance. Corrective mainte-
Create a High Demand                   nance is directly affected because it consists of unscheduled actions
                                       needed to correct problems. The preventive, or scheduled, maintenanm
for Maintenance                        work load is also increased because numerous special inspections have
                                       been added to monitor problem components, and failures are often
                                       found during major phase inspection%.

-
Unscheduled Maintenance                Removing and replacing failed components require a considerable
                                       amount of effort from maintenance units and result in aircraft down-
Burden Is High                         time. While the Army does not collect complete data on expended main-
                                       tenance man-hours, Apache battalions provided us estimates of the
                                       amount of time it takes to remove and replace selected key components.
                                       Table 3.2 presents some of these estimates, as well as the impact of such
                                       maintenance on aircraft downtime.

Table 3.2: Estimated Hours to Remove
l ndR~sehcted        Components                                                                 Maintenancs
                                       Component             .-----...~~   -__-_          _I_     muM0ws           Aifcmfldowntha
                                       GG
                                       -__I-
                                               rotor blade                                           14 to 26                a IIOUIS
                                       Man     rotor strap   pack                                    32 to44             3to4days
                                                                             ----_I--__
                                       TarI rotor swashplate                                                   a             a hours
The maintenance associated with these repairs is fairly involved. For
example, it takes six maintenance man-hours to remove and replace a
main rotor blade. All four blades must then be tracked and balanced,
which requires two pilots and two maintenance personnel and another 8
to 20 man-hours. The aircraft is generally non-mission capable for up to
8 hours and longer if all the work cannot be Lompleted in 1 day or if a
replacement blade is not readily avaiiable. Whenever the strap pack is
changed, the procedure for tracking and balancing the rotor blades must
be repeated. These estimates exclude the amount of effort required to
repair the component itself; generally aircraft are returned to service by
replacing components, while the failed parts themselves are repahed by
Army intermediate-level units or by contractors.

Failures in electronic components are a mqjor wurce of maintenance
downtime because they occur frequently and, unlike failures of mechan-
ical components, they can be intermittent and hard to pinpoint. The
Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Army-Europe has stated that as much as
50 percent of the time Apaches spend in the hangars for maintenance is
devoted to troubleshooting and that this time was increasing. The Army
believes that troubleshooting eIectronics is the top problem facing
Apache maintenance personnel May. Battalion maintenance personnel
echoed these concerns, In Germany, we had the opportunity to observe
the troubleshooting of a fault in the helmet display unit. It required a
technical inspector to power up the aircraft and took two technicians
about 1 hour to check the system only to find that the problem would
not replicate. The problem, however, recurred on the next flight, and a
contractor representative had to help identify the cause.

Safety-of-flight messagescan represent sudden large demands for
unscheduled maintenance. While some messages require only visual
inspections, others require the removal and replacement of key compo-
nents on all aircraft as soon as possible. For example, the 30-mm gun
safety-of-flight messagenecessitated about 6 maintenance man-hours to
remove the gun turret assembly so that contractors could modify it and
another 3 man-hours to re-boresight the gun. The main rotor retention
nut safety message required grounding the aircraft to remo:re, inspect,
and replace the nut-a job that required about 12 man-hours per
aircraft.
Scheduled Maintenance Is     The Apache’s problems have resulted in more scheduled maintenance
                             because numerous tasks have been added to monitor problem compo-
Alsa a Significant Source    nents and failures are often discovered during regular inspections. Major
of Downtime                  phase inspections are the largest single source of maintenance down-
                             time; one of these inspections can take an aircraft out of service for sev-
                             er-al months.

                              There are two primary types of scheduled maintenance inspections pre-
                              scribed for the Apache: a preventive maintenance service inspection,
                              which is performed on each Apache every 10 flight hours or 14 days,
                              and a much more intensive phase maintenance, which is performed
                              every 250 flight hours. According to Army guidance, the LO-hour/
                              14day inspection should require 1.5 hours to perform. However. as a
                              result of the growing number of tasks, the inspection now takes about
                              5 hours. Maintenance personnel from one battalion informed us that it
                              takes about 30 minutes just to read the checklist. The need to monitor
                              problem components has been a major reason for the increased mainte-
                              nance time. For example, examining the rail rotor swashplate bearing
                              added 1 hour to the inspection, while inspecting the main rotor strap
                              packs added another 20 minutes. To illustrate the aggregate impact of
                            . these increases, one battalion informed us that 1 year’s operations
                              required at least 327 of these inspections at aboat 5.4 hours each-a
                              total of about 1,760 man-hours.

                             While the amount of time it takes to perform phase maintenance inspec-
                             tions varies widely, they generally take about a month to complete.
                             These are detailed inspections conductd on each Apache at 25&flight-
                             hour intervals, and they involve substantial disassembly of the aircraft.
                             Every other phase inspection-that is, those conducted every
                             500 hours-is even more extensive and takes longer. Maintenance per-
                             sonnel from one battalion informed us that the 50(i-hour phase inspec-
                             tion had disclosed more extensive damage due to age and wear than
                             they had expected. As a result, at that battalion, the 500-hour inspection
                             was taking up to 3 months to complete, compared to 1 month for a
                             250-hour phase inspection.

                             There are several reasons that phase maintenance takes so long:
                             (1) component failures and other problems are routinely discovered that
                             necessitate corrective ma.inter.ancq (2) some less essential maLltenance
                             tasks and modifications are not performed during day-today operations
                             and are accumulated for the phase inspection; (3) parts needed to cor-
                             rect problems or to rep!ace components taken for other ailcraft are not
                             available and must be ordered; and (4) personnel shortage exist. and


                              Page 37




       -.. -   -, -   -:.
                        competing demands divert the maintenance personnel from performing
                        phase maintenance.

                        In comparison, the Marine Corps and the Air Force estimate that phase
                        maintenance on their tactical aircraft takes 10 days or fewer to com-
                        plete. Marine Corps officials informed us that they conduct phase main-
                        tenance on helicopters at 100-hour intervals, and it takes no longer than
                        36 hours. The Air Force conducts phase maintenance on the F-16 every
                         150 hours, with minor phases being conducted at shorter flying-hour
                        intervals. According to Air Force officials, major phase inspections are
                        completed in 10 days, while minor phases take 5 days. These services
                        suggested that their phase inspections take less time becausetheir
                        inspections are done more frequently (and thereby catch problems
                        before they occur) and because maintenance teams are dedicated to per-
                        forming the inspections.


                        The sup@y of key replacement parts has not kept pace with demand,
uts Shortages           and this shortfall has contributed to the Apache’s ICY fully-mission-
mtribute to             capable rates. Many of the components in short supply are experiencing
                        high failure rates and are not reparable at or below the intermediate
xwntime                 maintenance level. Until replacements for failed components arrive, air-
                        craft stay less than fully mission capable unless components are taken
                        from other Apaches. The Army has taken steps to alleviate the supply
                        shortages and believes that they are working.

                                                                                      -           -
:y Parts Are in Short   Supply shortages of both major components and small parts have frus-
                        trated maintenance personnel’s attempts to quickly repair failures.
LPPlY                   While the shortages do not involve a large number of components rela-
                        tive to the total number of parts on the Apache, those not available are
                        essential to keeping the aircraft fully mission capable. In fact, many of
                        the components needed the most because of failures are not available in
                        battalion supply stocks and are the hardest to obtain.

                        Some of the major components in short supply are main rotor blades,
                        tail rotor swashplates, main rotor strap packs, and pitch change links
                        (which control the pitch of the rotor blades). All of these are flight-
                        essential and, except for the main rotcr blades, are not reparable by
                        Army personnel. Major components ol” the targeting sensor xe also in
                        short supply, including the turret assembly, the F jwcr sup$y, and the
                        electronic unit. AManysmaller parts-such as nuts, bolts. and washers-
                        are in short supply and are essential to reinstalling major components,


                        Page 38                                      GAO/NSlADWZPI   Apache   Eicucbpta




                                                 3
                             such as the tail rotor. These shortages affect availability directly
                             because when a component fails, the aircraft is impaired until a repla@
                             ment part is rmived. Battalion personnel estimate that it takes about
                             35 days to obtain parts from the supply system through normal chan-
                             nels using the highest priority available; routine priorities generally ta
                             45 days or longer. To minimize the amount of downtime caused by the:
                             delays, Apache battalions rely heavily on taking components from air-
                             craft already down for phase or depot maintenance and using them as
                             replacements.


Several Factors Contribute   The Apache’s unanticipated high demand for replacement parts is at tl
                             root of the parts shortage problem. Ho-zvever,several other factors ti
to the Ina~AIity to Meet     contribute to the shortages, including limited supplier capacities, fea-
Demands for Parts            tures of the Army’s supply system, and the limited component repair
                             capability within the Army.

                             The demand for replacement parts is met by repairing failed compo-
                             nents and by producing new spare components. Because of the prime
                             contractor’s long turnaround times for component repairs and slow
                             deliveries of new spares, the supply of replacement parts has lagged
                             behind demand. The repair of components and the production of SW
                             must compete with the production of new aircraft. and the production
                             line takes priority. The contractor’s capacity has twen a concern amon
                             Army contracting personnel for several years, and it will be several
                             years before deliveries catch up with demand.

                             The production of new spares for several key components lags behind
                             demand, and parts have been backordered. Table 3.3 shows the Arm>
                             estimated back-order quantities and recovery dates for spares as of
                             January 1990.


                                                                                                Reca
                             Component
                                    --                                                                 d
                             Main rotor   blade                                                 June   1
                             MaIn rotor   strap pack                              176            Jan. 1
                             Tali
                             __- rofor swashplate         assembly                 11            May 1
                             Maln rotor pitch I&        assembly                 372             Aor. 1
                             Makn lransmisslon                                     25            May 1
                             Target   sight &ctronnrc       tin11                  27           Nov.   1
                             N4ght won      sensor      turret                     25           June   1
                                                      ..




Turnaround times for repairing key components are likewise long. For
example, under the terrrs of the current depot repair contract, the Army
expcts to send 393 rotor blades for repair, and the prime contractor has
agreed to repa the blades at a rate of 10 per month. At this rate, the
blades sent to rhe contractor for rep& 51September 1989 will be
repaired by August 1QE Repairs of target and night vision sensor corn
ponents pose less of a problem because the contractor for the sensor
systems has eS.abliiheb at the Arruy’s expensoz,several special repair
activities in &se proxinaity to Apache battalim. These repair activities
have greatly reduced tht time it takes to repair most sensor components
and have thus lessened &e effect of the components’ reliability
problems.

In addition, the Army closely manages certain components with high
dollar values and doesrrot allow large numhe~ of these items to be
stocked. Many of the nuajor components in short supply are on the list of
intensively managed items. Battalion personnel also stated that tram+
portation is a source of &lay. For example, in Germany, half of the time
it takes to get a high priority component is spent getting the part from
the receiving point in Germany to the requesting battalion.

The fact that many of the key components in short supply are not repa-
rable by Army- person& places additional demands on the supply
system. When componenzs-particularly      those with high failure rates-
can be quickly repaired by Army units, fewer replacements have to be
ordered, and the efficiency of the supply system becomesless important
to availability- Army u&s do not have repair capabilities for some com-
ponents becam these components were not expected to fail much. Ln
other cases,repair capabilities have been liimited by the performance of
support equipr.ent Support equipment is discussed more fuily in
chapter 4.

aher factors have contributed to the supply problem. Army personnel
responsible for managing the supply system believe that ~rous       con-
figumtion changes to canponents have worsened the problem because
of the long led times associated with making a new component part of
the supply svz%m. In ad&ion, the May 1989 storm at Fort Hood gener-
ated a large, unanticipated demand for key airframe parts, such as rotol
blades. In January 1990, six Apaci~ damaged in the storm were stiU
awaiting parts. While the storm was clearly an extreme event, it does
illustrate the difficulty the supply system has in responding to demands
as well as the aircraft’s dependence on supply for repairs. According to
                           one brigade commander. the storm replicates the catastrophic damage
                           the Apache could sustain in battle and the damage’s effect on supply.


The Army Is Taking Steps   The Army has taken several actions to improve supply ava&ability for
                           the Apache. Recently, the Army initiated a program whpreby bat?dions
to Overcome Shortages      can exchange failed targeting and night v&ion senscsrcomponents for
                           replacements directly at contractor special repair activities in the field.
                           This program has resulted in shorter turnaround times for these items.
                           Also. the Apache program office has taken over the management of WV-
                           eral particularly troublesome items, cuch as the tail rotor swashplate
                           and the shaftdriven compressor, and has been able to shor@n their
                           turnaround times. According to the Army, while deliveries of replace-
                           ment parts from contractors are still slow. there has been improvement
                           in the last year, and contractors have been able to fiil a higher per-
                           centage of total orders. Army representatives believe that as a result of
                           this action and others, fully-mission-capable rates have improved in
                           ear!y 1990.


                           The Army has not been able to recoup the costs of component failures
Apache Warranties          under airframe production contract warranties. Instead, financial settle
Prove Ineffective in       ments on major corrective actions are negotiated outside of the warran-
Covering Frequent          ties. and the Army has incurred most of the costs associated with these
                           actions. According to an Army representative, until 1989, warranty
Failures                   clauses contained a threshold, or deductible, for depot-reparable items
                           that was so high that it has never been breached. According to an Army
                           reprc%ntative, difficulty in coHecting under the warranties can also be
                           attributed to broad contract specifications, vague contract language, ti
                           the incomplete reporting of failed components by field units.

                           The warranties also entitle the Army to seek restitution when failures
                           are caused by a latent design or manufacturing defect. However, the
                           Army has found it very difficult to prove that designs are defective. For
                           example, Army representatives informed us that they had been unable
                           to prove that the tail rotor swashplate bearing was defective, even
                           though the component had to be removed every 250 hours rather than
                           the required 1,500 hours. The prune contractor argued that the Army’s
                           revision of its technical manuals to reflect the mandated 25134~~~
                           removal interval constituted a revised requirement that the swashplate
                           had met. Army representatives informed us that, while this argument
                           had no merit, the contractor% unwillingness to acknowledge the design



                           Page41
flaw would result in lengthy litigation, rendering this cmtmt   remedy
lItlpWtiCal.

Financial settlements on technical probIems are negotiated outside the
wammties on a caseby-case basis. SeWements have been reached on
several components so far, including the main rotor bide, the main
rotor strap pack, the shaft-driven compressor, and the tail rotor swash-
plate. In general, the contractor has agreed to reengina the cornpo-
nenta at no cost to the Army, while the costs of retrofitting Apaches
with the improved components are to be shared. The Army ne@iated a
more favorable settlement on the tail rotor swashplate, whereby the
contractor agreed to pay for the design change, retrofit 552 fielded
Apaches, and upgrade 90 spares.

As of March 31, NQO, the Army estimated that negotiated and proposed
settlement costs totaled $66.7 million: the Army will frrnd $35.0 million;
the prime contractor will fund S18.5 million; and it has yet to be
resolved who will fund the re maining $3.2 million. However, these set-
tlements exclude the significant costs already paid by the Army to the
contractor for the depot repair of failed components. For example, the
funds paid to the prime contractor to repair all of the swashpIates that
had to be removed early-as well a9 the costs of the Army’s labor and
the time it expended to inspect, remove, and replace swashplates-are
considered sunk costs and are not included in the settlement.

According to Army representatives, the contractm for the night vision
and targeting sensors has been more willing to take responsibility for
correcting reliability problems. Also, the fiscal year 1989 production
contract with the prime contractor for the airframe does not have a
threshold clause in the warranty provisions and should, therefore, be an
improvement over the previous warranty. However, it may be several
years before the effectiveness of this warranty is known.




P4ge 42
      Maintmance Units Are Overburdened
&d Dependent on Contractor Support

                        ,Maintenmce units cannot keep up with the Apache’s unexpectedly high
                        work load because (I) maintenance organizations are too small and are
                        hampered by Army management practices and (2) maintenance equip
                        ment-particularly     as it reIaWs TVtroubleshooting electronics-is either
                        unable to perform as needed or is not available. Battalion commanders
                        have cited the manpower shortfalls as a major reason for low availa-
                        bility rates and flying hours. Given the mismatch between maintenance
                        demands and capacity, the Army has turned increasingly towards con-
                        tractor assistance for maintenance.

                        The Army has proposed several actions that should improve mainte-
                        nance capabilities and aircraft availability. These include adding per-
                        sonnel, improving maintenance equipment, and increasing contractor
                        support. At this time, however, the Army has not determined where it
                        will obtain the additional people, and the sufficiency of equipment
                        improvements has not been demonstrated. It is also uncertain whether
                        the additional contractor support will be a lasting solution.


                        Maintenance units are too small co handle the work load generated by
Maintenance             the Apache because the Army patterned these units after units that
Organizations Cannot    maintained a less complex aircraft. The maintenance capacity of these
Meet Apache’s Work      austere organizations is further limited by the low productivity of and
                        the high turnover among maintenance personnel. In 1989, the
Load                    Commander of U.S. Army-Europe depicted the Apache maintenance sit-
                        uation as follows:

                        Current    readinessrates are only possible through a combinatton                     of repolting    proce-
                        dure shortfalls,      existing      contract   support,   LAR [Army      LogisticsAssistance Repre-
                        sentativej    and CFSR lContractor            Field Service   Representative]      zsistance.      and the
                        extensive    overtime       contributed      by our soldiers.    . Initial    data showsserious        morale
                        and re-up problems           starting    tn occur in these units due to overwork.


Maintenance Units Are    The Apache battalion organization, which is responsible for 18 Apaches,
                        .13 OH-58 observation helicopters, and 3 UH-60 utility helicopters, was .
TOGSmall                 not structured to satisfy the Apache’s requirements but rather those of
                         the less complex Cobra. The “Army of Excellence” initiative, which
                         imposed limits on the size of Army units, made the Cobra organization
                         itself austere and precluded attempts to make the Apache organization
                         larger despite the support of manpower analyses. The result is an
                         Apache organization with tm few maintenance personnel to handle the
                         job.



                        Page 43                                                           GAO/N-224               Apuhe    EcnEopra
                          The Apache battalion is currently authorized 264 people, about 100 of
                          whom are involved with pertOrming unit-level maintenance. According
                          to the Army’s manpower analysis for the Apache, the battalion should
                          have 366 people, including about 160 for helicopter maintenance. Even
                          this analysis appears conservative, however, considering that it ~SIAITI~S
                          that each Apache will fly about 2 hours per day in combat and will
                          require about 7 maintenance man-hours per flight hour, whereas EUT-
                          rent estimates of man-hour requirements and combat flying hours are at
                          least double these levels.

                          Given its small size relative to the worIt load, the maintenance organ&-
                          tion limits the number of flying hours and the avtiability of the
                           Apache; that is, a unit can fly oniy what it can maintain. The organiza-
                           tion is adequate to staff one shift of maintenance per day, but one main-
                           tenance shift is not sufficient becausethe Apache flies a large portion of
                           its missions at @ht. Maintenance personnel often have to work mofe
                          than one shift to accommodate n&t& flights and then have to be (WIthe
                          job the following day to coordinate repairs with intermediate mainw
                           nance personnel. Shortfalls exist in several maintenance specialties,
                           including crew chiefs, electricians, and avionics technicians.

                          Both the Marine Corps and the Air Force devote much larger orga&a-
                          tions to maintaining and supporting their tactical aircraft, The Marine
                          Corps has 225 maintenance personnel for a squadron of 12 Cobras and
                          12 UH-1 Hueys-more than twice the number of people for fewer and
                          less complex helicopters than in an Apache battalion. Thii level of sup
                          port enables the Marines to operate two maintenance shifts per day and
                          to conduct flight operations 24 hours a day. The Air Force devotes about
                          the same ratio of people at the unit level to maintaining and supporting
                          a squadron of 26 F-16s. The ..%irForce organization also supports two
                          maintenance shifts per day and provides two crew chiefs per aircraft
                          versus one for each Apache. These high levels of support are a m+r
                          reason that Marine Corps and Air Force aircraft fly so many more hours
                          than the Apache doe-s.


Army Management           Several of the Army’s practices weaken the capability of already
                          overburdened Apache maintenance units. Maintenance personnel are
Practices Further Limit   able to devote less than half of their time to maintenance because of
Apache Maintenance        other competing demands and distractions and often work long hours to
Organizations             meet the high work load. Faced with this work load and a limited career
                          path within aviation maintenance, Apache maintenance personrt~ leave
    the Army at a fairly high rate, weakening ihe experience base. BatZal-
    ions at FOE Hood are faced with the additional burden of bsing people
    to newly forming Apache battalions and regularly have ferPer people
    than authorized.

    Apache maintenance personnel spend only about 30 percent of their
    duty day perfornkg maintenance on the Apache. Thii percentage
    amounts to about 2 to 3 hours of productive maintenance per day. The
    remainder of their time is spent on other required duties such as phys-
    ical training, guard duty, motDr pal detail, and rifle qualifkatiom Per-
    sonnel involved with Apache operations and maintenance informed us
    that the prevailing philosophy within the Army is that maintenance per-
    sonnel are soldiers fint and Apache maintainers second. As a resuk the
    maintenance of helicopters does not get the full attention of msinte-
    nance personnel, and availability rates suffer.

    About 66 percent of first-term Apache maintenance persxmel do na
    reenlist, despite reenlistment bonuses of up to %20,000.One reason
    maintenance personnel cited for leaving was the long hours associated
    with both the insufficient productive time and the Apache% frequat
    failures. Maintenance personnel also informed us that the career path
    for people actually performing maintenance was limited and that to
    advance further, they must take supervisory positions that do not entail
    performing maintenance.

    Personnel losses in Apache battalions occur for other reasons. Some
    people leave the Army for the higher paying jobs and more regular
    hours that contractors can offer. This probIem becomesworse as the
    amount of contractor support for the Apache increases. Apache bti-
    ions are also suffering the lass of experienced maintenance personnel
    who joined the Army during Vietnam and are now becoming eligible to
    retire. Battalions stationed at Fort Hood have an additional source of
    attrition: these units are required to rotate experienced personnel to
    new battalions being trained at the Apache Training Brigade in Fort
    Hood. Often, rephxment personnel are inexperienced and have not
    gone through the training brigade themselves. Because of this and the
    higher priority for personnel that other battalions eqjoy, Fort Hood’s
    battalions generally have fewer people than author-i?&: tha four battal-
    ions we reviewed at Fort Hood had between 230 and 247 people, com-
    pared to the basic authorization of 264 people.




-
                           Personnel turnover resulting from these management practices can sig-
                           nificantiy erode the battalion’s maintenance expertise. This is particu-
                           larly true for troubleshooting electronics because senior maintenan~
                           personnel at the Army’s Aviation School informed us that it takes 8 to
                            12 years for an individual to become adept at troubleshooting. Air Force
                           officials informed us that a similar level of experience is required for
                           perfnrming troubleshooting functions. Personnel from one battalion in
                           Germany that cnnsictently maintained high availability rates cited the
                           presence of experienced wrple in key positions as instrumental to their
                           battalion’s pwformanre.


                           Apache maintenance personnel have had difficulty in locating and car-
Weaknesses in Test         recting failures because of weaknesses in automatic test equipment,
and Repair Equipment       tools, manuals, and training. Because of these problems, combined w&h
Hamper Maintenance         the Apache’s high work load, the Army has not been able to adhere to a
                           basic premise of the Apache’s maintenance concept: to ensure high
                           availability by quickly locating and replacing failed components at unit-
                           level maintenance and quickly repairing components at the intermediate
                           level. Instead, unit-level maintenance personne! have difficulty
                           troubleshooting problems, and many key components are either not rep
                           arable or take too long to repair at intermediate-level maintenance units.
                           As a result, the Apache’s availability has become more dependent on the
                           supply system and on depot-level maintenance. Repairs are therefore
                           slower and require more spares than they would if intermediate mainte
                           nance capabilities were greater.

                                                                                             ---
________-__
Al1tnmat.i c Test
                and        Automatic test and diagnostic equipment has not proven capable of the
                           quick and accurate troubleshooting of faults in electronic components,
Diagnostic Equipment Has   or “black boxes,” that is essential to high rates of availabilieJ. The on-
Not Performed as Needed    board fault detection and location system has not proven dewndable in
                           locating valid faults. The intermediate-level Elect&tic Equipment Test
                           Facility, which tests the removed components for failures, is slow and
                           does not have the capability to repair the circuit boards within the
                           components.

                           The fault detection and location system suffers from two basic problems
                           that have caused maintenance personnel to mistrust it. First, the system
                           does not accurately find the component that is the root cause of a partic-
                           ular fault indication. For example, if a power supply component fails
                           and causes problems in other components, the fault detection systpm
                           may identify the other components as the problem. Second, about
40 percent of the time the system detects faults that do not actually
exist. Both kinds of problems necessitate additional maintenance time to
verify and locate failures manually, place greater demands on supply,
and pass a greater work load on to intermediate- and depot-level repair
facilities. Troubleshooting is further hampered by the fact that main-
nance manuals lack wiring diagrams, are vague, and do I’W provide con-
tinuity between subsystems of different manufacture. Maintenance
personnel compensate for these weaknm        by using other Apaches as
test beds for removed components and by using “break-        boxes”-
individual @&en that can verify the performance of a component. How-
ever, the fault detection system was intended to minimize the need for
ground equipment and complex manual troubleshooting procedures.

According to the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, the volume
of components beii sent to the Electronic Equipment Test Facilities is
about double the volume predicted. However, the test facilities have not
had the speed, the capacity, or the resources to fulful the critical role of
readily providing replacement components by quickly performing
repairs in close proxhnity to unit-level maintenance. Army data col-
lected on three test facilities during 1989-two run by the Army and
one run by a contractor-showed that it took Army personnel an
average of 36 days to test and repair target and night vision sensor com-
ponents and that a significant portion of the test facilities’ work load
was passed on to depot repair. Maintenance personnel informed us that
some components can take up to 90 days to test and repair. Data col-
lected during 1989 on the three test facilities is displayed in figure 4.1.
                  I--fll_-..-.l_   .----   ._..-^^_.-I-_~-   ~---.




Source   US   Army data


There are several reasons that the test facilities have not been respon-
sive to demands. First, the facilities were originally intended to hi:ve the
capabilities to (1) test a black box, (2) identify a faulty circuit board
within the box, (3) diagnose the fault within the board, and (4) enable
the repair of the card in an adjoining electronic repair facility. Having
these capabilities would have allowed the facilities to be fairly autono-
mous in repairing faulty electronic components. However, in 1983, the
Army decided against giving the facilitie the capability to test and
repair circuit boards. Instead, circuit boards are repaired at contractor
depots. As a result, today the facilities can test black boxes and identify
failed boards, but they must requisition replacement boards, which are
in short supply, to repair the boxes. Facility operators in Germany estf
mated that they usually did not have parts on hand for about 80 percent
of repairs and that they wait about 45 days or more for the parts.

Another limitation of the test facilities is their slowness in testing elec-
tronic components. A facility can test only one component at a time, and
each type of component has a test program that must be set up to diag-
nose the component. Maintenance personnel estimated that it can take
45 minutes to 5 hours to test one component. According to the Army, the
delay is due in part to the slow processing speed of the outdated central
computer and to the design of the diagnostic programs, which must run
from start to finish with no option to immediately test for a suspect
                                           _.lll   _.__ ---I   . .._.
                                                                   ~----   -.




                            card. As a result, the test facilities’ operations are handcuffed by their
                            slow initial testing of a component, the time needed to obtain replace
                            ment circuit cards, and the need to retest the component to verify the
                            repair.

                            The responsiveness of electronic test facilities is further slowed by the
                            unavailability of personnel. As with maintenance personnel in the bat-
                            talions, the intermediate-level maintenance personnel who operate the
                            facilities are drawn away by other demands. Thii loss of productivity
                            was indicated by the performance of Fort Hood’s three test facilities:
                            while it took the Army-run facilities an average of 36 days to repair
                            sensor components, it took the contractor-run facility only 11 days on
                            average.


Other Equipment Is          ,Maintenance personnel ix.formed us that they did not have all of the
                            right tools and equipment to perform needed maintenance. The tool kits
Lacking                     issued to Apache crew chiefs are the same kits issued to mechanics in
                            the motor pool; they are not aircraft quality and cannot withstand some
                            of the high torque requirements for the Apache. Special equipment,
                            including air data sensor alignment tools, rotor track and balance equip
                            ment, and pneumatic pressure testers, is in short supply and thus pro
                            longs repair times. The air data senmr tool is perhaps the most extreme
                            example in that there are only two such tools Army-wide. In addition,
                            not all battalions have obtained the “break-out” boxes used to augment
                            the fault detection system.

-
Maintenance Weaknesses      While the Apache’s low availability rates indicate problems with unit-
                            level maintenance, these low rates also indicate weaknesses in
Raise Questions About       intermediate-level maintenance. Intermediate maintenance is essential
Intermediate-Level          to aircraft availability because repair capabilities determine the availa-
Capabilities                bility of critical components. According to the Marine Corps, interme
                            diate maintenance personnel mu% be able to fur high-failure components
                            to avoid heavy dependence on the supply system, and they must repair
                            components within 72 hours to be considered responsive. The Marines
                            have the capability to diagnose and repair circuit boards at the interme-
                            diate level. Many of the Apache’s key components experiencing high
                            failures have not been reparable at the intermediate level, and tum-
                            around times for the repair of black boxes can be weeks. In addition,
                            personnel from several Apache battalions informed us that they do not
                            rely on intermediate maintenance becauseits repairs tend to take longer



                            Page49                                          GAO/PJSlAD!#~AprbcRtllcoptn




    I-     ,-   .- .- .,-                                                                           .,-     _-
                                                                                              --,         ---..   --
                             and its personnel are less experienced. The ability of intermediate main-
                             tenance personnel to quickly repair components has not been stressed as
                             much as that of unit-level maintenance personnel in exercises because
                             exercises are short enough that sufficient spares can be obtained Lo min-
                             imize the need for repairs.


                             The Army has come to rely on contractors in all three levels of Apache
Army Is Relying              maintenanr~. ContracLor technicians regulariy assist unit and in~erme-
Increasingly on              diate maintenance personnel. While this a~~isLanccwas originally
Contractor As&tame           intended for newly formed units, these technicians have becomeessen-
                             tial to maintenance operations and have been retained. Several battal-
                             ions actually contract out some unit-level maintenance, and the Army
                             has proposed expanding this practice as a near-term solution Lo the
                             manpower shortfall. The Apache’s maintenance concept now includes
                             contractor-run repair facilities -located near fielded battalions-to
                             handle many of the ctectmnic component repairs originally intended for
                             intermediate maintenance. The Army is considering a plan LOfield an
                             additional facility in West Germany to repair airframe components. In
                             addition, while the Army was originally intended to have taken over all
                             depot-level maintenance at this stage in the program, contractors still
                             perform most of this maintenance.


Contractors Assist in Unit   Field service representatives from the prime contractor and the major
                             SubconLracLors are located at or near Apache battalions and assist in
and Intermediate             troubleshooting failures on the aircraft, advise Army personnel on main-
Maintenance                  tenance procedures, and help obtain replacement parts. In general, how-
                             ever, they do not directly perform maintenance. These individuals
                             regularly provide such assistance during normal operations as well as
                             during exercises. Battalions receive similar assistance from Army tech-
                             nicians, referred to as “logistics assistance representatives.” The field
                             service representatives assist unit-level personnel with the aircraft itself
                             and intermediate-level personnel with the components, particularly
                             those that are served by the electronic test facilities.

                             AL some locations, the Army employs service contractors that actually
                             perform unit- and intermediate-level mainLenance. U.S. Army-Europe
                             provides 5 man-years of ctintracted unit-level maintenance to each of its
                             Apache locations (wine of which serve more than one battalion). The
                             Army has proposed making this kind of support available to all U.S. bat-
                             talions to boost maintenance capabilities until manpower levels can be
                             increased. In addition, a contractor that was brought in to help repair
                        Apaches damaged in the May 1989 Fort Hood storm has been retained to
                        augment Army intermediate maintenance personnel in performing rou-
                        tine tasks.


Contractor-Run Depots   Contractors’ special repair activities. originally fielded to alleviate pro-
                        dmtion problems with the targeting and night vision systems, have
Perform Component       become integral to the maintenance support of the Apache. Although
Repairsin the Field     these activities are considered depot-level, they carry much of the work
                        load originally intended for the Army’s intermediate-level electronic test
                        facilities and repair shops. Currently there are four of these facilities:
                        one located in West Germany and three located in the vicinities of Fort
                        Hood, Texas; Fort Rucker. Alabama; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
                        Martin Marietta fielded the four facilities and operates them at the
                        Army’s expense. In fiscal year 1989. the Army provided $13.5 million
                        for the operation of the special repair activities.

                        The special repair activity originated as a production support facility
                        established at the Apache production complex in Mesa, Arizona. Martin
                        Marietta used the facility to correct problems with targeting system and
                        night vision system components caused by improper installation tech-
                        niques Over time, Martin Marietta’s main facility in Orlando, Florida,
                        could not repair components fast enough to meet the high volume of
                        demand. The contractor and the Army agreed that the demand for
                        spares could best be met by special repair activities modeled after the
                        production support facility.

                        The special repair activities repair the targeting and night vision sensor
                        components using some special equipment, elements of the electronic
                        test facility, and trained engineers who rely on wiring diagrams and
                        individual testers. Using these methods, they can repair circuit cards
                        and other items below the major component level. The facilities also
                        modify and upgrade targeting system and night vision system circuit
                        boards for the Army. All of the work performed by these facilities is
                        considered depot-level work; however, they do perform the board repair
                        function originally intended for the Xrmy’s intermediate test facilities,
                        and they test and repair a sizable portion of the components that the
                        Army facility is capable of handling For example, in 1989, Fort Hood’s
                        test facilities sent 47 percent of their sensor components to the con-
                        tractor repair activities, and battalion personnel bypassed the facilities
                        altogether in sending 26 percent of all components directly to the con-
                        tractor activities.



                        Page 5 1                                     GAO/‘MX4B~ZS4   Apache   Heiimpca




     ,. -. -..                     ..
                           According to the Army, the special repair activities have been successful
                           because they are cheaper and faster than the main production facility
                           and they have greatly improved the availabtiity of se~lsorcomponents.
                           The Army has recently started allowing Apache units to exchange com-
                           ponents directly with the contractor facilities, a policy that it believes
                           has increased aircraft availability. The Army is also considering a plan
                           to establish an additional special repair activity, this time with
                           McDonnell Douglas, to repair mechanical and other electronic compo-
                           nents on the airframe. Army officials told us that they would like to run
                           the repair activities with Army personnel, but such staffing would be
                           difficult because they would have to get the personnel authorized and
                           then provide them with career paths so that the Army could retain their
                           expertise.


Transition to Army Depot   The Army had originally planned to assume depot maintenance in fiscal
                           year 1988, with the Sacramento Army Depot handling the targeting and
Support Has Slipped        night vision sensor components and the Corpus Christi Army Depot han-
                           dling airframe and engine components. However, the depoti have not
                           assumed Apache repairs, and most depot-ievel maintenance is still per-
                           formed by contractors. Becauseof the initial costs and the sophistication
                           involved, the depot repair of most major electronic comwnents will
                           remain with the contractors.

                           The Army abandoned its plans to take over the depot repair of major
                           electronic components based on a study conducted by the Apache pro
                           gram manager. The study showed that, while Army and contractor oper-
                           ating costs were about equal for repairing the targeting and night vision
                           sensor components, the greater expertise of the contractor personnel
                           and the necessity for the Army to initially invest in expensive test
                           equipment made it more reasonable to continue using contractor depots
                           to support those components, The study further recommended that all
                           major airframe electrical components stay under contractor depot sup
                           port for the same reasons. The study did recommend that the airframe
                           repair convert to Army depots as planned in f&al year 1988. However,
                           according to program officials, funds have not been sufficient to
                           purchase the repair specifications and the required tooling, and the
                           transition has slipped until fiscal year 1991.




                           Page   52




                                                                 .   .._
Army Is Taking
Several Actions to
Improve Maintenance
Capabilities
-._. _ .--.-   -
                   .---_                            .   -,,       -._.,,   _- ,--. ---   -..,




                      will still be unable to test and repair circuit boards. The Army has a&
                      direded maintenance units not to bypass the electronic test facilities i
                      forwarding electronic components for repair.

                      In addition to these anions, we believe that the Apache can benefit su
                      stantiahy from the Ies~~ns learned by the other services. The other ser
                      vices fly their aircraft significantly more hours and devote many man
                      people to their suppon. In our April 1990 testimony, we recommender
                      chat MD apply such ercperience to the Apache. DODresponded that a
                      system already exists to document 1~son.s learned by the services. Ho
                      ever, given the apparent wide disparity between how the other servic
                      operate and support their aircraft and how the Army operates and su
                      ports the Apache and On the basis of our discussions with Apache ma:
                      tenance personnel, we do not believe that the Apache has benefited fr
                      the experiences of the other services.




                      page54
          .,.,    -
                             ,,   -.                         ._-._-   ., ..-

                 Chapter 6

                 Army’s Ability to Support the Apache in-
                 SustainedCombat OperationsIs Questionable
                                                                                       -
                                       The Apache will face great logistical suppc~rt clcman& in high-intensity
                                       combat. The Apache has tlxccllent war-fightjn~ pcrtcntial, but tfic
                                       Army’s ability to provide sustained logistical support is ea.sential to
                                       taking advantage of this potential. The Army has not operationally
                                       tested the basic combat unit-the battalion-under conditions that
                                       approximate sustained combat. The Army has conduct& one battalion-
                                       sized test under less strenuous conditions and found the Apache’s avail-
                                       ability to be insufficient despite substantial contractor suppon and
                                       other favorable test co;lditions. While the Apache’s operations in
                                       Panama involved a unit smaller than a battalion, tht? operations did
                                       indicate the substantial rtwmrces required to support the helicopter in
                                       combat. The Apache’s participation in Operation ‘*Desert Shield” may
                                       provide additional insights into trombat demands.

                                                  ll____-~                                 _.-__-   --   --.




                                       Army combat tactics call for 15 of the 18 2qxKhcs in a battalion to tly
                 Gombat Operations     missions at one timr -an availability rate of 83 percent. According to
                 Will Place Greater    Army tactics, the battalion will USCthree primary methods of employ-
                 Demands on Apache     ment in combat-continuous attack, phased employment. and maximurr
                                       destruction. ALI three call for 15 Apaches. For cxamplc, the continuous
                 Availability and      attack tactic calls for one cc#mpanyof five Apaches to be cnqgcd in
                 SUPport               battle, a second company to be en route to rrticve the first, and a third
                                       company to be rearming and refueling.

                                       At the same time that the Army needs a higher availability rate for
                                       combat, it expects to fly each Apache at a wartime rate of about 4 hours
                                       a day. This rate cornpart’s with the peacetime average of about half an
                                       hour per day C12.9 hours per month). Sot only would availability bc
                                       expected to drop due to the increased maintenance and logistical burden
                                       of greater flying hours, it would be further degraded by the frequent
                                       weapons firing and battle damage not experienced in peacetime.

                                       To some extent. the increased work Ioad during combat would be offset
                                       by other factors. For example, maintenance personnd would become
                                       dedicated to maintenance (except in performing such tasks as guard
                                       duty) and would thus be more productive than they would be tn peace-
                                       time. In addition, the standards for considering an aircraft ffyable in
                                       peacetime may be relaxed during combat. Also, in the long term, it may
                                       be possible to increase the production of critical spare parts. However,
                                       these gains do not appear to be sufficient to make up for the great dis-
                                       parity between what the Army has been capable of supporting during
 -   .I

                                       peacetime and the strenuous demands of combat..at least not in the near
                                       term



:’
                       Someof the factors limiting the Apache’s availability in pawtime could
Shortfalls in Apache   be magnified in combat. Kot only would limitations such aa the small
Logistical Support     maintenance organization and diagnostic equipment weaknesses become
Could Become More      more pronounced, but peacetime amenities such as contractor support
                       and dedicated hangars could be lost.
Prono#w-wedin Combat
                       As previously discussed, a battalion organization of 264 people is too
                       small to maintain the Apache. In addition to being short of maintenance
                       personnel. this organization provides only one air crew per aircraft,
                       which msv not be sufficient to sustain the Apache’s combat flying hour
                       rate and its 24hour operations. Availability would improve d battalions
                       were staffed with the 366 people called for by the Army’s manpower
                       analysis for the Apache. However. even staffing at this level would
                       likely be insufficient because the manpower analysis’ a5umptions for a
                       combat flying-hour rate of 2.1 hours per day and a maintenance man
                       hour burden of about 7 hours per flight hour are significantly under-
                       stated. The Marine Corps uses a different approach in organizing for
                       combat; according to Marine Corps officials, the service bases the sizeof
                       its aviation organizations on realistic estimates of combat flying hours
                       and maintenance man-hours and then staffs at the N-percent level for
                       peacetime. In effect. the Marine Corps star& with the combat require-
                       ment and scaIes it down for peacetrme. The Army seems to reverse this
                       process for the Apache: it has structured a peacetime organization that
                       will have to be redefined for combat.

                       The Electro;Uc lQuipment Test Facility may becamea bottleneck during
                       combat because of the much greater volume of component repairs it will
                       face, along with its having to move more often during combat-
                       According to an Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity study, the
                       Army would need eight times as many electronic test facilities as are
                       currently planned to meet the wartime work load. Au additional concern
                       is the facility’s mobility. The test facility will be required to move
                       during combat to keep it as close as possibIe to the Apaches it serves. In
                       peacetime, the facility normally operates from fixed locations. Although
                       data on how long it takes to relocate the facility is sparse because it has
                       not been operationally tested, the facility has experienced problems
                       returning to service after relocating becauseits sophisticated equipment
                       is very sensitive to moving.

                       The Army’s increasing reliance on contractor support to alleviate the
                       Apache’s support problems during peacetime may not prove to be a




                       Page   56
                    workable solution during combat. The Army recognizes that using ser-
                    vice contractors to perform unit4evel maintenance is a temporary solu-
                    tion until additional Army personnel can be assigned. However, the
                    Army’s reliance on contractor technical personnel for expert assistance
                    such aa troubltrshooting may not be readily assumable by Army
                    personnel.

                    A longer term concern is the Army’s dependence on contractor-run
                    depot facilities COrepair critical components near the active units. The
                    Army plans to expand its use of these facilities and has recently allowed
                    units to exchange components directly with them. Although these facili-
                    ties play a vital role in supporting the Apache in peacetime, their practi-
                    cality and mobility in high-intensity combat have yet to be determined.
                    According to a study commissioned by the Army, a maintenance concept
                    that includes the use of these facilities can work if they are located in
                    rear areas and if the Army dedicates a transponatiop system to moving
                    components from the facilities to the combat units. While the contractor
                    facilities are currently located near the Apache battalions, Army
                    Regulation 750-l states that civilian personnel cannot be permanently
                    located in the corps area or closer during combat. The Army is studying
                    ways to make special repair activities practical for use in combat, such
                    as operatiny the facilities with Army personnel rather than <ontractors.


                    The Army has not operationally tested the Apache battalion under con-
The Army Has Not    ditions that approximate sustained combat. Testing under such condi-
Tested the Apache   tions, which will entail a high number of flying hours, frequent weapons
Under Combat-       firing, and realistic maintenance and supply resources, is essential to
                    determining the Apache’s aggregate logistics demands in terms of parts,
Representative      repairs, people, and organizational structure. Such testing is also essen-
Conditions          tial to determining the Army’s ability to meet these demands. Army
                    logistics officials informed us that they have previously proposed a prr,
                    gram to fly the Apaches at high rates to illuminate some of these issues,
                    but the program has not been funded.

                    The only operational test conducted for the Apache was the 1981 test
                    that preceded the production decision. That test involved three Apaches
                    and was substantially supported by contractor personnel. Several
                    Apache tests have since been held, but none are considered “opera-
                    tional” -that is, none approximated combat conditions. Only the 1986
                    Attack Helicopter Battalion Training Validation tested a battalion; all
                    the other tests were conducted with smaller units, such as a company.
                    The 1986 test was conducted with the first fielded combat battalion, but


                    Page 57                                      GAO/NSIAD!RCt!M   Apache Heucopta
its realism was limited by ( 1) having 22 Apaches rather than 18,
(2) flying few hours relative to the numbers expected to be flown during
combat. (3) relying on ex-tensive contractor suppmt. and (4) using new
Apaches that had not accumulated enough hours to require phase
maintenance.

Despite these limitations, the test revealed that, although the Apache
was superior to its predecessor, it suffered from reliability problems
with its targeting sight and its 30-nun gun and from inadequate logis-
tical support. The test drew two other significant conclusions. First, the
battalion organization did not provide adequate resources to allow the
unit to perform operations and maintenance in an operational environ-
ment. Second, even under favorable operating conditions, the battalion
achieved an availability rate of 73 percent (computed by combining
fully-mission-capable and partially-mission-capable times), which was
insufficient to meet the wartime requirement to have 15 of 18 Apaches
ready for combat. On the basis of the test, the Xrmy Operationai Test
 and Evaluation Agency made the foilowing comments in 1987:

Based upon what has transpired              todatc    wtth the fieidtngof     the AH-64A    (ApacheI.                    ...
there appear to be threr areas left unresolved               with respect   to the tactical  employ-
ment of the Attack         Helicopter  Hattalion:     tactics and doctrine.     force structure, and
sustainability.      Given   the quantum       leap In con-mat capability the AH-64A will pro-
vide the Army,        and the relative     consequencesof       our failure  to capitalize ori this
capabrlity.     planrung    to resolve  tires- ISSU- should bek,.n immediately.


CJfEA [the Operatronal             Test and Evaluation           Agency]      recommends     that the US Army
Avration     Center inrtrate        planning      toconduct        some form of an FDT&E            [Force Devet-
opment     Test and Experimentation]                that will finally       lay these issues to rest and also
address    the broad rangeof aviation issues that were not resolved                           by the AHBTV
[Attack    Helicopter       Dattalion     Training      Validation      test]. As rt stands today, the Army
has an O&Cl lorganizational             and O~KitiOnall            concept and force structure           that it is
highly dependent          upon for war pianning             that has yet to undergo         realistic     testing   in
an operational        environment.        against     the known        and postulated     Threat.


Follow-c>n operational testing has yet to be conducted, and the
Operational Test and Evaluation Agency’s comments are as germane
today as they were 3 years ago.

In our April 1990 testimony, we recommended that such an operational
test be conducted with at least a battalion-sized unit to illuminate the
logistical support demands of combat operations and the Army’s ability
to meet these demands. While DOD agreed that proposed corrective
8




                                __.-.             ---
                              ;Icticms and the logistical support structure need to be operationalty ver-
                              ifirc!. tt did not agr~ that an operationat test was needed. stating that
                              thy results of such ii large-scale test of a battalion would not justify its
                              ~~xpww. WNJbditwts that evaluating the normal operations of Apache
                              units and thoscbparticipating in cxercw such as HEF\MXHis a better
                              ;i[)[>rIJitc*hhYiUI%’ data frownmultiple Units would be used.




                               F(I~ c*samplcb.51sbatralicjns participated in the 1990 HEW:{CEH   rxercise,
                               rhlring lvhich they tlt>w at a fairly high flying-hour rate and achieved a
                               ~r~ll-mlssir)n-cap~~bi~, rate of about 6.5 percent. Ilo~vrr. the battaiions
                               p4ormcd a lot of prtl\*cLntivc maintenance in advance. fired no
                               \vc;lpons, and &nefitcd from Army and contractor personnel who
                               c&taint4 parts and d<alivpred them to the battalions outside the normal
                               srlpply system. X~W. thr$ battalions flew for only about 2 %-eks-not
                               long enough. according to Army officials, to exercise the repair capabili-
                               tics of the intt*rmtbdiatc~-levelmaintenance units. Apaches have achieved
                               high fllll~-mission-~ap;lblc rates during previous HE~KC;EH exercises, yet
                               t htb Apache’s prt~blt~msbvereserious enough to warrant tht formation of
                               t hcbApache Action Ttram and the Tiger Team. !Ve also &se-ed an exer-
                               cise with nine Apaches at the Sational Training Center at Fort Irwin,
                               California. Thy exercise la%ed about 2 reeks, and battalion personnel
                               informed us that they had brought their best aircraft and prepared them
                               flJr t hc exerciSe. Only two aircraft were used for firing weapons, and
                               SLhollr c.rmlmercial express service was provided for replacement parts.

                             __-“, - _ _~~   ~---.--__---
                               Ah tlr )I1~91’ qt>ratlon “Just Cause” in Panama involved less rhan a bat-
        Operation “Just        tal~cm (I[ .-\[JWtWS. it indicated both the performance strengths of the
        Cause” Highlights      .Apac~ht~ anti thtl high concentration of resources that will be neededTV
        Logistical Support     ~r~jqtrrt the airc.raft in combat-a concentration of resources currently
                               not normally avaIlablt~ to Apache battalions. The Apache’s experience in
        Challenges             I’anamn also mdicatcs the difficulties the Army may face if it has to




    -
                                           quickly deploy the helicopter to a remote combat location where no
                                           maintenance and supply structure is in place. Deployment of the Apache
                                           in such locations may become more likely in the future. as suggested by
                                           Operation “Desert Shield” in Saudi Arabia. Depending on the number of
                                           helicopters and the intensity Ieve: involved, operations in Saudi Arabia
                                           could shed light on the Apache’s logistical support demands in combat
                                           and the means ntyessary to meet the demands.

                                           Initially, six Apaches were sent to farmma, and they were later rein-
                                           forced by five more. Basically, this was a company-sized operation, as
                                           no more than four or five Apaches flew missions at any one time.
                                           According to the Army, the Apaches were able to perform assigned mb+
                                           sions successfully. The helicopter demonstrated its ability to deliver
                                           firepower accurately from long ranges (primarily during the day), to
                                           conduct missions at night, and to withstand hits from small arms ground
                                           fire.

                                           This performance was made possible by extraordinary logistical support
                                           conditions. For instance, (1) spare parts were taken from contractor pro
                                           duction lines and from other Apaches, and (2) the Apaches were based
                                           in an Air Force hangar, and Air Force maintenance personnei and equip
                                           ment were instrumental in repairing battle damage. The Array mainte-
                                           nance personnel sent to Panama did not have the sheet metal repair
                                           manuals, tools, or training to repair the battle damage from small arms
                                           fire. They had to rely on the Air Force personnel to repair the damage
                                            and stated that they could not have continued to fight with those air-
                                           craft had the Air Force not repaired the battle damage overnight.
                                           According to DOD. the extraordinary support measures were necessary
                                            because (1) the entire Army support community was not involved in
                                            planning for the operation in order to ensure security and the element of
                                            surprise and (2) the roles and missions of the Apache expanded beyond
                                            what was planned. DOD believes that had the Air Force not assisted the
                                            Army, Army personnel could have repaired the Apaches in the same
                                            time frame.

                                           The Apache encountered many of the sat-re maintenance and spare parts
                                           problems in Panama that it had experienced-in the United Staies,
                                           including problems with the targeting and night vision sensors, the
                                           30-mm gun, the main rotor blade, and the tail rotor swashplate. Mainte-
                                           nance of these components consisted mainly of replacing them and
                                           sending the defective parts back to the United States. Becauseof the
                                           30-mm gun’s history of jamming, the Apache company commander
                                           chose to limit the number of 30-mm rounds to 300, even though the




         .--               ,_-



-.   -         II.   --.         _..   -
                                                                                           -.   .   .
Apache can hold 1,200 rounds. In addition, early in the operation, rainy
and humid conditions caused moisture buildup in electronic components.
Had these conditions not eased. the Apache might not have been able to
operate as needed. The first mission of the operation illustrated the
impact of reliability problems: one of the two Apaches assigned to the
mission akxted before takeoff because of a hydraulics problem, while
the second Apache, after completing its assigned mission, had an oppor-
tunity to provide additional mission support but was unable to because
of an electronics failure.
_Chapter6

Key ProblemsOriginakd Early in the Program

                                                                     -
                         While the problems affecting tho Apache’s availability, reliability, and
                         maintainability have become manifest over the past 2 years, to a large
                         extent they originated much earlier in the Apache’s acquisition. Because
                         of narrowly defined performance measurements and other Limitations,
                         tests smc’c 1931 have not captured the problems experienced by combat
                         units in the field. Thus. despite the Apache’s current problems, the
                         Army ha determined that the helicopter has met or nearly met relia-
                         bility. maintainability. and av’alttbility requirements in tessting.Army
                         test and I~IX~ILUI~I~;t#ncies warned of serious logistical support
                         problems tW’~lret hcspruduc,tion decision was made, yet these very
                         prohlem~ arIBhurting flrlly-mission-~apablc rates today. Despite known
                         prr)t)lrms, the Ipachc proctw+d to full-rate production without further
                         c)~)f*ratir)naltesting or drcisitm pomts. The pcrsistcnce of basic logistical
                         sr1ppc1r-tproblems after the bulk of production has bcvn completed sug-
                         gests that product ion tcwlkpriority over logistical supportability.


                         Although the Apache is experiencing low fully-mission-capable rates in
Performance as           the field, in testing the Army determined that the Apache had met or
Measured During          nearly met its design requirements for reliability. maintainability, and
Testing Failed to        availability. This seeming contradiction exists because many of the fac-
                         tars affecting the Apache’s performance in the field were not captured
Capture Eventual         by performance mcasrlrrmcnts during testing. Had the Army established
Field Problems           more operationally realistic requirements for Apache reliability, main-
                         tainability, and availability and assessedperformance against these
                         requirements. the shortcoming. rrf the helicopter and the Army’s sup-
                         prt capabilities would have been more evident. The Army h;a acknowl-
                         edged the limitations of the -Apache’s reliability, availability, and
                         maintainability requirements. In 1982, it issued a regulation mandating
                         the use of more comprehensive operational requirements for new sys-
                         tems. However, the Apache’s requirements have not been redefined in
                         these operational terms, and pcrformancc is still measured against the
                         limited requirements.


Apache Reliability Has   The Apache’s reasonably good reliability during testing can be attrib-
                         uted to how narrowly the Army measured reliability. There are two
Eken Narrowly Measured   main Apache rebabibty requirements: mission reliability and system
                         reliability. Slission reliability is a measure of the frequency of failures
                         that are significant enough to impair the performance of a mission.
                         System reliability is a measure of all failures, regardless of their impact
                         on missions; system reliability is thus a gauge of the aircraft’s main-
                         nance burden. The Army has used narrow measurements in determining
                      the Apache’s mission reliability and system reliability: these measure
                      ments have not proven meaningful in forecasting how often the heii-
                      copter will break down or how many maintenance actions it will require
                      under field conditions. The Army has computed other measurements
                      that more meaningfully and accurately depict the seriousness of the
                      Apache’s reliability problems. However, there are no standards by
                      which to judge such measurements because the Apacne’s requirements
                      are not defined in these terms.

                      The Apache has a mission reliability requirement of 19.6 mean hours
                      between failures, against which the Army measures performance in
                      terms of inherent hardware mission failures. As defined, this measure-
                      ment includes only failures that (1) are caused by hardware, (2) occur in
                      flight, and (3) cause a mission to be aborted. Excluded are failures that
                      occur before missions, those that degrade mission capability but do not
                      result in an abort, and those caused by maintenance or crew error. In
                      addition, mission reliability excludes the reliability of the 30-nun gun
                      system. In effect, inherent hardware mission reliability excludes most
                      failures that affect mission capabilities. Other more meaningful mea-
                      sures of mission reliability exist, and these show the Apache’s reliability
                      to be much lower than inherent hardware reliability. One such measure-
                      ment is “operational reliability,” which measures all failures during a
                      mission, regardless of cause, that result in either a mission abort or the
                      degradation of a mission-essential function. Another measure is the
                      “mean time between essential maintenance events or actions,” which
                      records how often mission-essential equipment requires corrective main-
                      tenance, regardless of whether an actual mission is being conducted.
                      Table 6.1 compares the Apache’s mission reiiability in testing using
                      these different measures.




                      Page       83




- -.   -   ., . _..   _      .
T&h 6.1: Apncha Mlrslocr RaliabHO a#
Ma8rurad During Tertlng                Mean    hours between failures
                                       _._~-- -. ~-.- .- ...~.           --- -.---                                          .--
                                                                                            InhemM                                          ES-W
                                                                                           hardwarn           OpWdC4l~l                 rnalnlm~nco
                                                                                            rell~bMty
                                                                                     . . . ..--   ...-. .--     rW&ilily
                                                                                                               ---__~_c-__                      avent
                                       Operational Test II
                                          rJuly-Aug 1981)                                    -. ..L!?--.-.    -.-. ---A-          .-.-. --           22
                                       Atra& Hiii~&&Battai~on
                                          Trammg Valldatvm
                                          Tt?t (Apr .Juiy 1986)                                    18.:                    51       -        .- __...-25
                                       &lsti-.s     Evakuatlon Test
                                          (May~.. 1986dan
                                                  -.. _~- - 1968)         -._I             .~~-.~ 17--_-.
                                                                                                     1            --.--~ 64                    22
                                                                                                                                  _LI____._______
                                       F&w.07        Trammg         ‘.
                                          ‘LMldatm Test
                                         (July 1905May
                                               _ __-.  19?7)                          ._         .-250
                                                                                                    - -_        ---.       --62 ---_-._-             24
                                       r~$.~+iour *km~r.[y~Te&
                                         (Sept 1968 Feb 1989)                                      16 a                    55                        24


                                       Except in the maturity test, Apache mission reliability, as meuured by
                                       inherent hardware reliability, fared well against the requirement. The
                                       requirement itself was lower during earlier tests to account for the air-
                                       craft’s immaturity: it was set at 17 hours between failures for the opera-
                                       tional test, f 8.5 hours for subsequent tests up to maturity, and
                                        19.5 hours for the maturity test and beyond. The Follow-on Training
                                       Validation Test inllicated that the Apache had substantiaily exceeded
                                       the reliability exwctations for the mature aircraft.

                                       This performance is at odds with the Apache’s reliability and mainte-
                                       nance work load as experienced by combat units in the field. While some
                                       of this divergence can be attributed to the artificialities of testing (such
                                       as testing’s use of contractor support and its lack of phase mainte-
                                       nance), it is clear that most of the failures that affect mission capabili-
                                       ties and rquirc corrective maintenance did not fall within the bounds of
                                       inherent hardware reliability and were thus excluded. The other mea-
                                       sures-operational reliability and mean time between essential main&-
                                       nance events-more accurately correspond with Apache reliability as it
                                       affects fully-mission-capable rates and with our discussions with main-
                                       tenance personnel at the Apache battalions. However, the Army has not
                                       established standards for these measures, leaving no baseline to judge
                                       them against.

                                       The Apache has also performed well against its system reliability
                                       requirement as measured in testing. The Apache has consistently
                                       exceeded the system reliability requirement of 2.8 hours between fail-
                                       ures for the mature aircraft. As with mission reliability, however, the
__l_____--l_~                     ~..--...-_~      .~_..    ~.~   .-...   .---      _"_.   -.__-   -   -~   _"_   -__-____I_


                        Army test data hits ShoWl tllilt         t hc :\p;l~‘tw rwt~ds 5 l)r fww     majnte-
Maintenance Man-Hours
                        nanw n,rm-hours per flight horlr--\5-t*il             Gttiin the nquiremrnt     of 8 to
Have Been Understated    13 man-hours.     [Iowevtrr,     this mcasrircm~nt. of thcb number of mainte-
                        nancr man-hours        conflicts with the largr maintwance             work load being
                        rxwrienced      at Xpac.hc battalions       and wntrxsts        with the much higher
                        maintenance      mar-hours       reported by the other services on their tactical
                        aircraft.   The recorded number of maintrnancc               man-hours appears
                        unrealistically    low because thra Army narrowly              defines what maintr-
                        nance man-hnws         ;lr(’ vorlntctl and htuausv it,s man-hour data is
                        incomplete.

                        Maintenance man-hours              expcndcd              on thp Xpx+e,              according          to test data,
                        are shown m tablr 6.3.




                        Page 66
Maintenance    man-holi!-s rvrvrdcd       for the Apache are also much lower
than estimates of n-hat the other        services expend on their aircraft and
what expert contracttlr    [xrsonncl      t:xpend on the Apachg: at the Army’s
aviation school. Table: ti.3 sho\vs     the number of direct mamtenance       man-
h(JUrS espcnded   for t hv ur.it and    intcrmediat:     maintenance of several
liavy and ?.Iarine C’orps ;urc:r;lft   tir;rinp, fiscal ycbar 1WI




Page i3ii                                         GAO ‘NSlAD9WZ94   Apache   HeUcopter
-. _---- ._,
                                                                                                       2.
                                                                                                                                                                      _-
                                                             ._
1-_                                                                                                                         .d
                                                                                                                                 -_
                                                 _       .                                                                                                  ~-   .:
              .-        --__                 -                                                                                        -.-   .   ..   --..
                                                                                                                        .
                                 ---A                :
                        -..---          _-                   .-~_




                                                                                                  ~-
                                                                    --




                                                                         tasks is offse;Cf by the cffir:lency    of the highly skilled omtractor work
                                                                         f(jrcc, whose pcrsonnci      havfb :: n average of about I4 years’ experience.

                                                                         In addition to the problems rjf the narrow definition.              mamtenancu man-
                                                                         hour data ccjllec~tcti during .Apatrht testing is not complete 1 1) because
                                                                         phasr, maintenancta--a            major source of mamtenance dr)wntime-was
                                                                         not conducted and cZ:!) becauw contractors              helped mamtain the .Apdchc.
                                                                         Sjmllarly.     data ccdktted at selected combat battalions in the field is
                                                                         incomplete      bc-~arr.se It uxcl~dts hollrs spent c;n schtvluled maintenance
                                                                         and dr~s not capturcA 31 of the rime spent on troub!eshooting                  failures.
                                                                         l’htb 6th (~‘avalry llrl~ad<! Lit FOIT JIotd has prr@osed that the partial
                                                                         data. t:oilert Icon rbfi’c,rt s t)cBu:g l.ontlucted at se~‘cral battalions   be con.soli-
                                                                         cldteti Into a mot-c cr,rnplt>tc i*ffort at one battalion. However. program
                                                                         offir pals Infi,rm4       ii-. I hat, b~caust: of funding constraints.     data collec-
                                                                         tmn ~~t’fc~rts w~~rld ?A-.‘- ro htb r?tfuccd. and the Fort tIiwd prop+sal could
                                                                          7ot t,ls il,111dt3l.

      ______--___--~-                            I_-~~ __.___~~~......                                                                  ___I_
                                                                         ‘JINX :\pwc.he’ci ava~la!~ility       as measured during testing has been higher
      Availability Has Been
                                                                         rhan !‘l~li\--ml~sirln-(.-~p;iblr~ rates in the field because C1) test results were
      Higher During Testlnp,                                             nic;L‘,Iir~~d against :t:r .ipar,htb‘s less stringent design requirement       for
                                                                         dviiiliit~~lir~ and ’ 2 z i~~~~~lliihtllt~  httnefited from favoratle test conditions.
    -_
’ . _-
.     .C
    .. .
         .
             4

. 1 ,.’
  ,. ‘,
   ,.. r-
     ;mi
; _. t
t. \.,
                 -                                  --A-____                  -

                                          de&ran      until sesevt~d concerns could be resolved. including the question-
                                          able ability to support the Apache given the undemonstratcci                   perform-
                                          zulce of Lhc fault detection      system and the automatic           test station.1 In
                                          lWS.7. following     the production     decision, we reported that (1) the fault
                                          detection system had not con<lusisc\y            demnnstrated       its ability to reli-
                                          ably isolate faults without       rxperiencing     the high false alarm ra&s found
                                          on of her built-in systems and ( 2 1 the test station’s ability to operate
                                          practically     and reliab ty in a field environment was undemonstrated.                 We
                                          recommended        that the Secretary     not fund higher production           rates
                                          before wtlghing       the progrrss made on these and other issues and that
                                          the test station bc r)~ratic:nally-tc?;tcut       before it-s ficidtig.2

                                          The Xrmy’s cvahlation       ;~#nc~s havoc rzitcrated       their concerns over the
                                          performance     of thr fault dctcctron system. the test facility, the targeting
                                          sensor, the g!lln system. and other problems. In fact, since the initial pro-
                                          ductIon dt+4on.      thr Army Llarcn~l Systems Analysis Activity           has for-
                                          rnally retrommi~ndt~ri against subscqucnt         releases of more Apaches to the
                                          field tiur co problems    wlrh loglst ical support. rehability,     and other con-
                                          urns. The .\cti\,ity    was overruled      by higher Army officials in each case,
                                          anti fielding contmucd      &spite   tilt’ lmsolved problems.

                                                                                  _   ._   .   __
_--   --.--.-~   ----I       -__    _I-




                                          ther operational      Wsting after the decision and proccedcd tlj :iigh produc-
 Fielding                Problems         tion rates tvithout    ;tny ma,jor I~C~ISIO~I   points to reassert the progress
                                          made in resolving k:y prob!erns. Subsequently, the program faced large
                                                                                                                                        .‘/. -.
                                          demands stemming         from high prctiuction       rates and frequelit. design                     --L
                                          changes witile at thtr wrne time k;?:l>wn hgistical support problems went
                                                                                                                                                          -?
                                          unresolved.    LVhiit; it would bc unrez;onable         to expect that all potenti?\
                                          fielding problems c0uL1 be identified          and resolved ahead of time, the
                                          presence of prevl~iustj’     identified    support problems during fielding indi-
                                          cates that a higher l>riority W;LC; ;J’Xed       on production    than on fielding a
                                          suppon;rblt~   system.


                                                                                                                                                         --

                                                                                                                                                     1
                                                                                            i




        .--I-       -




changes to the Apache during production.   The design instability had a
ripple effect on !@stical support. as support procedures.  equipment,
and spares had to be adjusted to accommodate new component
configurations.

The magnitude       of the Apache’s fielding pmbiems might have been less-
ened if the Army had kept the system in low-rate production,         followed
by additional    testing and a major decision point to verify that problems
had been corrected before beginning full production.       Although weapon
systems frequently       follow this strategy, the Apache did not, moving
directly  into fillI production    without another formal decision point after
~~32. ~rrny officials have stated that, in retrospect,    such an approach
would have bun mow reasonable but that at tht time, the need for the
system tn LWW ~>ff he t h rest V.X.Y seen AS nutweighing    its probkms.

L;tt~i~ an apprrtar.h could hav[> al.so providtd        the vehicle for the ~‘,rmy to
operatl~~nally    tess. the lr#ist~~al support items that were waived at the
production     decision. Although        thes.e items-and,    in es.sence. the maince-
nance UJRWpt-Were’          required to be operationally        tcstcd a!! a condition
of the waiver, they have not undergone such testing. For example,
neither the &ctrorlic       test facility    nfJr the Z@mm gun hate successfuhy
undergone operationa          te:Jing. Such testing w;is ulanned for the test
facilit;, in 19FM but was never conducted: the Army is currently                consid-
ermg a propma! to forgt~ this testing altogether.

The Army had j,lannccd lo c*onduct a fair ty comprehensive            force develop-
ment test fl,llr)wing    the production    decision. but this was subsoquerrrly
reduced in scope and became the l!%6 4ttack llcli~opter              13attalion
Training   L.al!dation test. .A!+ prcvirwsly     discussed, although this was the
most stgnificant     test of the Apache during prCJdli&Xl.        it W;?J of limited
realism. For example. during the tcrst, most of the r-ark assigned to the
elect1 onic test facility w;is instead paysed on to contractors;        only one
component     wa? vvircd       b? the facility.

The Apache’s ambitious             brrildup trJ a pro&action    I ate of 144 helit opters
per year cornp~unded            logistical  support problems. At one poirx. Apaches
uert~ bcmg produced iaster than the .&my otiuld provide pilots, and
many arrcraft sat at the production              facrlity awaitrng pilots. Contractors
WW-e unable to t.neet the competing demands of the product.inn line and
fif~ldrd   2irl~raft. As a rc5ult. fielded aircraft suffered from part5
sfl(~r?:**G..._I.and conr;,jr:tr)r special repair activities       were placed in the
fielri to f:;c+’ the shortages. In addition, maintenance              personnel from the
aviation school informed us that on previous aircraft programs, deliv-
cries had been slow enough in the early years to enable the school to
work out a maintenance program. However, the Apache arrived so
quickly in such large quantities that it outpaced its support system.
plpter   7       _---F-e-                   _~_-___
                            I_------_.----.,~~
Ckmclusions,Recommendations,and Matters for
(~ngressional Consideration




                                    (;MI   -SSlAD!U~294   Apache   HeUcop~r
To determine    the support required by the Apache in combat, as well as
the Army’s ability to provide that support, the Army will have to opera-
tionally test the basic Apache fighting unit and develop accurate infor-
mation on what it takes to support the unit in combat. DOD believes that
it can make such determinations            by evaluating      data from scheduled
exercises, rather than incurring          the expense of an operational          test. We
believe this approach to be of limited benefit because (1) exercises have
not been of sufficient   duration and .scop+zto approach sustained combat
and (2) previous evaluations       have not accurately            disclosed problems
b%cause of limitations    in reliability,      maintainability,       and availability      d
measurements      and Ma collection. The Army has not funded previous
proposals to fly Apaches at combat-like             flying-hour      levels or EOcollect
 impro-:ed maintenanc@ man-hour data. However. tbesc are the kinds of
efforts that must be undertaken            to adequately      define the pro?tem.
 Without them, the Amy runs the risk (If defining the solution before it
 defin,y the problem.

The Apache can further benefit from the experience              of :he other s.er-
vices regarding    data collection,    organizational structure    and manage-
ment, and other practices that enable them to get more from their
aircraft.  According     to DOD, a system already exists to document the les-
sons learned by the different       services, and no additional     action is neces-
sary to apply lessons learned to the Apache. However, given the
apparent    wide disparity     between how the other services owrate and
suppc~r-t their aircraft    and how the Army operates and supports the
Apache. we do not believe that the Apache has benefited from ttrc:
experiences    of the other services.

In the case of the Apache, logistical support concerns were raised but
did not carry enough weight to alter prclducllon and fieIdik$ plans. MI)::
must ensure that a similar situation          does not arise with the lungbow
improvement     srogram.      While this program may enhance the Apache’s
periormance,    it may ?!so ct\mplicatc        the .ipache’s logistical support
problems. We believe the effectivrness            qf current corrective  actions and
the iogistical supportability      of tile Longbow Apache must be clearly
demonstrated     before proceeding        with pl bductirbn of the I.:V#IOW
modification

Operationally     testing the Apache b;rtla.tiun and providing      the resources
necessary to adequately         support tb aircrafl will be cost!jr. Army pro-
posals tc! add as many ins 162 people t’J an Apache battalion III addition
to more cantiactor       support and hardware      improvements    in4 ILzate the
sipnificilnt  resources required. ‘I’hc challenge of &voting       resoaourm to
Page 75   4;AO. SSlhDW29-4   Apache   HeIlcopter
  their ~rsonncl      and or~arnzatronal     requirements,      managing resources,
  c:ollectlng key support information,         and relying on contractor support.
. Implement      the changes. emanating       from the above rsffor%. necessary to
  sustain desired peacetime and wartIme operations                for the Apache. Such
  changes should not be limited to inrremcntal            improvements       over current
  organizations     and support cqutpment         but should include more radical
  solutions if they can more fuily realize the Apache’s combat potential.
- Defer production       of the IAmgbow modification         until the Army clearly
  dcmonctratcs      that i 1 I it has overcome the logbxlcal support problems
  wxh the current Apache and (2) the Lq$ow                  ~111 not exacerbate        the
  Apache’s logistical support problems.
9 Develop operational        standards for Apache rehability,         maintainability,
  and availability     that can be used to realistrcally      gauge the Apache’s per-
  formance in the field and In testmg.




  Page 76
-.--.-..--   .___-- ..----.---.   ._--.- -~.I,-.__~----_--   -~-   .----                      --   --




                                                                           GAO/NSLAB9W?84 Apache lirllcopwr



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                                ,/’      ’




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                                                         .




                                                     .   .
                                        ..
                                                                 *




                       1




         .




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