Report | Aug. 5, 2016

Army Justified Initial Production Plan for the Paladin Integrated Management Program but Has Not Resolved Two Vehicle Performance Deficiencies (Redacted) DODIG-2016-118

Objective

We determined whether the Army effectively managed the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program during the production and deployment phase. Specifically, we evaluated whether program officials justified the low-rate initial production plan and whether test plans and results adequately prepared the program for full-rate production. This report is the first in a series of reports on the Army PIM program, which includes ammunition carriers and projectile-firing armored vehicles, called howitzers, for use in ground combat. During full-rate production, the Army will complete PIM vehicle production.

Finding

PIM program officials justified their plan to produce 133 initial production vehicles. The plan included 33 test vehicles and 100 production vehicles—the minimum necessary to maintain the production line and gradually increase production before full-rate production. Further, PIM program officials initiated system fixes to address seven of the nine performance deficiencies identified by the test community during the system development phase. PIM program officials also updated test plans to evaluate vehicle performance before full-rate production. However, Army Fires Center of Excellence, which developed PIM program operational requirements, and PIM program officials continued to address test community recommendations for deficiencies in the rate-of-fire requirement and the automatic fire extinguisher system (AFES). Army officials did not fully address two test community recommendations because:
  • Army Fires Center of Excellence officials were revising the maximum rate‑of‑fire requirement for different firing conditions in the capability production document; and
  • PIM program officials were exploring methods to fix the deficiency in the AFES in howitzer crew compartments after initially disagreeing with the test community recommendation.

As a result, Army Fires Center of Excellence and PIM program officials risk deploying vehicles that do not meet performance requirements and that could endanger crews. Additionally, PIM program officials may incur costly vehicle retrofits to address the deficiency in the AFES if not adequately addressed before full-rate production.

Recommendations

We recommend the Commander, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence, include a clear maximum rate‑of‑fire requirement for different firing conditions in the capability production document before operational testing. We also recommend the Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, evaluate and fix the deficiency in the AFES in howitzer crew compartments before deploying the first vehicles to minimize fire risk to soldiers and reduce retrofit costs.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Commander, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence, agreed with the recommendation. The Deputy Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, responding for the Program Executive Officer, disagreed with the recommendation. The Deputy stated that adding more AFES coverage to the crew compartment will delay fielding—risking soldier safety and decreasing Army capabilities. However, the Deputy did not support that incorporating additional AFES coverage would delay fielding the PIM program or how the delay would impact the mission, readiness, or cost. Further, the Deputy did not take into account the results and recommendations of the AFES engineering project or include a specific timeline for planned corrective actions. Without addressing the AFES deficiency, the Army could deploy vehicles that endanger crews. Therefore, we ask that the Program Executive Officer fix the AFES deficiency before deploying the first vehicles. We also request that the Program Executive Officer provide an action plan and completion dates to address the results and recommendations of the AFES engineering project.  

 

This report is a result of Project No. D2016-D000AU-0003.000.