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In response to a congressional request, GAO identified the technical challenges confronting the Navy in its efforts to develop the AN/BSY-2 combat system for the Seawolf submarine, focusing on system design, software development, testing and integration, and independent verification and validation.
GAO found that: (1) seven development organizations under the direction of a prime contractor would share the software development; (2) the software development was complicated because of the extreme amount of software needed and because it was to be written in a computer language with which the contractors had little experience; (3) the Navy did not have adequate assurance that the prime contractor would provide sufficient and consistent training to programmers, since it left each of the seven development organizations responsible for training; (4) the Navy needed to ensure that the system would meet the performance requirements, since the contractor planned to provide a more reliable system for one part of the system than for others; (5) the contractor planned to conduct more extensive simulations and develop a complete model in order to provide assurance that the proposed design would meet contract requirements; (6) although the Navy planned to monitor the contractor's testing efforts and ensure retesting after significant code changes, it was unclear how the contractor's retest efforts would ensure that changes did not affect other parts of the software; and (7) although the Navy designated an in-house organization to perform verification and validation tasks, its plan was not complete and lacked the specificity required to implement such a program.
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