The US Army is reportedly set to delay its approval of the full production contract for BAE Systems’ self-propelled 155mm howitzer.
The service had already delayed its decision on a contract for the full-rate production of the howitzer, which was supposed to be announced in July.
Bloomberg reported that the decision could be postponed until November.
In an interview, US Army Secretary Mark Esper was quoted by the news agency as saying: “They have made progress, but they’re still not at the point where they’ve convinced us they are prepared to go into full-rate production. There’s some thresholds they have to meet.”
Esper noted that the company is yet to show ‘both a consistent rate and a consistent level of quality’.
BAE Systems’ progress on the $8.1bn programme is currently being monitored by the Defense Contract Management Agency.
Army spokeswoman Ashley John was quoted by the news agency as saying: “BAE failed to consistently deliver vehicles in accordance with scheduled quantities.”
However, Ashley John added that a ‘smaller contract’ could be awarded this month to buy parts.
To date, the US Department of Defense has awarded contracts for the purchase of a total of 162 sets of howitzers and ammunition haulers.
Around 576 howitzers and ammunition carriers are planned to be acquired by the army.
Meanwhile, BAE spokeswoman Kelly Golden told Bloomberg in an email: “We have enhanced the weld and fabrication processes across our entire manufacturing network, to include our suppliers.
“As part of these improvements, we implemented a 100% in-station weld inspection across our facilities and are now delivering defect-free vehicles to the Army at a higher rate.”