oversight

Airborne Electronic Attack: Achieving Mission Objectives Depends on Overcoming Acquisition Challenges

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-03-29.

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

             United States Government Accountability Office

GAO          Report to the Committee on Armed
             Services, House of Representatives



March 2012
             AIRBORNE
             ELECTRONIC
             ATTACK
             Achieving Mission
             Objectives Depends
             on Overcoming
             Acquisition
             Challenges




GAO-12-175
                                                March 2012

                                                AIRBORNE ELECTRONIC ATTACK
                                                Achieving Mission Objectives Depends on
                                                Overcoming Acquisition Challenges
Highlights of GAO-12-175, a report to the
Committee on Armed Services, House of
Representatives




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
Airborne electronic attack involves the         The Department of Defense’s (DOD) evolving strategy for meeting airborne
use of aircraft to neutralize, destroy, or      electronic attack requirements centers on acquiring a family of systems, including
suppress enemy air defense and                  traditional fixed wing aircraft, low observable aircraft, unmanned aerial systems,
communications systems. Proliferation           and related mission systems and weapons. DOD analyses dating back a decade
of sophisticated air defenses and               have identified capability gaps and provided a basis for service investments, but
advanced commercial electronic                  budget realities and lessons learned from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
devices has contributed to the                  have driven changes in strategic direction and program content. Most notably,
accelerated appearance of new                   DOD canceled some acquisitions, after which the services revised their operating
weapons designed to counter U.S.
                                                concepts for airborne electronic attack. These decisions saved money, allowing
airborne electronic attack capabilities.
                                                DOD to fund other priorities, but reduced the planned level of synergy among
GAO was asked to assess (1) the
Department of Defense’s (DOD)
                                                systems during operations. As acquisition plans have evolved, capability
strategy for acquiring airborne                 limitations and sustainment challenges facing existing systems have grown,
electronic attack capabilities,                 prompting the department to invest in system improvements to mitigate shortfalls.
(2) progress made in developing and             DOD is investing in new airborne electronic attack systems to address its
fielding systems to meet airborne               growing mission demands and to counter anticipated future threats. However,
electronic attack mission requirements,         progress acquiring these new capabilities has been impeded by developmental
and (3) additional actions taken to             and production challenges that have slowed fielding of planned systems. Some
address capability gaps. To do this,
                                                programs, such as the Navy’s EA-18G Growler and the Air Force’s modernized
GAO analyzed documents related to
                                                EC-130H Compass Call, are in stable production and have completed significant
mission requirements, acquisition and
budget needs, development plans, and            amounts of testing. Other key programs, like the Navy’s Advanced Anti-Radiation
performance, and interviewed DOD                Guided Missile, have required additional time and funding to address technical
officials.                                      challenges, yet continue to face execution risks. In addition, certain systems in
                                                development may offer capabilities that overlap with one another—a situation
What GAO Recommends                             brought on in part by DOD’s fragmented urgent operational needs processes.
                                                Although services have shared technical data among these programs, they
GAO recommends that DOD conduct
                                                continue to pursue unique systems intended to counter similar threats. As military
program reviews for certain new, key
systems to assess cost, schedule, and           operations in Iraq and Afghanistan decrease, opportunities exist to consolidate
performance; determine the extent to            current acquisition programs across services. However, this consolidation may
which the most pressing capability              be hampered by DOD’s acknowledged leadership deficiencies within its
gaps can be met and take steps to fill          electronic warfare enterprise, including the lack of a designated, joint entity to
them; align service investments in              coordinate activities. Furthermore, current and planned acquisitions will not fully
science and technology with the                 address materiel-related capability gaps identified by DOD—including some that
departmentwide electronic warfare               date back 10 years. Acquisition program shortfalls will exacerbate these gaps.
priority; and review capabilities
                                                To supplement its acquisition of new systems, DOD is undertaking other efforts
provided by certain planned and
existing systems to ensure investments          to bridge existing airborne electronic attack capability gaps. In the near term,
do not overlap. DOD agreed with three           services are evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures for existing systems to
recommendations and partially agreed            enable them to take on additional mission tasks. These activities maximize the
with the two aimed at reducing                  utility of existing systems and better position operators to complete missions with
potential overlap among systems. DOD            equipment currently available. Longer-term solutions, however, depend on DOD
plans to assess coordination among              successfully capitalizing on its investments in science and technology. DOD has
systems, whereas GAO sees                       recently taken actions that begin to address long-standing coordination shortfalls
opportunities for consolidation, as             in this area, including designating electronic warfare as a priority investment area
discussed in the report.                        and creating a steering council to link capability gaps to research initiatives.
                                                These steps do not preclude services from funding their own research priorities
View GAO-12-175. For more information,
contact Michael J. Sullivan at (202) 512-4841   ahead of departmentwide priorities. DOD’s planned implementation roadmap for
or sullivanm@gao.gov.                           electronic warfare offers an opportunity to assess how closely component
                                                research investments are aligned with the departmentwide priority.
                                                                                         United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                       1
               Background                                                                    3
               DOD Strategy to Lower Costs Also Reduced Synergy among
                 Systems                                                                    5
               Acquisitions May Not Produce Sufficient Results                             16
               Improvements to Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures and
                 Investments in Science and Technology Are Helping to Bridge
                 Gaps                                                                      30
               Conclusions                                                                 35
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                        36
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                          37

Appendix I     Scope and Methodology                                                       40



Appendix II    Analyses of Select Airborne Electronic Attack Systems                       43



Appendix III   Comments from the Department of Defense                                     64



Appendix IV    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                       69



Tables
               Table 1: Characteristics of Airborne Electronic Attack Systems in
                        Sustainment                                                        13
               Table 2: Recent and Planned DOD Investments toward Acquiring
                        Airborne Electronic Attack Systems                                 17
               Table 3: DOD’s Progress Developing and Fielding New Airborne
                        Electronic Attack Systems                                          19
               Table 4: Potential Overlap among Communications Jamming
                        Systems Supporting Ground Forces                                   25
               Table 5: Primary Airborne Electronic Attack Capability Needs
                        Identified since 2002                                              29
               Table 6: Current DOD Science and Technology Initiatives Related
                        to Airborne Electronic Attack                                      32
               Table 7: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the EA-6B
                        Prowler, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                                    44


               Page i                                     GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
          Table 8: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the AN/ALQ-99
                   Tactical Jamming System, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                   46
          Table 9: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the EC-130H
                   Compass Call, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                              48
          Table 10: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the F-22A
                   Raptor, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                                    50
          Table 11: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the EA-18G
                   Growler, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                                   52
          Table 12: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for AARGM, Fiscal
                   Years 2012-2017                                                   54
          Table 13: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for IDECM, Fiscal
                   Years 2012-2017                                                   56
          Table 14: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the Next
                   Generation Jammer, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                         58
          Table 15: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for MALD/MALD-
                   J, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                                         61
          Table 16: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the F-35
                   Lightning II, Fiscal Years 2012-2017                              63


Figures
          Figure 1: Key Analyses Underpinning Airborne Electronic Attack
                   Acquisition Strategy and Investments                                6
          Figure 2: Airborne Electronic Attack Family of Systems Strategy
                   for Countering Near-Peer Adversaries                                9
          Figure 3: Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Tailored to Counter
                   Irregular Warfare Threats                                         11
          Figure 4: EA-6B Prowler                                                    43
          Figure 5: AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System                                45
          Figure 6: EC-130H Compass Call                                             47
          Figure 7: F-22A Raptor                                                     49
          Figure 8: EA-18G Growler                                                   51
          Figure 9: AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile
                   (AARGM)                                                           53
          Figure 10: Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures
                   (IDECM)                                                           55
          Figure 11: Next Generation Jammer                                          57
          Figure 12: Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD)/Miniature Air
                   Launched Decoy—Jammer (MALD-J)                                    59
          Figure 13: F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter)                        62




          Page ii                                   GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Abbreviations

AARGM             Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile
AESA              Active Electronically Scanned Array
ASD (R&E)         Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and
                  Engineering
CEASAR            Communications Electronic Attack with Surveillance and
                  Reconnaissance
DARPA             Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
DOD               Department of Defense
HARM              High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile
ICAP              Improved Capability
IDECM             Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures
ITALD             Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy
J-UCAS            Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems
LAIRCM            Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures
MALD              Miniature Air Launched Decoy
MALD-J            Miniature Air Launched Decoy—Jammer
RDT&E             Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation
TALD              Tactical Air Launched Decoy


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Page iii                                            GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   March 29, 2012

                                   The Honorable Howard P. McKeon
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Adam Smith
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Committee on Armed Services
                                   House of Representatives

                                   Airborne electronic attack capabilities are key enablers for U.S. military
                                   operations ranging from irregular warfare 1 to major combat against
                                   potential near-peer adversaries. 2 Airborne electronic attack involves the
                                   use of aircraft to neutralize, destroy, or temporarily degrade (suppress)
                                   enemy air defense and communications systems, either through
                                   destructive or disruptive means. These aircraft employ a variety of
                                   mission systems and weapons to prosecute threats, and they rely on
                                   defensive countermeasures to provide additional protection.

                                   Global proliferation of more sophisticated air defenses and advanced,
                                   commercial digital electronic devices has contributed to the accelerated
                                   appearance of new weapons designed to counter U.S. airborne electronic
                                   attack capabilities and limit U.S. access to theaters of combat. These
                                   weapons—some held by both nation-state and nonstate actors—vary
                                   from advanced, integrated air defense systems to simpler, digital radio
                                   frequency memory devices. As the range of adversary weapons
                                   increases, electronic jammers and other equipment must respond with
                                   improved capabilities or may have to operate farther from the battle,
                                   lessening their effectiveness.

                                   In light of these developments, you asked us to review the Department of
                                   Defense’s (DOD) airborne electronic attack capabilities and investment



                                   1
                                    Irregular warfare is defined as a violent struggle among state and nonstate actors for
                                   legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s). Irregular warfare favors indirect
                                   and asymmetric (dissimilar) approaches, though it may employ the full range of military
                                   and other capacities, in order to erode an adversary's power, influence, and will.
                                   2
                                    Potential near-peer adversaries can be defined to include countries capable of waging
                                   large-scale conventional war on the United States. These nation-states can be
                                   characterized as having nearly comparable diplomatic, informational, military, and
                                   economic capacity to the United States.




                                   Page 1                                                GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
plans. In response to this request, we assessed (1) the department’s
strategy for acquiring airborne electronic attack capabilities; (2) progress
made developing and fielding systems to meet airborne electronic attack
mission requirements; and (3) additional compensating actions taken by
the department to address capability gaps, including improvements to
tactics, techniques, and procedures and investments in science and
technology. In a separate report, we plan to address the effectiveness of
the department’s governance structure for overseeing its electronic
warfare policies and priorities and the relationship between electronic
warfare and cyber operations.

To assess the department’s strategy for acquiring airborne electronic
attack capabilities, we analyzed documents outlining mission
requirements and acquisition needs including the 2009 Electronic Warfare
Initial Capabilities Document, service roadmaps related to airborne
electronic attack, budget documents, and program briefings. We
corroborated this information through discussions with officials
responsible for managing airborne electronic attack requirements and
systems, including the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine
Corps requirements branches; U.S. Strategic Command; and the Joint
Staff. To assess progress made developing and fielding systems to meet
airborne electronic attack mission requirements, we analyzed materials
outlining acquisition plans, costs, and performance outcomes including,
capabilities documents, program schedules, test reports, budget
submissions, and program briefings. These same materials afforded
information on key attributes of individual airborne electronic attack
systems, which we used to assess potential overlap among systems in
development. Further, we identified persisting capability gaps by
reviewing DOD analyses related to airborne electronic attack
requirements. To supplement our analyses and gain additional visibility
and perspective into these issues, we conducted numerous interviews
with DOD officials charged with managing airborne electronic attack
requirements and those responsible for developing, acquiring, and testing
airborne electronic attack systems. To assess additional compensating
actions taken by the department to address airborne electronic attack
capability gaps, we reviewed service documents outlining recent
improvements and refinements to tactics, techniques, and procedures for
key airborne electronic attack aircraft. We also reviewed broad agency
announcements to understand ongoing science and technology activities.
We corroborated this information through interviews with the user
community responsible for developing and maintaining operating
procedures for airborne electronic attack systems and with DOD airborne


Page 2                                       GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
             electronic attack research leaders. A more detailed description of our
             scope and methodology is presented in appendix I.

             We conducted this performance audit from February 2011 to March 2012
             in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
             Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
             sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
             findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
             the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
             conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             DOD invests in electronic warfare capabilities as a means to maintain
Background   unimpeded access to the electromagnetic spectrum during war and
             selectively deny adversary use of the spectrum. Traditionally, electronic
             warfare has been composed of three primary activities:

             •   Electronic attack: Use of electromagnetic, directed energy, or
                 antiradiation weapons to attack with the intent of degrading,
                 neutralizing, or destroying enemy combat capability.

             •   Electronic protection: Passive and active means taken to protect
                 personnel, facilities, and equipment from the effects of friendly or
                 enemy use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

             •   Electronic warfare support: Actions directed by an operational
                 commander to search for, intercept, identify, and locate sources of
                 radiated electromagnetic energy for the purposes of immediate threat
                 recognition, targeting, and planning, and the conduct of future
                 operations.
             Airborne electronic attack—a subset of the electronic attack mission—
             involves use of aircraft to neutralize, destroy, or temporarily degrade
             (suppress) enemy air defense and communications systems, either
             through destructive or disruptive means. These capabilities are
             increasingly important and complex as networked systems, distributed
             controls, and sophisticated sensors become ubiquitous in military
             equipment, civilian infrastructure, and commercial networks—
             developments that complicate DOD’s ability to exercise control over the
             electromagnetic spectrum, when necessary, to support U.S. military
             objectives.

             Airborne electronic attack systems increase survivability of joint forces
             tasked to enter denied battlespace and engage anti-access threats or


             Page 3                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
high-value targets, 3 whether involved in major combat operations against
a potential near-peer adversary or in irregular warfare. They also enable
access to the battlespace for follow-on operations. Aircraft executing
airborne electronic attack missions employ a variety of mission systems,
such as electronic jammers, and weapons, such as antiradiation missiles
and air-launched expendable decoys. These aircraft also rely on aircraft
self-protection systems and defensive countermeasures for additional
protection. All four services within DOD contribute to and rely upon
airborne electronic attack capabilities using a variety of different aircraft.
Each service is also separately acquiring new airborne electronic attack
systems.

Section 1053 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2010 requires that for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015, the
Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
secretaries of the military departments, submit to the congressional
defense committees an annual report on DOD’s electronic warfare
strategy. 4 Each report must contain (1) a description and overview of the
department’s electronic warfare strategy and organizational structures for
oversight; (2) a list and description of all electronic warfare acquisition
programs and research and development projects within DOD; and (3) for
the unclassified programs and projects, detail on oversight
responsibilities, requirements, funding, cost, schedule, technologies,
potential redundancies, and associated capability gaps, and for the
classified programs and projects, a classified annex addressing these
topics, when appropriate. 5 In response to this requirement, DOD
submitted its first Electronic Warfare Strategy of the Department of
Defense report in October 2010. The department produced its second
electronic warfare strategy report in November 2011.




3
 Anti-access threats can be defined as those that impede the deployment of U.S. forces
into the combat theater, limit the locations from which those forces could effectively
operate, or force them to operate from locations farther from the locus of conflict than they
would normally prefer. High-value targets are persons or resources that an enemy
commander requires for the successful completion of a mission.
4
Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 1053 (a) (2009).
5
Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 1053 (b) (2009).




Page 4                                                GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                             DOD’s strategy for meeting airborne electronic attack requirements—
DOD Strategy to              including both near-peer and irregular warfare needs—centers on
Lower Costs Also             acquiring a family of systems, including traditional fixed wing aircraft, low
                             observable aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, and related mission
Reduced Synergy              systems and weapons. Department analyses dating back a decade have
among Systems                identified capability gaps and provided a basis for service investments in
                             airborne electronic attack capabilities. However, budget realities and
                             lessons learned from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have driven
                             changes in strategic direction and program content. Most notably, the
                             department canceled some acquisitions, after which services revised their
                             operating concepts for airborne electronic attack. These decisions saved
                             money, allowing the department to fund other priorities, but reduced the
                             planned level of synergy among airborne electronic attack systems during
                             operations. As acquisition plans for these systems have evolved,
                             operational stresses upon the existing inventory of weapon systems have
                             grown. These stresses have materialized in the form of capability
                             limitations and sustainment challenges for existing systems, prompting
                             the department to invest in improvements to these systems to mitigate
                             shortfalls.


Airborne Electronic Attack   Key DOD analyses completed since 2002 identified capability gaps,
Acquisition Strategy Has     provided a basis for service investments in airborne electronic attack
Evolved                      systems, and supported an overarching acquisition strategy for achieving
                             these requirements. The department outlined its findings in reports that
                             included an analysis of alternatives, a capabilities-based assessment,
                             and initial capabilities documents. Figure 1 highlights a chronology of
                             these analyses and identifies key airborne electronic attack components
                             of each report.




                             Page 5                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Figure 1: Key Analyses Underpinning Airborne Electronic Attack Acquisition Strategy and Investments




                                        The 2002 Airborne Electronic Attack Analysis of Alternatives established
                                        the primary framework by which the department began investing in new
                                        airborne electronic attack capabilities. The analysis focused on those
                                        capabilities needed to suppress enemy air defenses from 2010 to 2030.
                                        The study identified two primary components required to provide a
                                        complete and comprehensive airborne electronic attack solution:

                                        •   Core component: A recoverable platform or combination of platforms
                                            operating in enemy airspace. The core component provides the
                                            airborne electronic attack detection and battle management
                                            capabilities for reactive jamming.




                                        Page 6                                         GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
•   Stand-in component: An expendable air platform providing critical
    capabilities against certain advanced threat emitters and employed in
    threat environments not accessible to the core component.
Subsequent to this analysis, DOD developed a system of systems
strategy for meeting airborne electronic attack mission needs. A system
of systems is a set or arrangement that results when independent and
useful systems are integrated into a larger, connected and interdependent
system that delivers unique capabilities during military operations. The
system of systems strategy established specific roles and operating
responsibilities among the military services in a joint environment and
expanded the basic core and stand-in component needs into four major
capability areas for airborne electronic attack:

•   Stand-off: Jamming occurring outside of defended airspace. Planned
    stand-off systems included the Air Force’s EC-130H Compass Call
    aircraft and development of an electronic attack variant of the Air
    Force’s B-52.

•   Modified escort: Jamming occurring inside defended airspace, but
    outside of the range of known surface-to-air missiles. Planned
    modified escort systems included the Navy’s EA-18G Growler and
    EA-6B Prowler aircraft.

•   Penetrating escort: Jamming occurring inside the intercept range of
    known surface-to-air missiles. The department planned to rely on
    aircraft equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA)
    radars, including the F-22A Raptor and F-35 Lightning II aircraft to
    perform this jamming function.

•   Stand-in: Jamming occurring inside the “no escape range” of known
    surface-to-air missiles. The department planned to rely on
    development of recoverable Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-
    UCAS) and the Air Force’s Miniature Air Launched Decoy—Jammer
    (MALD-J) to provide this function.

As time progressed, budget issues and lessons learned from operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan drove changes to the strategy and program
content. Most notably, the department canceled development of two
major components of the system of systems—the B-52 Standoff Jammer
and J-UCAS—in 2005 and 2006, respectively, citing higher-priority needs
and budget constraints. The B-52-based jamming concept was later
rejuvenated through the Air Force’s Core Component Jammer initiative,



Page 7                                     GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
but that program was similarly canceled in 2009. Following these
developments, the department revised operating concepts and joint
service responsibilities, moving away from its system of systems plans in
favor of a family of systems strategy for airborne electronic attack.

A family of systems is fundamentally different from a system of systems.
Under a family of systems construct, independent systems—using
different approaches—together provide capability effects to support
military operations. Unlike the synergy found in a system of systems, a
family of systems does not acquire qualitatively new properties or
necessarily create capability beyond the additive sum of the individual
capabilities of its members. The member systems may not even be
connected into a whole. In the case of airborne electronic attack, DOD
officials stated that a system of systems would have employed a dynamic,
networked capability to share data in real-time among platforms—a
concept known as electronic warfare battle management. Under the
family of systems strategy, officials stated that this process is less
automated and the parts are less connected. Therefore, in making this
strategy change, the department traded some unique, synergistic
capabilities that the system of system’s interdependent components might
have provided in favor of near-term budget savings and other priorities.

Figure 2 outlines the department’s current family of systems strategy for
countering near-peer adversaries. This family of systems includes
traditional fixed wing aircraft, low observable aircraft, and related mission
systems and weapons.




Page 8                                       GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Figure 2: Airborne Electronic Attack Family of Systems Strategy for Countering Near-Peer Adversaries




                                        Page 9                                          GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
DOD’s 2009 electronic warfare capabilities analysis identified the growth
of irregular warfare in urban areas as presenting challenges to military
operations. The analysis noted that irregular adversaries can exploit
civilian and commercial communications infrastructure to minimize
detection and subsequent attack. According to the department, precise
electronic attack planning and execution are required to ensure that these
threats are defeated while avoiding interruption to U.S. communications
capabilities.

The department has used existing airborne electronic attack systems,
such as the EA-6B and EC-130H, to meet its near-term irregular warfare
needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, officials report that these
platforms are optimized for countering high-end, near-peer threats, and
their use against irregular warfare threats is inefficient and costly.
Consequently, the department has begun investing in new, less
expensive airborne electronic attack systems tailored to counter irregular
warfare threats. These systems are fielded from both traditional fixed-
wing aircraft and from unmanned aerial vehicles. Figure 3 illustrates
operations involving these systems.




Page 10                                    GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Figure 3: Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Tailored to Counter Irregular Warfare Threats




                                         Page 11                                         GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Existing Airborne           As DOD’s acquisition plans for airborne electronic attack systems have
Electronic Attack Systems   evolved, operational stresses upon the current inventory of systems have
Face Capability             grown. These systems date back to the 1970s and 1980s and were
                            originally designed to counter Cold War era threats. Many of the
Limitations and             department’s existing airborne electronic attack systems face capability
Sustainment Challenges      limitations, requiring the department to pursue modernization efforts to
                            increase the effectiveness of the systems or to identify and develop
                            replacement systems. Further, existing systems face sustainment
                            challenges from age, parts obsolescence, and increased operational
                            stresses from lengthy and sustained operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
                            According to Air Force and Navy officials, these challenges have reduced
                            the availabilities of some systems to warfighters. Table 1 identifies the
                            department’s existing airborne electronic attack systems and related
                            characteristics, including future replacement systems identified to date.




                            Page 12                                   GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Table 1: Characteristics of Airborne Electronic Attack Systems in Sustainment

                                                                               Estimated end of
System                         Mission description                             service life                 Replacement system
EA-6B Prowler                  Modified escort jamming                         2020                         EA-18G (Navy)
                                                                                                                                             a
                                                                                                            F-35B Lightning II (Marine Corps)
AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming     Modified escort jamming                         Mid-band: 2024               Next Generation Jammer
System                                                                         Low-band: 2026
                                                                               High-band: 2028
F-16CM                         Suppression of enemy air defenses               2024                         F-35A Lightning II
AN/ALQ-131 and AN/ALQ-184 Aircraft self-protection (F-16 and A-10)             2025                         Electronic Attack Pod Upgrade
Pod Systems                                                                                                 Program
AN/ALQ-135 Internal            Aircraft self-protection (F-15)                 2035                         Eagle Passive/Active Warning
Countermeasures Systems                                                                                     Survivability System
                                                                                     b
AGM-88 High Speed Anti-        Suppression of enemy air defenses               2035                         Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided
Radiation Missile (HARM)                                                                                    Missile (AARGM)
                                                                                     c
EC-130H Compass Call           Stand-off jamming (communications)              2053                         N/A
(Baselines 0 and 1)
                                                                                         d                        e
ADM-141 Tactical Air           Suppression of enemy air defenses               Unknown                      TBD
Launched Decoy
(TALD)/Improved Tactical Air
Launched Decoy (ITALD)
F-22A Raptor                   Penetrating escort                              TBD                          N/A
Integrated Defensive           Aircraft self-protection (F/A-18 E/F)           TBD                          IDECM Blocks 3 and 4
Electronic Countermeasures
(IDECM) Blocks 1 and 2

                                           Legend: N/A = not applicable; TBD = to be determined.
                                           Source: GAO analysis of DOD data.
                                           a
                                            In addition to the fixed wing, airborne electronic attack capability that F-35B Lightning II is anticipated
                                           to provide, the Marine Corps plans to rely on its Marine Air Ground Task Force Electronic Warfare
                                           concept to replace the warfighting capability and capacity currently provided by the EA-6B. This
                                           concept seeks a more holistic approach toward electronic warfare by combining both air and ground
                                           capabilities. To date, DOD officials state that the Marine Corps has completed a draft initial
                                           capabilities document, a concept of operations, and various electronic warfare gap analyses in
                                           support of its concept.
                                           b
                                            This date refers to the expected service life of the Air Force’s inventory of HARM only. Air Force
                                           officials told us that retirement of the Air Force’s inventory of HARM is aligned with the expected
                                           retirement of Block 50/52 F-16 aircraft.
                                           c
                                             As of January 2012, the EC-130H program schedule showed that center wing box replacement for
                                           the 14th Compass Call aircraft should be complete by 2018. A program office official told us that
                                           center wing box replacement extends the operational service life of the aircraft an additional 35 years,
                                           suggesting an end of service life in 2053, assuming no additional improvements to the fleet.
                                           d
                                            According to a Navy official, neither TALD nor ITALD has an estimated end of service life. The Navy
                                           plans to continue providing minimal sustainment funds for these systems, as resource availability
                                           permits.
                                           e
                                            The Navy has begun evaluating TALD/ITALD replacement options.




                                           Page 13                                                       GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
DOD is taking actions to address capability limitations and sustainment
challenges across several key systems, such as the following:

•   EA-6B Prowler: Since its introduction in the 1970s, the Navy and
    Marine Corps have made significant upgrades to the EA-6B Prowler.
    The latest of these upgrades—the Improved Capability electronic
    suite modification (ICAP III) provides the Prowler with greater jamming
    capability and is designed to improve the aircraft’s overall capability
    as both a radar-jamming and HARM platform. By the end of fiscal
    year 2012, 32 EA-6Bs will be upgraded to the ICAP III configuration.
    Navy officials told us that persistent operations in Iraq and
    Afghanistan, however, have degraded the condition of EA-6B aircraft.
    In addition, we have previously reported that parts obsolescence
    presents the biggest challenge to the EA-6B’s ability to fulfill its
    mission role. 6 We noted that although the Navy has made several
    structural upgrades to the EA-6B fleet, it is actively tracking a number
    of key components, including cockpit floors, side walls, fin pods,
    bulkheads, actuators, engine components, landing gear, and avionics
    software—all of which are at increasing risk for costly replacement the
    longer the aircraft remains in service.

•   HARM: According to Navy officials, even though HARM has
    undergone various block upgrades to provide increased capabilities
    since fleet introduction in 1983, advancements in enemy radar
    technology have rendered the weapon somewhat ineffective for
    typical Navy targets. As a result, the Navy is fielding a major
    technological upgrade to HARM through its AARGM acquisition
    program. AARGM provides a new multimode guidance section and
    modified control section mated with existing HARM propulsion and
    warhead sections. The Air Force, similarly, is pursuing modifications
    to HARM control sections on missiles in its inventory—a process that
    will provide a global positioning system receiver to those units. Air
    Force officials stated that they have long sought this receiver
    component addition because of vulnerabilities in the HARM targeting
    method. This effort is being pursued in conjunction with other
    modernization efforts for Air Force F-16CM aircraft.




6
 GAO, Tactical Aircraft: DOD’s Ability to Meet Future Requirements Is Uncertain, with Key
Analyses Needed to Inform Upcoming Investment Decisions, GAO-10-789 (Washington,
D.C.: July 29, 2010).




Page 14                                            GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
•   TALD and ITALD: Navy officials stated that advancements in enemy
    integrated air defense systems have decreased the effectiveness of
    both TALD and ITALD units. According to program officials, newer
    radars can discern from the TALD/ITALD flight profile that the system
    is a decoy and not a valid target. The Navy has begun evaluating
    TALD/ITALD replacement options under its Airborne Electronic Attack
    Expendable program initiative.

•   EC-130H Compass Call (Baselines 0 and 1): Although the Air Force
    initially fielded the EC-130H Compass Call as a communications
    jammer supporting suppression of enemy air defenses, the system
    has evolved to include irregular warfare missions and radar jamming.
    Air Force officials told us that the Compass Call is the most utilized
    aircraft within the C-130 family and has been continuously deployed
    since 2003 supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,
    accelerating the need for the Air Force to replace the center wing box
    on each of the 14 aircraft in the Compass Call fleet. Further, Air Force
    officials told us that they are increasing the size of the fleet by one
    aircraft to alleviate stress on current aircraft and to increase the
    availability of airborne electronic attack capability to the Air Force.
    According to a fleet viability assessment completed in 2010, the
    current size of the fleet is insufficient to meet combatant commander
    taskings for Compass Call.

•   AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System: The Navy’s Low Band
    Transmitter upgrade to the AN/ALQ-99 system is intended to replace
    three aging legacy transmitters that suffer from obsolescence and
    reliability problems. According to Navy officials, persistent use of
    these transmitters in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
    has exacerbated system shortfalls. Navy officials told us that they are
    also identifying options for improving reliability and resolving
    obsolescence issues with the mid and high bands of the AN/ALQ-99
    system. However, Navy officials project that even with these
    improvements, system capabilities will be insufficient to counter
    anticipated evolutions in threat radars and missiles beginning in 2018.
    This shortfall is expected to be addressed by the new Next
    Generation Jammer.

•   AN/ALQ-131 and AN/ALQ-184 Pod Systems: The Air Force has
    identified obsolescence issues and capability shortfalls affecting these
    systems, which provide tactical aircraft self-protection. The Air Force
    is pursuing a replacement/upgrades program designed to move the
    Air Force to a single, self-protection pod system for its F-16 and A-10
    aircraft.


Page 15                                     GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                             DOD is investing in new airborne electronic attack systems to address its
Acquisitions May Not         growing mission demands and to counter anticipated future threats.
Produce Sufficient           However, progress acquiring these new capabilities has been impeded by
                             developmental and production challenges that have slowed fielding of
Results                      several planned systems. Some programs, including the Navy’s EA-18G
                             Growler and the Air Force’s EC-130H Compass Call modernization, are in
                             stable production and have completed significant amounts of testing. On
                             the other hand, the Navy’s AARGM, the Air Force’s Miniature Air
                             Launched Decoy (MALD), and other programs have required additional
                             time and money to resolve technical challenges. In addition, certain
                             airborne electronic attack systems in development may offer capabilities
                             that overlap with one another—a situation brought on in part by the
                             department’s fragmented urgent operational needs processes. As military
                             operations in Iraq and Afghanistan decrease, opportunities exist to
                             consolidate current acquisition programs across services; however, this
                             consolidation may be hampered by leadership deficiencies affecting the
                             department’s electronic warfare enterprise. Furthermore, current and
                             planned acquisition programs, even if executed according to plan, will not
                             fully address the materiel-related capability gaps identified by the
                             department—including some that date back 10 years.


Investments in New           DOD investments to develop and procure new and updated airborne
Airborne Electronic Attack   electronic attack systems are projected to total more than $17.6 billion
Systems Have Yielded         from fiscal years 2007 through 2016. 7 These systems represent the
                             department’s planned mix of assets for (1) countering near-peer,
Mixed Results to Date
                             integrated air defense and communications systems and (2) providing
                             communications and radio frequency jamming against irregular warfare
                             threats. Table 2 outlines the department’s recent and planned
                             investments toward developing and acquiring several of these systems.




                             7
                              Investment total includes nearly $1.1 billion in funding for aircraft self-protection systems,
                             which airborne electronic attack aircraft rely upon to conduct missions.




                             Page 16                                                GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Table 2: Recent and Planned DOD Investments toward Acquiring Airborne Electronic Attack Systems

Then-year dollars in millions
                                                                                                                                         Remaining
                                            Current research,                                             Total RDT&E and               RDT&E and
                                    development, testing, and                      Current             procurement funding             procurement
                                          evaluation (RDT&E)                 procurement                     (through fiscal                funding
System                                          cost estimate                cost estimate                        year 2012)          requirements
Next Generation Jammer                                    $2,141.5                          N/A                          $402.6            $1,738.9
EA-18G Growler                                              1,839.4                  $9,341.6                          10,032.5             1,148.5
AARGM                                                          631.0                   1,277.7                            877.5             1,031.2
                    a
MALD and MALD-J                                                505.1                   1,339.6                            953.8               890.9
IDECM Block 4                                                  254.1                     609.1                            271.6               591.6
EC-130H Compass Call
                                                                                                                                                   b
Modernization                                                  129.0                     957.2                            709.9              376.3
                                                                                                                                                     c
MQ-9 Reaper Electronic Attack Pod                              133.4                     100.3                             53.1                 0.0
Intrepid Tiger II                                               26.5                       50.3                            43.4                33.4
Communications Electronic Attack
with Surveillance and
                                                                                                                               d
Reconnaissance (CEASAR) pod                                       0.8                      13.0                           13.8                   0.0
Total                                                     $5,660.8                 $13,688.8                          $13,358.2            $5,810.8
                                        Source: GAO analysis of DOD budget submissions and program baselines.

                                        Notes: Remaining funding requirements for EC-130H Compass Call Modernization represent funding
                                        through the end of a 5-year budget forecast. In addition, F-22A Raptor and F-35 Lightning II (Joint
                                        Strike Fighter) funding is excluded from this analysis because those aircraft will provide capabilities
                                        that support several missions, including airborne electronic attack.
                                        a
                                         MALD and MALD-J figures do not include costs or appropriations related to the previously planned
                                        MALD-J Increment II. In its fiscal year 2013 budget submission, the Air Force canceled the Increment
                                        II program. Prior to this cancellation, the Air Force planned to invest $272.3 million in RDT&E funding
                                        through fiscal year 2016 to begin developing this new capability.
                                        b
                                         Total does not include funding needed to support Air Force plans to modernize three additional EC-
                                        130H aircraft in fiscal years 2017 through 2018 because the Air Force has not yet identified these
                                        funding requirements. However, according to Air Force officials, they expect the 2017 and 2018
                                        modernization budgets to each remain constant with planned fiscal year 2016 funding of $85.5
                                        million.
                                        c
                                          In its fiscal year 2013 budget submission, the Air Force canceled the MQ-9 Reaper Electronic Attack
                                        Pod program. Prior to this cancellation, remaining funding requirements for the program were
                                        expected to total $180.6 million.
                                        d
                                         Total excludes approximately $16.0 million in program funding from the Operations and
                                        Maintenance, Army account, which the Army has used, in part, to lease C-12 aircraft to host the
                                        CEASAR pod. In fiscal year 2013, the Army plans to request an additional $10.3 million in Operations
                                        and Maintenance funding to support these activities.


                                        As table 2 shows, several airborne electronic attack systems are in an
                                        advanced stage of funding. However, under current estimates, over
                                        $6.0 billion in funding is still required to fully deliver these new systems to
                                        the warfighter. Further, the department has not yet identified the full



                                        Page 17                                                                 GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
amount of funding required for certain key systems, such as the Next
Generation Jammer, which could require billions of additional dollars to
field.

Correspondent to their different funding profiles, the department’s new
systems are also in various stages of development, with some
progressing more efficiently than others. Table 3 identifies the mission
role(s), developmental status, and fielding plans for these systems. In
addition, appendix II provides additional details on the status of several of
these programs.




Page 18                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Table 3: DOD’s Progress Developing and Fielding New Airborne Electronic Attack Systems

                                                                                                                   Actual/estimated
System           Mission description     Development status                                                        fielding date
EA-18G           Modified escort         The Navy has fielded EA-18G aircraft with limited cost and schedule       2009
Growler          jamming                 growth to date. Through fiscal year 2011, the Navy placed 90 of the
                                         planned 114 Growler aircraft under production contract. Operational
                                         testing identified suitability concerns, which the Navy has addressed
                                         through software changes. In July 2011, the system completed its first
                                         combat deployment supporting operations in Iraq and Libya. The Navy
                                         continues to develop new software blocks to add aircraft capability.
CEASAR pod       Irregular warfare       In September 2011, the Army initiated an operational assessment of the    2011
                 jamming                 CEASAR system by deploying three pods; two contractor-owned,
                                         government-operated C-12 aircraft; and associated operators and
                                         support personnel to Operation Enduring Freedom. Following this
                                         authorized 1-year assessment, the Army will make a determination on
                                         CEASAR’s readiness to transition into a formal acquisition program.
Large Aircraft   Aircraft self-protection Current acquisition plans add a next generation missile warning          2011
Infrared                                  system to LAIRCM to provide improved detection against infrared
Counter-                                  threat missiles. Recently, the next generation missile warning system
measures                                  completed initial operational test and evaluation, and a full rate
(LAIRCM)                                  production decision is planned for 2012.
IDECM Blocks     Aircraft self-protection IDECM Block 3 entered full rate production in 2011. IDECM Block 4      2011 (Block 3)
3 and 4                                   integrates significant hardware design changes to the ALQ-214 onboard 2014 (Block 4)
                                          jammer component. These changes will enable the system to operate
                                          on F/A-18C/D aircraft, while maintaining the system’s functionality on
                                          F/A-18E/F aircraft. Planned concurrency in the Block 4 testing and
                                          production schedules increases risk of retrofits to delivered systems.
AARGM            Suppression and         Hardware and software failures during operational testing in 2010—and 2012
                 destruction of enemy    subsequent deferral of remaining testing—drove a 9-month fielding
                 air defenses            delay to the system. Manufacturing quality and reliability concerns
                                         prompted the Navy to institute a “fly before you buy” program to screen
                                         poor weapons prior to government acceptance. AARGM recently
                                         resumed operational testing, but the Navy assesses system suitability as
                                         high risk.
Intrepid Tiger II Irregular warfare      The Intrepid Tiger II program is developing 2 pod variants for AV-8B       2012 (Variant 1)
                  jamming                (variant 1) and RQ-7B (variant 2) aircraft. Variant 1 entered operational TBD (Variant 2)
                                         testing in 2011 ahead of planned deployment of initial pods. Design
                                         change costs, including a radio system change, were absorbed by
                                         reducing pod quantities (14 to 8). Variant 2 testing under the
                                         Collaborative On-line Reconnaissance Provider/Operationally
                                         Responsive Attack Link demonstration program concluded in April 2011.
                                         Full performance of variant 2 pods remains unproven due to platform
                                         (RQ-7B) unavailability and integration issues, including susceptibility to
                                         electromagnetic interference.
MALD             Suppression of          MALD operational testing was suspended following anomalies and            2012
                 enemy air defenses      subsequent crashes of test vehicles in June 2010 and February 2011.
                                         System design changes facilitated a return to testing, but an August
                                         2011 test shot also failed. Testing concluded in September 2011.




                                            Page 19                                               GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                                                                                                                           Actual/estimated
System             Mission description   Development status                                                                fielding date
MALD-J             Stand-in jamming      MALD-J employs the same flight vehicle as MALD, with slight              2012
                                         differences to account for inclusion of a jammer. The Air Force approved
                                         MALD-J entry into low rate initial production in September 2011, with
                                         planned production start in May 2012. Operational testing has been
                                         reduced from 15 to 7 months in an attempt to mitigate program delays
                                         resulting from MALD design deficiencies. DOD states this reflects an
                                         increase in test range priority and a decrease in data turnaround time.
MALD-J             Stand-in jamming      Funding shortfalls curtailed Air Force plans to award a technology                N/A
Increment II                             development contract in fall 2011 for MALD-J sensitivity and jamming
                                         power improvements—key capability gains intrinsic to Increment II. The
                                         program was later canceled In the fiscal year 2013 budget submission.
EC-130H            Stand-off jamming     Baseline 2 modernization—currently scheduled for 8 of the Air Force’s             2014 (Baseline 2)
Compass Call       (communications)      planned 15 EC-130H aircraft—adds new capabilities including improved              2017 (Baseline 3)
(Baselines 2                             special purpose emitter array transmitters and addresses aircraft
and 3)                                   obsolescence issues. Modification work on the first of these 8 aircraft
                                         began in fiscal year 2011, with 3 more aircraft following in fiscal year
                                         2012. The Air Force is currently studying configuration options for
                                         Baseline 3, which officials expect to install on 7 EC-130H aircraft.
                                                                                                                                 b
F-35 Lightning     Penetrating escort    F-35 entered low rate initial production in 2007 and has since                    TBD
II (Joint Strike                         experienced significant cost growth and schedule delays. Development
Fighter)                                 challenges caused the program to be restructured in 2010, triggering a
                                                                       a
                                         Nunn-McCurdy cost breach. GAO has repeatedly expressed concerns
                                         about the F-35’s technology maturity and design stability. The program
                                         revised its testing plan and is making progress against a new schedule.
MQ-9 Reaper        Irregular warfare     Prior to cancelling the program in its fiscal year 2013 budget submission, N/A
Electronic         jamming               the Air Force planned to integrate electronic attack pods on Block 5 MQ-
Attack Pod                               9 aircraft—the first units expected to have sufficient power to operate the
                                         pods. Program officials stated that electromagnetic interference caused
                                         by the pods jamming the MQ-9 command and control systems posed a
                                         key technical challenge. The program entered technology maturation
                                         phase in 2010 and planned to award an engineering and manufacturing
                                         development contract in 2013.
Next               Modified escort       The Navy plans to award technology development contracts for the       2020 (Mid-band)
Generation         jamming               system in the third quarter of fiscal year 2013, with award of an      2022 (Low-band)
Jammer                                   engineering and manufacturing development contract to follow in 2015.                  c
                                         In November 2010—based on findings from the system’s analysis of       2024 (High-band)
                                         alternatives—Navy leadership directed the program to pursue a block
                                         approach to developing capability, whereby mid-, low-, and high-band
                                         jammers would be progressively fielded on EA-18G aircraft and, through
                                         a later increment, F-35 aircraft.

                                            Legend: N/A = not applicable; TBD = to be determined.
                                            Source: GAO analysis of DOD data.
                                            a
                                             A Nunn-McCurdy cost breach occurs when a program’s unit cost exceeds certain statutory
                                            thresholds.
                                            b
                                             F-35 does not currently have an approved fielding date. Prior to the program’s Nunn-McCurdy
                                            breach, the Marine Corps planned to declare initial operational capability for the aircraft in 2012.
                                            However, since the breach, DOD has not yet approved a new acquisition program baseline, and the
                                            services continue to evaluate potential fielding dates for the F-35.
                                            c
                                             Dates provided reflect system fielding plans with EA-18G; fielding dates with F-35 are undetermined.




                                            Page 20                                                    GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Some Programs Are   Some airborne electronic attack acquisition programs have reached
Progressing Well    stable production with limited cost growth or schedule delays. Two
                    primary examples include the following:

                    •   EA-18G Growler: Acquisition of the EA-18G Growler—a modified
                        escort jamming platform designed to carry AN/ALQ-99 and future
                        Next Generation Jammer pods—achieved initial capability in
                        September 2009, consistent with its 2007 baseline schedule.
                        Additionally, program costs per aircraft increased less than one-half of
                        1 percent from 2003 to 2010—an outcome partially attributable to
                        quantity increases from 90 to 114.

                    •   EC-130H Compass Call (Baselines 2 and 3): Modernization of the
                        EC-130H Compass Call is on schedule for fielding a new increment of
                        capability, Baseline 2, in 2014 within available funding limitations.
                        Baseline 2 introduces several new capabilities, including reactive
                        radar response and the Joint Tactical Radio System terminal that has
                        been delayed because of testing challenges. However, Compass Call
                        program officials do not expect the radio system delay to affect the
                        program’s fielding plans for Baseline 2 aircraft. According to the Air
                        Force, cost considerations are a primary criterion in developing EC-
                        130H capability requirements. The program office does not entertain
                        potential aircraft improvements unless those improvements are
                        accompanied by full funding. The Air Force is initiating technology
                        development activities for a subsequent phase of the modernization
                        program, Baseline 3, and plans to begin production of these aircraft in
                        2014, with initial fielding scheduled for 2017.

                    Our previous work has shown that good acquisition outcomes are
                    achieved through the knowledge-based approach to product development
                    that demonstrates high levels of knowledge before significant
                    commitments are made. 8 In essence, knowledge supplants risk over time.
                    This model relies on increasing knowledge when developing new
                    products, separating technology development from product development,
                    and following an evolutionary or incremental approach to product
                    development. In this approach, developers make investment decisions on
                    the basis of specific, measurable levels of knowledge at critical junctures
                    before investing more money and before advancing to the next phase of


                    8
                     GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs,
                    GAO-11-233SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 29, 2011).




                    Page 21                                        GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                    acquisition. The good outcomes on the EA-18G and EC-130H programs
                    can be attributed, in part, to acquisition strategies embodying elements of
                    best practices.

Some Programs Are   Other airborne electronic attack acquisition programs have not
Underperforming     progressed as efficiently, however. These systems have proceeded
                    through product development with lower-than-desired levels of knowledge
                    and subsequently faced technical, design, and production challenges,
                    contributing to significant cost growth, fielding delays or both. Most
                    notably, these systems entered—or are on track to enter—production
                    before completing key development activities, including achievement of
                    stable designs. We previously reported that concurrency in development
                    and production activities limits the ability of an acquisition program to
                    ensure that the system will work as intended and that it can be
                    manufactured efficiently to meet cost, schedule, and quality targets. 9

                    •   MALD/MALD-J: MALD was authorized for low rate initial production
                        in June 2008 with an initial plan for 300 low rate initial production units
                        in two lots, beginning in March 2009. However, testing failures in 2010
                        and 2011—coupled with a desire to avoid a potentially costly break in
                        production—prompted the Air Force to extend MALD low rate initial
                        production by two additional lots and increase total quantities under
                        contract to 836. In September 2011, citing “successful completion of
                        MALD-J engineering and manufacturing development activities,” the
                        Air Force exercised a priced option to upgrade 240 of its planned
                        MALD units to the MALD-J configuration, subsequently decreasing
                        MALD quantities to 596. Because all future production lots are now
                        planned as jammer-configured decoys (MALD-J), the 596 total
                        represents the full MALD procurement—without the program having




                    9
                     GAO, Best Practices: DOD Can Achieve Better Outcomes by Standardizing the Way
                    Manufacturing Risks Are Managed, GAO-10-439 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 22, 2010).




                    Page 22                                        GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
     ever met the criteria necessary to proceed into full rate production. 10
     Since the MALD and MALD-J designs are identical—except for the
     addition of a jammer module to MALD-J—the absence of a proven
     manufacturing process for MALD introduces schedule risk to
     production of MALD-J. 11 This risk is accentuated by continuing
     deficiencies affecting the MALD and MALD-J designs, which have
     required the Air Force to schedule additional developmental flight
     tests for each system in February 2012 to test corrective fixes. To the
     extent that this retesting phase shows a need for additional design
     changes, the Air Force may be forced to revisit its planned May 2012
     production start for MALD-J.

•    AARGM: The Navy authorized low rate initial production of AARGM
     units in September 2008 with initial deliveries scheduled to begin in
     January 2010. A total procurement objective of 1,919 units was set
     and an initial operational capability scheduled for March 2011.
     However, as a result of intermittent hardware and software failures in
     testing, the program was decertified for initial operational test and
     evaluation in September 2010, and low rate initial production
     deliveries were delayed until June 2011. The missile has
     subsequently reentered testing, but significant concerns about the
     system’s reliability remain. Further, Navy officials stated that the
     current program schedule is oriented toward success with virtually no
     margin to accommodate technical deficiencies that may be discovered
     during operational testing. In the event operational testing reveals new
     or lingering major deficiencies, program officials report the planned
     April 2012 fielding date will be at risk, and the Navy may be forced to
     revisit its commitment to the program.




10
  Pursuant to DOD Instruction 5000.02 dated December 8, 2008, low rate initial
production phase is intended to ensure adequate and efficient manufacturing capability
and to produce the minimum quantity necessary to provide production or production-
representative articles for initial operational testing and evaluation. In the case of MALD,
technical deficiencies and design changes during low rate initial production prevented
demonstration of an efficient manufacturing capability, which in turn prevented the system
from meeting the department’s criteria to enter full rate production. Department policy
further states that in order for a system to receive full rate production approval,
(1) demonstrated control of the manufacturing process and acceptable reliability, (2) the
collection of statistical process control data, and (3) demonstrated control and capability of
other critical processes must be shown.
11
  According to DOD officials, any retrofits (design fixes) are under Raytheon (prime
contractor) warranty with no additional cost to the government.




Page 23                                               GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                          •    IDECM: From December 2000 to June 2010, the Navy authorized six
                               different low rate initial production lots of IDECM Blocks 2 and 3,
                               providing system improvements to the jammer and decoy
                               components. Block 2 production units delivered ahead of schedule,
                               but early Block 3 units encountered operational testing failures; later
                               resolved, these failures drove production delays to remaining units. In
                               Block 4, the Navy is introducing significant hardware design changes
                               to the ALQ-214 jammer component. Ground and flight testing to prove
                               out these design changes is scheduled concurrent with transition to
                               production in April 2012, increasing risk that initial Block 4 units will
                               require design changes and retrofits. 12 Officials stated that this
                               concurrency is necessary in order to maintain an efficient production
                               line transition from Block 3 to Block 4 and to meet the desired June
                               2014 fielding date. They further noted that transition to Block 4
                               production will initially be for 19 systems, with production rates
                               increasing to as many as 40 per year following completion of testing.

Planned Systems May       Certain airborne electronic attack systems in development may offer
Offer Capabilities That   capabilities that unnecessarily overlap with one another. This condition
Overlap, Presenting       appears most prevalent with irregular warfare systems that the services
                          are acquiring under DOD’s fragmented urgent operational needs
Opportunities to          processes. For example, the Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force have all
Consolidate Acquisition   separately invested to acquire unique systems intended to jam enemy
Efforts                   communications in support of ground forces. Further, Navy and Air Force
                          plans to separately invest in new expendable decoy jammers—systems
                          intended to counter near-peer adversaries—also appear to overlap.
                          Declining military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan—coupled with recent
                          changes in the Air Force’s MALD-J program—afford opportunities to
                          consolidate current service-specific acquisition activities. The
                          department’s ability to capitalize on these opportunities, however, may be
                          undermined by a lack of designated, joint leadership charged with
                          overseeing electronic warfare acquisition activities.




                          12
                            According to DOD officials, the Navy negotiated a firm fixed price production contract for
                          IDECM Block 4, under which cost risk associated with retrofits is borne by the contractor,
                          without financial burden to the government.




                          Page 24                                              GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Potential Overlap among                    DOD is investing millions of dollars to develop and procure airborne
Irregular Warfare Systems                  electronic attack systems uniquely suited for irregular warfare operations.
Driven by Service-Specific                 Services are acquiring these systems under both rapid acquisition
Solutions to Urgent Warfighting            authorities as well as through the traditional acquisition process. These
Needs                                      systems overlap—at least to some extent—in terms of planned mission
                                           tasks and technical challenges to date. Yet, they have been developed as
                                           individual programs by the different services. Table 4 highlights overlap
                                           among three of these systems.

Table 4: Potential Overlap among Communications Jamming Systems Supporting Ground Forces

                                                                                                         MQ-9 Reaper Electronic
System name        Intrepid Tiger II                            CEASAR Pod                               Attack Pod
Service sponsor    Marine Corps                                 Army                                     Air Force
                                                            a
Host platform      Variant 1: AV-8B fixed wing aircraft         C-12 fixed wing aircraft                 MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial
                   Variant 2: RQ-7B unmanned aerial                                                      vehicle
                   vehicle
Mission            Communications jamming and                   Denial and disruption of enemy           Communications and improvised
description        surveillance capability in support of        communications systems and               explosive device jamming in support
                   ground forces                                improvised explosive devices in          of combatant commander mission
                                                                support of unit-level ground             needs
                                                                commanders
Technical status   Program recently completed                   Electromagnetic Interference             The Air Force canceled this program
                   compatibility testing for variant 1 to       issues—resulting from continuous         in its fiscal year 2013 budget
                   identify potential electromagnetic           low frequency jamming—were               submission. Prior to cancellation,
                   interference issues and reduce               identified in testing, subsequently      program officials anticipated
                   system fratricide. Interoperability          causing impairment to aircraft           potential MQ-9 electromagnetic
                   testing will not be completed until          navigation and communications            interference issues caused by the
                   after the system has achieved early          systems. According to Army               jamming pod that could interfere
                   operational capability (fielding).           officials, these challenges have         with the aircraft’s communications
                   Initial testing of variant 2 revealed        been overcome with solutions             link to ground station controllers.
                   electromagnetic interference with            proven during the system’s recent
                   the RQ-7B’s safety of flight systems         2011 operational assessment.
                   as well as aircrew system feedback
                   and usability issues with the
                   electronic attack payload system
                   interface.
                                                                               b                                         c
Estimated          $76.8 million                                $13.8 million                            $233.7 million
acquisition cost
                                           Source: GAO analysis of DOD data.
                                           a
                                            Integration and fielding on AV-8B aircraft represent minimum (threshold) requirements for the
                                           Intrepid Tiger II (Variant 1) pod. Beginning in fiscal year 2012, the Marine Corps plans to transition
                                           Intrepid Tiger II (Variant 1) to other fixed and rotary wing aircraft, including the F/A-18C/D.
                                           b
                                            Total excludes $26.3 million in funding from the Operations and Maintenance, Army budget account
                                           through fiscal year 2013. The Army uses these funds to (1) lease two C-12 aircraft to fly the CEASAR
                                           pod and (2) fund aircraft and pod sustainment costs.
                                           c
                                            Reflects estimated acquisition cost prior to program cancellation.




                                           Page 25                                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
According to DOD officials, airborne electronic attack limitations in recent
operations, urgent needs of combatant commanders, and the desire to
provide ground units with their own locally controlled assets have all
contributed to service decisions to individually develop their own systems
to address irregular warfare threats. For example, one Marine Corps
official told us that his service is focused on increasing its airborne
electronic attack capacity to meet Marine Air-Ground Task Force
requirements in combat. Marine Corps systems typically equipped to
perform these tasks—especially the EA-6B Prowler aircraft—have
reached their capacity limits responding to combatant commander
taskings. Similarly, Air Force officials stated that ground warfighter
requests for airborne electronic attack capabilities sometimes go
unfulfilled or are delayed because of the overall constrained capacity
during current operations. Further, Army and Marine Corps officials see
operational benefits to providing ground unit commanders with smaller
airborne electronic attack assets—permanently integrated within the
unit—to free up Air Force and Navy assets for larger-scale missions. In
addition, the capabilities offered by current jamming pods, such as the
AN/ALQ-99, are often overkill for the irregular warfare mission needs—
such as counter-improvised explosive device activities—facing ground
unit commanders.

Requirements for several of these irregular warfare systems were derived
from DOD urgent needs processes—activities aimed at rapidly
developing, equipping, and fielding solutions and critical capabilities to the
warfighter in a way that is more responsive to urgent requests than the
department’s traditional acquisition procedures. As we previously
reported, the department’s urgent needs processes often lead to multiple
entities responding to requests for similar capabilities, resulting in
potential duplication of efforts. 13 Even under these circumstances, the
services have shown it is possible to take steps to share technical
information among the different programs and services. For instance, the
Army’s CEASAR pod is derived from the AN/ALQ-227 communications
jammer used on the Navy’s EA-18G—an attribute that Army officials state
reduced design risk in the program and provided opportunities for
decreased sustainment costs and reuse of jamming techniques between
the two services. Similarly, Air Force efforts to develop electronic attack


13
  GAO, Warfighter Support: DOD’s Urgent Needs Processes Need a More
Comprehensive Approach and Evaluation for Potential Consolidation, GAO-11-273
(Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 2011).




Page 26                                         GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                              pods flown on MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (prior to that
                              program’s cancellation) leveraged previous technology investments for
                              the canceled B-52-based stand-off jammer.

                              As military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down—and the
                              services evaluate whether to transition their current urgent needs
                              programs over to the formal weapon system acquisition process—
                              opportunities may exist to consolidate program activities, such as the
                              Intrepid Tiger II and CEASAR systems that are still demonstration
                              programs whose transitions to formal acquisition programs have not yet
                              been determined.

Navy and Air Force Have Not   The potential for unnecessary overlap in efforts within the airborne
Agreed on a Common Decoy      electronic attack area is not limited to irregular warfare systems. With
Solution                      respect to near-peer systems, both the Air Force and Navy are separately
                              pursuing advanced jamming decoys—the Air Force through its MALD-J
                              program, and the Navy through its planned Airborne Electronic Attack
                              Expendable initiative.

                              The two services have held discussions with one another about
                              combining efforts toward a joint solution, including a meeting between
                              Navy and Air Force requirements offices and acquisition officials in
                              December 2010, but they have not yet reached resolution on a common
                              path forward. According to Navy officials, relatively minor design and
                              software modifications to what was a planned second increment to the Air
                              Force’s MALD-J system could produce a system that satisfies both
                              services’ mission requirements. However, Air Force officials stated that
                              accommodating the Navy’s mission requirements within the system would
                              increase program costs and delay planned fielding of the Increment II
                              system, essentially rendering the planned program unexecutable.
                              Subsequently, Air Force officials stated that unless Increment II, in its
                              planned configuration, sufficiently met Navy requirements, they did not
                              expect the Navy to have any formal role in the program. In July 2011,
                              however, the Air Force suspended MALD-J Increment II activities
                              because of a lack of future funding availability. In February 2012, the Air
                              Force’s fiscal year 2013 budget submission officially canceled the
                              program. 14 This cancellation affords an opportunity for continued dialogue


                              14
                                According to DOD, the Air Force is to provide a new plan for developing and procuring
                              an Increment II variant of MALD-J and report to the Deputy Secretary of Defense by
                              March 30, 2012.




                              Page 27                                            GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                             between the two services on the potential benefits and drawbacks to
                             pursuing a common acquisition solution.

Leadership Deficiencies      In 2009, DOD completed a capabilities analysis that cited electromagnetic
Undermine the Department’s   spectrum leadership as the highest priority among 34 capability gaps
Ability to Reduce Overlap    identified. The study concluded, in part, that leadership deficiencies, or its
                             absence, significantly impede the department from both identifying
                             departmentwide needs and solutions and eliminating potentially
                             unnecessary overlap among the services’ airborne electronic attack
                             acquisitions. Specifically, the department lacks a designated, joint entity
                             to both coordinate internal activities and represent electronic warfare
                             activities and interests to outside organizations. Acknowledging this
                             leadership gap, and its relation to acquisition activities, the department
                             has initiated efforts to organize the Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum
                             Coordination Center under the leadership of U.S. Strategic Command. In
                             addition, officials representing the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
                             Defense for Research and Engineering stated that they are considering
                             actions they might take to improve leadership and oversight of electronic
                             warfare acquisition activities across the services. In a separate report, we
                             intend to evaluate planned and existing electronic warfare governance
                             structures within DOD.


Planned Systems Will Not     Notwithstanding the considerable investment over the years in new and
Fully Address Capability     enhanced airborne electronic attack systems and subsystems, capability
Gaps                         gaps, some identified a decade ago, are expected to persist, or even
                             increase, through 2030 as adversary capabilities continue to advance. In
                             a series of studies since 2002, DOD identified existing current and
                             anticipated gaps in required capabilities. Some have persisted for years—
                             for example, deficiencies in certain jamming capabilities to provide cover
                             for penetrating combat aircraft. The analyses found that, in many cases,
                             new materiel solutions were required to close these gaps. Table 5
                             outlines primary findings from three major analyses.




                             Page 28                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Table 5: Primary Airborne Electronic Attack Capability Needs Identified since 2002

                                    Analysis
 Capabilities analysis              sponsor          Needs identified
 Airborne Electronic                Office of the    Stand-in and core component jamming
 Attack Analysis of                 Secretary of     capability needs identified. The analysis
 Alternatives (2002)                Defense          outlined 27 potential platform combinations to
                                                     address these needs.
 Initial Capabilities               Air Force        Identified Air Force needs for materiel
 Document for Denying                                solutions to provide stand-off and modified
 Enemy Awareness                                     escort jamming, in light of the then-pending
 through Airborne                                    retirement of Navy EA-6B Prowler aircraft.
 Electronic Attack                                   The document also identified penetrating
 (2004)                                              escort and stand-in jamming capability needs
                                                     unique to the Air Force, while identifying
                                                     potential materiel solutions.
 Electronic Warfare                 U.S. Strategic   Identified 34 electronic warfare enterprise-
 Initial Capabilities               Command          wide capability gaps. Fifteen of these gaps
 Document (2009)                                     relate directly to the airborne electronic attack
                                                     mission area. The study concluded that of
                                                     these 15 gaps, 7 require new materiel
                                                     solutions. Top priority is fixing leadership
                                                     shortfalls.
Source: GAO analysis of DOD data.



The 2002 analysis identified needs for stand-in and core component
jamming capabilities and suggested numerous ways to meet these. The
2004 study revalidated these gaps and outlined 10 potential materiel
solutions to fill those gaps. It also acknowledged the existence of both
near-peer and irregular warfare threats requiring airborne electronic
attack solutions. The Army and Marine Corps requested that the analysis
address irregular warfare threats because of the growing concern over
improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan and the suboptimal
application of existing systems in the inventory to defeat those threats.
The Air Force concluded in its analysis that fulfilling airborne electronic
attack mission needs would require developing and fielding multiple new
systems.

The most recent study, U.S. Strategic Command’s Electronic Warfare
Initial Capabilities Document, identified additional capability gaps affecting
airborne electronic attack. This 2009 analysis built upon a capabilities-
based assessment completed a year earlier and outlined mitigation
strategies to address these gaps instead of merely prescribing specific
platform solutions. This approach was consistent with the analysis’s
charter to guide and inform the services’ acquisition programs. However,
the analysis did recommend specific capabilities and system attributes for



Page 29                                                       GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                            the Next Generation Jammer program to consider that would assist in
                            mitigating some of the gaps identified in the 2009 analysis. The analysis
                            also concluded that new systems would be needed to close nearly half of
                            the gaps identified in airborne electronic attack capabilities.


                            To supplement its acquisition of new systems, DOD is undertaking other
Improvements to             efforts to bridge existing airborne electronic attack capability gaps. In the
Tactics, Techniques,        near term, services are evolving their tactics, techniques, and procedures
                            for operating existing systems to enable them to take on additional
and Procedures and          mission tasks. These activities maximize the utility of existing systems
Investments in              and better position operators to complete missions with equipment
Science and                 currently available. Longer-term solutions, however, depend on the
                            department successfully capitalizing on its investments in science and
Technology Are              technology. DOD has recently taken actions that begin to address long-
Helping to Bridge           standing coordination shortfalls in this area including designating
                            electronic warfare as a priority area for investment and creating a steering
Gaps                        council to link capability gaps to research initiatives. However, these
                            steps do not preclude services from funding their own research priorities
                            ahead of departmentwide priorities. DOD’s planned implementation
                            roadmap for electronic warfare offers an opportunity to assess how
                            closely component research investments are aligned to the
                            departmentwide electronic warfare priority.

Changing Tactics,           The refinement of tactics, techniques, and procedures can position the
Techniques, and             services to maximize the capabilities of existing systems while new
Procedures for Existing     capabilities are being developed. As Navy airborne electronic attack
                            operators stated, when a capability gap requiring a new system is
Systems Can Mitigate Gaps   identified, warfighters generally do not have the luxury of waiting for the
in the Near Term            acquisition community to develop and field a system to fill that gap. In the
                            interim, tactics, techniques, and procedures for existing systems must
                            evolve to provide at least partial mitigation to the threat being faced.
                            Development and refinement of new ways to use existing equipment
                            allow the services to maximize the utility of their airborne electronic attack
                            systems and leave them better positioned to complete missions with the
                            assets they have available. The following two systems provide examples
                            where operator communities have refined tactics, techniques, and
                            procedures to meet emerging threats:

                            •   AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System: Navy officials told us that
                                threats encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan operations have driven
                                significant changes to how the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System
                                is employed. In essence, tactics, techniques, and procedures for the


                            Page 30                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                                system had to evolve to maximize the system’s capabilities against
                                irregular warfare threats. According to Navy officials, however, these
                                adaptations represent only a temporary solution as their application—
                                coupled with increased operational activity—has caused jamming
                                pods to degrade and burn out at an increasing rate, subsequently
                                increasing maintenance requirements for the system.

                            •   EC-130H Compass Call: According to Air Force officials, EC-130H
                                tactics, techniques, and procedures have rapidly evolved to
                                encompass dynamically changing electronic attack threats, which
                                include irregular warfare. These changes include modifications to both
                                how the operator employs the aircraft as well as to the range of
                                threats targeted by mission planners.

                            Both Navy and Air Force officials emphasized that sustained investments
                            in tactics, techniques, and procedures offer considerable return on
                            investment and can provide important, near-term solutions to longer-term,
                            persistent threats. According to these officials, these investments position
                            operators to “do more with less”—in effect, offer them the opportunity to
                            mitigate or counteract a threat without the required new system. However,
                            limits exist to the extent to which refinements to current operating
                            approaches for existing systems can bridge capability gaps. For example,
                            it is increasingly difficult to further optimize AN/ALQ-99 jamming pods to
                            counter advanced, integrated air defense systems. Specifically, Navy
                            officials stated that the AN/ALQ-99 has reached its limit in terms of the
                            underlying architecture’s capability to grow to counter new, sophisticated
                            types of threats.


DOD Focusing Science and    Investment in the science and technology research base is a longer-term
Technology Investments to   approach DOD uses to address capability gaps in mission areas.
Close Gaps in the Long      Electronic warfare, including airborne electronic attack, is supported by
                            research investments in fields such as sensors, apertures, power
Term, but Coordination      amplifiers, and unmanned aircraft technology that may help address
Remains a Concern           existing capability gaps. Service components categorize research
                            investments differently from one another, which complicates efforts to
                            clearly define funding devoted to airborne electronic attack. Table 6
                            identifies some of DOD’s current airborne electronic attack-related
                            research investments.




                            Page 31                                     GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Table 6: Current DOD Science and Technology Initiatives Related to Airborne
Electronic Attack

                                                  Examples of funded
 Agency                   Acquisition vehicle     programs/fields           Budgeted funds
 Office of Naval          Long-range broad        Electronics, Sensors, &   A total of $4.0 million
 Research                 agency                  Network Research          in fiscal year 2011
                          announcement            Receivers & Antennas      for all electronic
                                                                            warfare research,
                                                  Power Amplifiers          but new plans are to
                                                                            increase this amount
                                                                            to approximately
                                                                            $24.0 million
                                                                            annually
 Air Force                Research interests of   Electro-Energetic         A total of
 Research                 the office’s broad      Physics                   $29.7 million in fiscal
 Laboratory               agency                  Materials &               year 2011 for all
                          announcement            Metamaterials             electronic warfare
                                                                            research, decreasing
                                                  Receiver Technology       to $24.2 million in
                                                                            fiscal year 2012, with
                                                                            plans to increase
                                                                            funding in fiscal year
                                                                            2013
 Defense         Project-specific broad           Behavioral Learning for   A total of
 Advanced        agency                           Adaptive Electronic       $20.7 million in fiscal
 Research        announcements                    Warfare                   year 2011 and
 Projects Agency                                  Precision Electronic      $18.8 million in fiscal
 (DARPA)                                          Warfare                   year 2012 for these
                                                                            two electronic
                                                                            warfare research
                                                                            programs
Source: GAO analysis of DOD data.



However, not all investments in these fields will necessarily improve
airborne electronic attack capabilities. Research officials identify the
transition to system development and procurement as one of the primary
goals of defense research programs, but acknowledge, reasonably, that
not every program will successfully develop a transitionable product.
Some acquisition programs, such as the Next Generation Jammer and
the MQ-9 Reaper Electronic Attack Pod, invest directly in research to
guide the transition process and increase the likelihood of success. But
even with this direct attention, technology maturation and development for
Next Generation Jammer is expected to last 8 to 9 years. Consequently,
current science and technology initiatives represent a long-term
investment in future capabilities and are less suited to meeting existing
needs.




Page 32                                                    GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
DOD analyses during the past decade have identified coordination
deficiencies that constrain the department’s ability to capitalize on its
science and technology investments. For instance, a 2005 Naval
Research Advisory Committee report found that within the Navy, research
and development efforts were unduly fragmented, with one laboratory or
development activity often being unaware of what another was doing. 15
Further, this study highlighted the lack of a long-range science and
technology investment planning process within the Navy. Similarly, in
2007, the Defense Science Board reported that although relevant and
valuable science and technology activity was occurring, an overarching,
departmentwide strategic technology plan with assigned responsibility,
accountability, and metrics did not exist. 16 According to the board, DOD’s
science and technology activities and investments should be more
directly informed by the department’s strategic goals and top-level
missions—an objective that would require a closer coupling of
technologists and users, including requirements and capabilities
developers. A 2010 Naval Research Advisory Committee report 17 built on
previous findings noted that stewardship of long-term naval capabilities
was “vague at best” and lacked specific organizational assignment. 18 The
report recognized the Navy as having the lead role within DOD for
electronic warfare, but identified sporadic and uncoordinated execution
across the technical community—noting little evidence of engagement
among the science and technology community at large. Further, the
report advised that closer coordination between operational and technical
communities was essential for the realization of desired long-term
capabilities.

DOD has recently taken actions that begin to address these shortfalls,
including formalizing existing investment processes for several key
science and technology areas. Most notably, in April 2011 the Secretary


15
  Naval Research Advisory Committee, Science and Technology for Naval Warfare 2015-
2030, NRAC-05-3 (Arlington, Va.: August 2005).
16
 Defense Science Board, 2006 Summer Study on 21st Century Strategic Technology
Vectors (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 1, 2007).
17
 Naval Research Advisory Committee, Status and Future of the Naval R&D
Establishment (Arlington, Va.: September 2010).
18
  The report characterized long-term naval capabilities as the “Navy-After-Next.” Navy-
After-Next represented concepts, platforms, and systems that had yet to be conceived,
defined, or both, and for which there was no program of record.




Page 33                                             GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
of Defense designated electronic warfare as one of seven priority areas
for science and technology investment from fiscal years 2013 through
2017. According to officials from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)), this designation
carries the promise of increased research funding and has prompted
chartering of the interdepartmental Electronic Warfare Priority Steering
Council. This council is made up of research officials from ASD (R&E),
the services, and various defense science and technology groups, such
as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and is charged with
effectively evaluating electronic warfare capability gaps and linking them
with research initiatives necessary to fill them. To support this process,
the council is developing an implementation roadmap to guide
coordination of investments within the electronic warfare area. The
council also facilitates ASD(R&E) coordination with requirements teams
and service/external research offices to determine the specific fields of
inquiry that will be needed to support planning for future electronic
warfare capability needs. Previously, this coordination was handled
informally, whereas the new council provides authority and visibility to the
discussions and decisions made.

Notwithstanding these important steps, services may inevitably face
situations where they have to choose between funding their own, service-
specific research priorities and funding departmentwide priorities. As the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering testified in
2011, DOD’s seven priority areas for science and technology investment
are meant to be in addition to the priorities outlined by individual
components (i.e., service research agencies and DARPA). 19 In other
words, departmentwide science and technology priorities do not
necessarily supplant service priorities. Absent strategic direction,
however, services have generally been inclined to pursue their own
research interests ahead of departmentwide pursuits. DOD’s planned
implementation roadmap for electronic warfare offers opportunities to
assess how closely component research investments are aligned to the
departmentwide electronic warfare priority and to coordinate component
investments in electronic warfare.




19
  Testimony of the Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Research and Engineering, in a hearing before the House Committee on Armed Services,
Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, on March 1, 2011.




Page 34                                          GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
              The rapidity of evolving threats, together with the time and cost
Conclusions   associated with fielding new systems, creates a major challenge to DOD
              and its capacity to fill all of its capability gaps. This dynamic makes it
              imperative that the department get the most out of its electronic warfare
              investments. At this point, that does not appear to be the case. The
              systems being acquired have problems and will not deliver as expected;
              potential overlap, to the extent that it leads to covering some gaps
              multiple ways while leaving others uncovered, drains buying power from
              the money that is available; and DOD acknowledges a leadership void
              that makes it difficult to ascertain whether the current level of investment
              is optimally matched with the existing capability gaps.

              Within the airborne electronic attack mission area, budgetary pressures
              and related program cancellations prompted the department to change its
              acquisition strategy from a system of systems construct—as underpinned
              by the 2002 analysis of alternatives—to a potentially less robust, but more
              affordable, family of systems. In addition, new systems, including AARGM
              and MALD, that are designed to replace or augment legacy assets have
              encountered technical challenges while in acquisition, subsequently
              requiring the services to delay fielding plans within each program. Other
              acquisition programs, including IDECM and MALD-J, are structured with a
              high degree of concurrency between development, production, and
              testing that position them for similar suboptimal outcomes. Although
              individual service decisions to delay or cancel underperforming or
              resource-intensive programs may be fiscally prudent, the cumulative
              effect of these decisions creates uncertainty as to when, or if, current
              departmentwide airborne electronic attack capability gaps can be filled. At
              present, even if the department successfully acquires the full complement
              of systems outlined in its family of systems strategy, some capability gaps
              identified a decade ago may persist. As such, the department can benefit
              from reevaluating its capability gaps—using structures like the new
              Electronic Warfare Priority Steering Council—to identify which ones are
              highest priorities for science and technology investment and to determine
              areas where it is more willing to accept mission risk. This analysis, when
              coupled with an examination of current service-specific science and
              technology investments, can position DOD to realize improved
              efficiencies in its electronic warfare research activities and better align
              constrained budgets with highest-priority needs. Additionally, because
              underperformance in acquisition programs exacerbates existing capability
              gaps, realistic assessments of higher-risk programs can provide needed
              insight into what capabilities each platform is likely to deliver and when.
              Shortfalls in acquisition should not be the deciding factor on which
              capability gaps the department accepts.


              Page 35                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                      At the same time, services continue to pursue and invest in multiple
                      separate airborne electronic attack systems that potentially overlap with
                      one another. This overlap is most evident in irregular warfare systems,
                      including the Marine Corps’s Intrepid Tiger II and the Army’s CEASAR
                      systems, but is also present in Air Force and Navy efforts to develop
                      expendable jamming decoys through their respective MALD-J and
                      Airborne Electronic Attack Expendable initiatives. Pursuing multiple
                      separate acquisition efforts to develop similar capabilities can result in the
                      same capability gap being filled twice or more, can lead to inefficient use
                      of resources, and may contribute to other warfighting needs going
                      unfilled. Leveraging resources and acquisition efforts across services—
                      not just by sharing information, but through shared partnerships and
                      investments—can simplify developmental efforts, can improve
                      interoperability among systems and combat forces, and could decrease
                      future operating and support costs. Such successful outcomes can
                      position the department to maximize the returns it gets on its airborne
                      electronic attack investments.


                      We recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following five
Recommendations for   actions:
Executive Action
                      •   Given airborne electronic attack programmatic and threat changes
                          since 2002, complete the following:
                          •   Conduct program reviews for the AARGM, IDECM, MALD, and
                              MALD-J systems to assess cost, schedule, and performance and
                              direct changes within these investments, as necessary.
                          •   Determine the extent to which the most pressing airborne
                              electronic attack capability gaps can best be met—using the
                              assets that are likely to be available—and take steps to fill any
                              potential gaps.
                          •   Align service investments in science and technology with the
                              departmentwide electronic warfare priority, recognizing that
                              budget realities will likely require trade-offs among research areas,
                              and direct changes, as necessary.

                      •   To ensure that investments in airborne electronic attack systems are
                          cost-effective and to prevent unnecessary overlap, take the following
                          actions:
                          •   Review the capabilities provided by the Marine Corps’s Intrepid
                              Tiger II and Army’s CEASAR systems and identify opportunities
                              for consolidating these efforts, as appropriate.




                      Page 36                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
                         •     Assess Air Force and Navy plans for developing and acquiring
                               new expendable jamming decoys, specifically those services’
                               respective MALD-J and Airborne Electronic Attack Expendable
                               initiatives, to determine if these activities should be merged.

                     We provided a draft of this report to DOD for comment. In its written
Agency Comments      comments, which are reprinted in appendix III, DOD concurred with three
and Our Evaluation   of our recommendations and partially concurred with two
                     recommendations. DOD also provided technical comments that we
                     incorporated into the report, as appropriate.

                     DOD concurred with our first recommendation to conduct program
                     reviews for the AARGM, IDECM, MALD, and MALD-J systems and direct
                     changes within these investments, as necessary, identifying a March
                     2012 Navy review of the IDECM program and planned July 2012 Navy
                     review of the AARGM system. For MALD and MALD-J, DOD plans to
                     conduct a program review in early 2014, which will coincide with a
                     planned full rate production decision for MALD-J. In the interim, DOD
                     intends to continue low rate initial production of MALD-J units. However,
                     because MALD has experienced significant technical challenges within
                     the past 2 years, and because DOD plans to invest an additional $176.9
                     million toward MALD-J production through fiscal year 2014, we believe an
                     earlier review may be warranted. In its written comments, DOD also
                     stated that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic and
                     Tactical Systems will chair a meeting to review AARGM, IDECM, MALD,
                     and MALD-J with the Navy and Air Force to verify progress, but it did not
                     provide a timetable for this review.

                     DOD also concurred with our second recommendation to determine the
                     extent to which the most pressing airborne electronic attack capability
                     gaps can best be met—using the assets that are likely to be available—
                     and take steps to fill any potential gaps. Most notably, DOD cited plans
                     for U.S. Strategic Command to annually assess all DOD electronic
                     warfare capabilities—including current requirements, current and planned
                     future capabilities, and the supporting investment strategy—and present
                     this assessment to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Further,
                     DOD concurred with our third recommendation to align service
                     investments in science and technology with the departmentwide
                     electronic warfare priority, noting in its written comments that it expects
                     implementation roadmaps for priority areas (including electronic warfare)
                     will serve to coordinate component investments and accelerate the
                     development and delivery of capabilities.



                     Page 37                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
DOD partially concurred with our two recommendations related to
potentially unnecessary overlap among airborne electronic attack
systems, identifying through its written comments plans for the Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic and Tactical Systems to
review the Intrepid Tiger and CEASAR systems with the Marine Corps
and Army to investigate the efficacy of additional coordination as future
acquisition plans are evaluated. Similarly, DOD noted that following the
expected March 30, 2012, completion of a new Air Force plan related to
developing and procuring an Increment II variant of MALD-J, the Office of
the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and
Logistics; Office of the Director, Cost Assessment and Program
Evaluation; and Joint Staff would review Air Force and Navy plans and
assess opportunities for coordination among the MALD-J and Airborne
Electronic Attack Expendable initiatives, should funding be allocated for a
future expendables program. However, the basis for DOD’s partial
agreement on these two recommendations appears to stem from its
desire to achieve efficiencies through increased coordination among
programs—not through consolidation of systems possessing similar
capabilities. We emphasize that coordination is not a substitute for
consolidation—particularly in the current constrained budget
environment—and we encourage DOD to expand the scope of its
planned reviews to include assessments of potential unnecessary
redundancies within these two sets of systems.

Additionally, DOD commented that our draft report overstated the
acquisition duplication among airborne electronic attack systems. Most
notably, DOD pointed to its cancellations of the MQ-9 Electronic Attack
Pod and MALD-J Increment II programs, as outlined in its fiscal year 2013
budget submission, as evidence that duplication was being managed.
These cancellations were announced after we had completed our work
and drafted the report. During the period that our draft report was with the
agency for comment, we revised our report and recommendations, in
coordination with DOD, to account for these recent changes. Most
notably, we revised our fourth and fifth recommendations to remove the
newly canceled MQ-9 Electronic Attack Pod and MALD-J Increment II
systems, respectively, as additional platforms where DOD may identify
opportunities for consolidation. DOD’s written comments were
subsequently crafted in response to our revised set of recommendations.
As noted above, opportunities to reduce duplication further remain. We
also briefly introduced the Marine Air Ground Task Force Electronic
Warfare concept, in response to DOD’s comments, while further clarifying
that our report did not evaluate ground- or ship-based electronic warfare
systems.


Page 38                                     GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
DOD also commented that our characterization of the family of systems
strategy for airborne electronic attack was misleading, stating that the
system of systems synergies envisioned in 2002 continue to be pursued.
We acknowledge that DOD is considering options to field additional
systems against high-end threats, but we believe that the current
acquisition strategy and its distributed approach is very much in line with
the definition of a family of systems, as outlined by DOD. 20 When DOD
embarked on the system of systems strategy in 2002, it envisioned
fielding certain major systems, such as B-52 Standoff Jammer and
J-UCAS, which were later canceled. Without these planned elements,
there is no evidence to suggest that the remaining systems together
possess capability beyond the additive sum of the individual capabilities
of its members—a characteristic fundamental to a system of systems.

We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional
committees, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the
Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force. In addition, the
report is available at no charge on the GAO website at
http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-4841 or sullivanm@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major contributions to
this report are listed in appendix IV.




Michael J. Sullivan
Director
Acquisition and Sourcing Management



20
 Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology,
Systems and Software Engineering, Systems Engineering Guide for Systems of Systems,
Version 1.0 (Washington, D.C.: August 2008).




Page 39                                         GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




             This report evaluates the Department of Defense’s (DOD) airborne
             electronic attack capabilities and investment plans. 1 Specifically, we
             assessed (1) the department’s strategy for acquiring airborne electronic
             attack capabilities, (2) progress made developing and fielding systems to
             meet airborne electronic attack mission requirements, and (3) additional
             compensating actions taken by the department to address capability
             gaps, including improvements to tactics, techniques, and procedures and
             investments in science and technology.

             To assess the department’s strategy for acquiring airborne electronic
             attack capabilities, we analyzed DOD’s documents outlining mission
             requirements and acquisition needs, including the 2002 Airborne
             Electronic Attack Analysis of Alternatives, 2004 Initial Capabilities
             Document for Denying Enemy Awareness through Airborne Electronic
             Attack, 2008 Electronic Warfare Capabilities-Based Assessment, 2009
             Electronic Warfare Initial Capabilities Document, and 2010 Electronic
             Warfare Strategy of the Department of Defense report to Congress. We
             also reviewed platform-specific capabilities documents, service roadmaps
             related to airborne electronic attack, and budget documents to
             understand how the family of systems construct evolved over time. To
             identify capability limitations and sustainment challenges facing current
             airborne electronic attack systems, we reviewed program briefings and
             acquisition documentation related to these systems. To further
             corroborate documentary evidence and obtain additional information in
             support of our review, we conducted interviews with relevant DOD
             officials responsible for managing airborne electronic attack requirements
             and overseeing the related family of systems, including officials in the
             Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and
             Logistics; Office of the Director, Cost Assessment and Program
             Evaluation; Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research,
             Development and Acquisition; Office of the Chief of Naval Operations—
             Information Dominance and Air Warfare directorates; Office of the
             Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; Air Force Office of the
             Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Requirements—
             Electronic Warfare division; Air Force Air Combat Command; Army Office
             of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Training—
             Electronic Warfare division; Marine Air-Ground Task Force Electronic



             1
              As agreed upon with our congressional requesters, this report does not evaluate ground-
             or ship-based electronic warfare systems.




             Page 40                                            GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




Warfare; U.S. Strategic Command; and Joint Staff. We also held
discussions with DOD officials responsible for sustaining current airborne
electronic attack systems, including officials in (1) Navy program offices
for Airborne Electronic Attack, Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection
Systems, Direct and Time Sensitive Strike, and Aerial Target and Decoy
Systems and (2) Air Force offices, including the F-22A Raptor and F-
16CM program offices and Warner Robins Air Logistics Center.

To assess progress made developing and fielding systems to meet
airborne electronic attack mission requirements, we analyzed documents
outlining acquisition plans, costs, and performance outcomes, including
capabilities documents, program schedules, test reports, budget
submissions, system acquisition reports, and program briefings. These
same materials afforded information on key attributes of individual
airborne electronic attack systems, which we used to assess potential
overlap among systems in development. Further, we identified persisting
airborne electronic attack capability gaps by reviewing the 2009
Electronic Warfare Initial Capabilities Document, along with earlier
analyses related to airborne electronic attack requirements, and
compared the capability needs identified in those documents with current
DOD investments in airborne electronic attack capabilities. To
supplement our analyses and gain additional visibility into these issues,
we conducted interviews with relevant DOD officials responsible for
managing airborne electronic attack requirements, including officials in
the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations—Information Dominance and
Air Warfare directorates; Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force
for Acquisition; Air Force Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for
Operations, Plans, and Requirements—Electronic Warfare division; Air
Force Air Combat Command; Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for
Operations, Plans, and Training—Electronic Warfare division; Marine Air-
Ground Task Force Electronic Warfare; U.S. Strategic Command; and
Joint Staff. We also held numerous interviews with DOD officials primarily
responsible for developing, acquiring, and testing airborne electronic
attack systems, including officials in the Office of the Under Secretary of
Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Office of the Director,
Operational Test and Evaluation; Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Developmental Test and Evaluation; Office of the Assistant
Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; Office
of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; Navy program
offices for Airborne Electronic Attack, F/A-18 and EA-18G, Direct and
Time Sensitive Strike, and Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection Systems;
Army Rapid Equipping Force; and Air Force program offices for
MALD/MALD-J and MQ-9 Reaper Electronic Attack Pod.


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To assess additional compensating actions taken by the department to
address airborne electronic attack capability gaps, we reviewed service
documents outlining recent improvements and refinements to tactics,
techniques, and procedures for EA-18G and EC-130H aircraft. We
corroborated this information through interviews with officials from the
Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center and Air Force Office of the Deputy
Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Requirements—Electronic
Warfare division charged with refining tactics, techniques, and procedures
for EA-18G and EC-130H aircraft. We also reviewed broad agency
announcements to understand ongoing science and technology activities
related to airborne electronic attack. We supplemented this
documentation review with discussions with officials engaged in science
and technology work tied to airborne electronic attack, including officials
in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and
Engineering, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Research Laboratory,
and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

We conducted this performance audit from February 2011 to March 2012
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives.




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Appendix II: Analyses of Select Airborne
               Appendix II: Analyses of Select Airborne
               Electronic Attack Systems



Electronic Attack Systems

               This appendix provides analyses of 10 selected airborne electronic attack
               systems. Figures 4 through 13 show images of each system; tables 7
               through 16 provide budget data on each system.

               Figure 4: EA-6B Prowler




               Estimated end of service life: 2020

               Mission description: The primary mission of the Prowler is the
               suppression of enemy air defenses in support of strike aircraft and ground
               troops by interrupting enemy electronic activity and obtaining tactical
               electronic intelligence within the combat area. The EA-6B uses the
               AN/ALQ-99 radar jamming pod for non-lethal protection by jamming air
               defense systems and its AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile for
               lethal physical attack of air defense systems.

               Status: In 2010, we reported that the Navy had started replacing its EA-
               6B aircraft with EA-18G Growlers and expected all Prowlers to be out of
               its inventory by 2012. However, the Navy projects Prowlers to remain in
               service until 2016 to further meet the joint expeditionary need. According
               to the Navy, this is subject to additional change contingent on the fiscal
               year 2013 budget. The Marine Corps plans to retire its Prowlers by 2020.
               In addition, the most recent upgrade program for the EA-6B—the third
               Improved Capability electronic suite modification (ICAP III)—is nearing
               completion. ICAP III provides the Prowler with greater jamming capability,
               including the ability to perform selective reactive jamming.




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                                        Electronic Attack Systems




                                        Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 7: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the EA-6B Prowler, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                                      FY 2012             FY 2013            FY 2014              FY 2015    FY 2016      FY 2017           Total
RDT&E                                  $20.222            $19.728             $19.931             $20.280     $20.252      $20.632      $121.045
Procurement                             27.734              30.062             18.600               14.099     10.068       10.285      $110.848
Total                                  $47.956            $49.790             $38.531             $34.379     $30.320      $30.917      $231.893

                                        Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                        Source: Department of the Navy fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                        Note: RDT&E funding is limited to electronic warfare counter response.




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Figure 5: AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System




Estimated end of service life:

Mid-band: 2024
Low-band: 2026
High-band: 2028

Mission description: The AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System is an
airborne electronic warfare system carried on the EA-6B and EA-18G to
support the suppression of enemy air defenses. The system is capable of
intercepting, automatically processing, and jamming received radio
frequency signals.

Status: Obsolescence issues and advances in adversary technology
have reduced the AN/ALQ-99’s ability to counter emerging threats. The
Navy is developing its Next Generation Jammer program to replace the
AN/ALQ-99 and plans to begin fielding the system in 2020. In the interim,
the Navy is currently replacing three aging legacy low-band transmitters
to resolve obsolescence and reliability problems.



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                                       Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 8: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                            FY 2012    FY 2013               FY 2014                  FY 2015              FY 2016       FY 2017             Total
RDT&E                             -               -                      -                       -               -              -                -
Procurement                 $69.665    $49.799                $40.078                 $28.892              $35.963       $30.945         $255.342
Total                       $69.665    $49.799                $40.078                 $28.892              $35.963       $30.945         $255.342

                                       Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                       Source: Department of the Navy fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                       Note: There is no RDT&E funding associated with the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System in the
                                       fiscal year 2013 budget.




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Figure 6: EC-130H Compass Call




Estimated end of service life: 2053

Mission description: The EC-130H Compass Call is an airborne, wide
area, persistent stand-off electronic attack weapon system able to disrupt
and deny adversary use of the electronic battlespace using offensive
radio frequency countermeasures. Its primary mission is to deny or
disrupt command and control of enemy integrated air defenses, air
defense surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery threats. Its
secondary mission is to support ground and special operations forces by
denying enemy communications and defeating improvised explosive
devices.

Status: The Air Force has evolved the Compass Call since it was first
fielded in 1982 to meet modern and emerging threats, including
commercial communications, early warning radars, and improvised
explosive devices. Upgrades and modernization efforts are completed
during regularly scheduled depot maintenance. In 2003, as a response to
Operation Enduring Freedom, these upgrades transitioned from “Block”
upgrades to “Baseline” upgrades to allow for smaller and more focused
modernization efforts. Currently, the Air Force is completing Baseline 1



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                                          upgrades, beginning Baseline 2 efforts, and developing Baseline 3
                                          requirements. In addition, the Air Force is also replacing the center wing
                                          box on all 14 Compass Call aircraft, which will extend the service life of
                                          the fleet. Compass Call has been on continuous deployment in support of
                                          operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003; which has accelerated the
                                          need to replace the center wing boxes. Finally, to further alleviate stress
                                          on the fleet, the Air Force plans to procure an additional aircraft,
                                          increasing the size of the fleet to 15 aircraft by fiscal year 2016.

                                          Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 9: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the EC-130H Compass Call, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                                FY 2012    FY 2013                FY 2014                 FY 2015                  FY 2016       FY 2017             Total
RDT&E                           $18.509    $12.094                $12.222                  $12.559                 $13.047       $12.989          $81.420
Procurement                     302.324      64.024                 55.878                  54.108                  56.480         57.552        $590.366
Total                       $320.833       $76.118                $68.100                  $66.667                 $69.527       $70.541         $671.786

                                          Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                          Source: Department of the Air Force fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.




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Figure 7: F-22A Raptor




Estimated end of service life: Not available

Mission description: The F-22A is the Air Force’s fifth-generation air
superiority fighter that incorporates a stealthy and highly maneuverable
airframe, advanced integrated avionics, and a supercruise engine.
Originally developed as an air-to-air fighter, additional capabilities will
allow the F-22A to perform multiple missions including destruction of
enemy air defenses, air-to-ground attack, electronic attack, and
intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

Status: The F-22A, along with the F-35, is expected to fulfill the Air
Force’s requirement for penetrating escort jamming capability. The Air
Force initiated a formal F-22A modernization and reliability improvement
program in 2003 to incrementally develop and deliver increasing
capabilities over time. These increasing capabilities would allow the F-
22A to provide penetrating escort jamming, as envisioned in the airborne
electronic attack family of systems strategy. However, fielding of these
capabilities has been delayed because of reductions in program funding.
In addition, we have previously reported on schedule delays within the
modernization and reliability improvement program and their effect on
fielding additional capabilities within expected time frames. Further delays




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                                        in fielding these planned capabilities may affect the Air Force’s ability to
                                        provide sufficient penetrating escort jamming, increasing mission risk.

                                        Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 10: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the F-22A Raptor, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                           FY 2012     FY 2013               FY 2014                FY 2015                 FY 2016       FY 2017               Total
RDT&E                     $571.320    $511.767             $503.242                $387.510                $430.947       $463.263        $2,868.049
Procurement                232.032     283.871               291.741                 248.001                 282.249       329.775        $1,667.669
Total                     $803.352    $795.638             $794.983                $635.511                $713.196       $793.038        $4,535.718

                                        Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                        Source: Department of the Air Force fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                        Note: The above budget figures are only for F-22A modernization efforts only and do not include
                                        $104.118 million in fiscal year 2012 funds for equipment, program support, and shutdown activities
                                        necessary to preserve assets for long-term F-22A fleet sustainment.




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Figure 8: EA-18G Growler




Fielding date: 2009

Mission description: The EA-18G Growler replaces the EA-6B Prowler
as DOD’s tactical electronic attack aircraft. Like the Prowler, the EA-18G
will provide full-spectrum electronic attack to counter enemy air defenses
and communication networks. The EA-18G incorporates jamming
capabilities, such as the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System, and the
use of onboard weapons such as the High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile,
for the suppression of enemy air defenses. The Growler is the Navy’s
platform to fulfill modified escort jamming capability needs.

Status: The Growler program entered full rate production in 2009, with a
planned acquisition of 88 aircraft. However, in 2009, the Office of the
Secretary of Defense directed the Navy to buy an additional 26 aircraft,
bringing the total units to be acquired to 114. Through fiscal year 2011,
the Navy placed 90 of 114 planned EA-18G aircraft under contract for
production. Production is slightly ahead of schedule and has incorporated
the increase in total units with limited per-unit cost growth.




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                                          In 2010, the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, declared the
                                          Growler operationally effective, but also found that the aircraft was
                                          unsuitable for operations based on maintainability concerns. Since then,
                                          the Navy has taken steps to improve the EA-18Gs suitability through
                                          software fixes, and the system recently completed follow-on operational
                                          test and evaluation. In addition, initial deployment of the aircraft in support
                                          of operations in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan recently concluded, and the
                                          Navy is assessing the aircraft’s performance, including the remaining
                                          challenges mitigating electromagnetic interference with the AN/ALQ-99.
                                          Additional software improvements are planned through fiscal year 2018.

                                          Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 11: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the EA-18G Growler, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                                FY 2012       FY 2013              FY 2014                FY 2015             FY 2016      FY 2017              Total
RDT&E                           $17.100       $13.009               $15.311               $16.002             $16.106      $16.393           $93.921
Procurement                 1,022.715      1,027.443                 21.970                   8.111             0.000        0.000        $2080.239
Total                     $1,039.815      $1,040.452                $37.281               $24.113             $16.106      $16.393        $2,174.160

                                          Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                          Source: Department of the Navy fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                          Note: The above budget figures do not include $34.151 million in fiscal year 2013 for procurement of
                                          initial spares.




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Figure 9: AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM)




Estimated fielding date: 2012

Mission description: AARGM is an air-to-ground missile for carrier-
based aircraft designed to destroy enemy radio-frequency-enabled
surface-to-air defense. AARGM is an upgrade to the AGM-88 High Speed
Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) and will utilize existing HARM propulsion
and warhead sections with new guidance and modified control sections.

Status: The Navy authorized AARGM production in September 2008,
with deliveries scheduled to begin in January 2010. A total of 1,919 units
were planned, with initial operational capability scheduled for March 2011.
The program began operational testing in June 2010 after a 9-month
delay owing, in part, to concerns about the production representativeness
of test missiles. The Navy halted operational testing in September 2010
after hardware and software deficiencies caused a series of missile
failures.




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                                          These testing challenges prompted the Navy to delay AARGM’s planned
                                          initial operational capability date and undertake corrective actions to the
                                          system. These actions included an evaluation of the AARGM system
                                          through laboratory, ground, and flight tests from November 2010 through
                                          June 2011. Following this testing, Navy officials concluded that previous
                                          testing anomalies were successfully corrected but that the system was at
                                          high risk of not meeting suitability requirements during operational testing.
                                          The Navy found that insufficient system reliability and manufacturing
                                          quality controls remain open deficiencies that will likely result in an
                                          excessive number of system failures experienced by operational units,
                                          which could prevent the Navy from effectively executing planned
                                          missions. To address reliability concerns, the Navy instituted a “fly before
                                          you buy” program to screen poor weapons prior to government
                                          acceptance. As of July 2011, one-third of missiles delivered for testing
                                          were returned to the factory for repair.

                                          Recently, the AARGM system resumed operational testing. The Navy
                                          now plans to field the system beginning in April 2012 and make a full rate
                                          production decision and contract award in June and July 2012,
                                          respectively.

                                          Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 12: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for AARGM, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                           FY 2012       FY 2013               FY 2014                 FY 2015                FY 2016        FY 2017             Total
RDT&E                           $6.684    $6.995                  $7.426                  $5.470                $5.142         $5.028         $36.745
Procurement                     71.561    86.721                112.022                 126.324                158.073        160.820        $715.521
Total                      $78.245       $93.716              $119.448                $131.794                $163.215      $165.848         $752.266

                                          Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                          Source: Department of the Navy fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                          Note: The above budget figures do not include $0.209 million in fiscal year 2012 for procurement of
                                          initial spares.




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Figure 10: Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM)




                                       Estimated fielding date: 2014 (Block 4)

                                       Mission description: IDECM is a suite of self-protection countermeasure
                                       systems designed for the F/A-18E/F, including onboard jamming and off-
                                       board decoy jamming capabilities. The Navy has fielded IDECM in
                                       different blocks dating back to 2002 (Block 1), 2004 (Block 2), and 2011
                                       (Block 3). Each block improved the system’s jamming capabilities, decoy
                                       capabilities, or both. Block 4—the phase of production currently in
                                       development—extends IDECM onboard jamming capabilities to F/A-
                                       18C/D aircraft. 1




                                       1
                                        The F/A-18C/D will not be equipped with IDECM’s off-board jamming components (towed
                                       decoys) because these aircraft lack the necessary infrastructure to support these
                                       components.




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                                          Status: IDECM Block 4 entered development in 2009 and includes
                                          redesign of the ALQ-214 onboard jammer from the component design
                                          used for earlier blocks. This redesign is driven by the need to reduce
                                          weight in order to accommodate the IDECM onboard system on F/A-
                                          18C/D aircraft. Essentially, the new ALQ-214 will perform the same
                                          onboard jammer function as found in IDECM Blocks 2 and 3 but with a
                                          different form and fit. The Navy expects to transition current IDECM Block
                                          3 full rate production to Block 4 units by April 2012. This production
                                          transition will occur concurrent with ground and flight testing of the Block
                                          4 system—a strategy that could drive costly design changes, retrofits, or
                                          both to units in production, in the event that the ALQ-214 redesign effort
                                          does not materialize on schedule. To mitigate this risk, Navy officials
                                          stated that Block 4 full rate production will initially be for 19 systems, with
                                          production rates increasing to as many as 40 per year following
                                          completion of testing. Further, DOD officials report that Block 4 production
                                          will be executed under a firm fixed-price contract—a strategy that DOD
                                          officials state will place the financial burden of any retrofits on the vendor.

                                          Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 13: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for IDECM, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                                FY 2012   FY 2013               FY 2014                 FY 2015               FY 2016       FY 2017             Total
RDT&E                           $62.100   $29.874                $14.408                 $13.897                $2.711        $2.848        $125.838
Procurement                      40.272     57.067                84.305                 102.388               133.449        51.569        $469.050
Total                       $102.372      $86.941                $98.713               $116.285               $136.160       $54.417        $594.888

                                          Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                          Source: Department of the Navy fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.




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Figure 11: Next Generation Jammer




Estimated fielding date: 2020 (Mid-band on EA-18G)

Mission description: The Next Generation Jammer will be an electronic
warfare system to support the suppression of enemy air defenses,
replacing and improving the capability currently provided by AN/ALQ-99
Tactical Jamming System. The Navy’s EA-18G will employ the Next
Generation Jammer as the electronic attack payload. In a separate
increment of capability, the Navy plans to integrate the Next Generation
Jammer onto the F-35B, which will eventually replace Marine Corps EA-
6B Prowlers. Each increment of capability will be divided into
developmental blocks—Block 1 for mid-band, Block 2 for low-band, and
Block 3 for high-band frequencies.

Status: The Next Generation Jammer is nearing completion of
technology maturation activities performed by four different contractors
before the program’s entry into the technology development phase. The
Navy plans to enter the technology development phase in the third
quarter of fiscal year 2013, with an engineering and manufacturing
development contract planned for 2015. The Navy has adopted an
evolutionary block approach to fielding the Next Generation Jammer.
Initial operational capability for Block 1, on the EA-18G aircraft, is
scheduled for 2020. The Navy expects to field Blocks 2 and 3 on the EA-
18G in 2022 and 2024, respectively. Fielding dates for the F-35
increment’s blocks are currently undetermined.




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                                       Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 14: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the Next Generation Jammer, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                           FY 2012    FY 2013              FY 2014                 FY 2015                 FY 2016       FY 2017               Total
RDT&E                     $170.910   $187.024             $269.916               $321.817                  $429.390      $528.777        $1,907.834
Procurement                      -             -                       -                      -                   -              -                 -
Total                     $170.910   $187.024             $269.916               $321.817                  $429.390      $528.777        $1,907.834

                                       Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                       Source: Department of the Navy fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                       Note: There is no procurement funding associated with the Next Generation Jammer in the fiscal year
                                       2013 budget.




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Figure 12: Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD)/Miniature Air Launched Decoy—
Jammer (MALD-J)




Fielding dates:

2012 (MALD—actual)
2012 (MALD-J—estimated)

Mission description: MALD is an expendable decoy able to represent
small, medium, or large aircraft in order to saturate or degrade enemy air
defense systems. MALD-J is a variant of MALD that adds jamming
capability to the decoy and forms the stand-in jamming component for the
airborne electronic attack family of systems. The Air Force plans to
acquire a total quantity of 596 MALD and 2,404 MALD-J units.

Status: The Air Force approved MALD for low rate initial production in
2008. The Air Force expected to procure 300 MALD units in low rate
production before transitioning to full rate production. However, following
flight testing failures in summer 2010—attributable, in part, to design
issues with the fuel filter—and a later test failure in February 2011 caused
by foreign object debris in the fuel line, the MALD system was decertified,
and remaining initial operational testing and evaluation activities were
suspended. After additional corrective actions by the program office to the


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MALD design, the system reentered operational testing in July 2011, with
test shots fired in late August 2011. According to Air Force testing
officials, during the last test shot in the August series (OT-8), the engine
for one decoy never started after it detached from the host aircraft,
causing that MALD unit to crash. This operational testing event was the
final one scheduled for MALD, and DOD officials report that, in January
2012, the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center delivered the
MALD initial operational test and evaluation report assessing system
performance.

As a result of MALD’s testing shortfalls, the Air Force authorized
additional low rate initial production purchases for MALD quantities—to
the extent that the Air Force will now purchase the entire 596 unit
inventory of MALD quantities under low rate initial production, without
ever authorizing or achieving full rate production. Technical deficiencies
and design changes during low rate initial production prevented
demonstration of an efficient manufacturing capability, which in turn
prevented MALD from meeting the department’s criteria to enter full rate
production. DOD policy states that in order for a system to receive full
rate production approval, the system must (1) demonstrate control of the
manufacturing process and acceptable reliability, (2) collect statistical
process control data, and (3) demonstrate control and capability of other
critical processes. 2 Because the MALD and MALD-J designs are
identical—except for the addition of a jammer module to MALD-J—the
absence of a proven manufacturing process for MALD introduces cost
and schedule risk to production of MALD-J.

Deficiencies affecting the MALD vehicle have already contributed to
MALD-J program delays. The MALD-J low rate initial production decision
review—previously planned for September 2009—was delayed until
September 2011. Operational testing has subsequently been delayed and
is now expected to begin in May 2012. To mitigate this schedule delay,
the Air Force has moved to compress MALD-J operational testing from 15
months to 7 months, which program officials report reflects an increase in
test range priority and decrease in data turnaround time. According to
DOD officials, however, test range execution issues such as aircraft and
test equipment availability could potentially extend MALD-J operational
testing beyond the currently projected completion date. In addition, the Air



2
DOD Instruction 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System (Dec. 8, 2008).




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                                         Appendix II: Analyses of Select Airborne
                                         Electronic Attack Systems




                                         Force delayed, and later canceled, plans to develop a second increment
                                         of capability for MALD-J—one intended to provide more advanced
                                         jamming capabilities. Prior to these decisions, the Air Force’s fiscal year
                                         2012 budget submission outlined plans to budget $54.8 million in
                                         research, development, testing, and evaluation funding to MALD-J
                                         Increment II in fiscal year 2013. According to DOD, the Air Force is to
                                         provide a new plan for developing and procuring an Increment II variant of
                                         MALD-J and report to the Deputy Secretary of Defense by March 30,
                                         2012.

                                         Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 15: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for MALD/MALD-J, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                            FY 2012      FY 2013                FY 2014                 FY 2015                   FY 2016       FY 2017             Total
RDT&E                       $14.917        $0.000                 $0.000                   $0.000                  $0.000        $0.000          $14.917
Procurement                     83.022     87.556                 89.348                   92.448                  94.987        95.059         $542.420
Total                       $97.939      $87.556                $89.348                  $92.448                  $94.987       $95.059         $557.337

                                         Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                         Source: Department of the Air Force fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                         Note: RDT&E data are for MALD-J Increment II only. There is no RDT&E funding for MALD or MALD-
                                         J.




                                         Page 61                                                                     GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Appendix II: Analyses of Select Airborne
Electronic Attack Systems




Figure 13: F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter)




Estimated fielding date: To be determined

Mission description: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a family of fifth-
generation strike aircraft to replace and complement existing Navy, Air
Force, and Marine Corps aircraft, such as the F-16 and the F/A-18. The
F-35, along with the F-22A, is expected to fulfill DOD’s requirement for
penetrating escort jamming capability.

Status: The F-35 program entered low rate initial production in 2007, with
a planned baseline acquisition of 2,886 aircraft. The program experienced
development challenges, including delays in testing, leading to a
program-wide review. Based on this review, DOD restructured the
program in 2010, increasing the time and funding for development. This
restructure triggered a breach of the critical Nunn-McCurdy cost growth
threshold. Presently, the program plans to procure 2,457 aircraft, and the
services are still reviewing scheduled plans for operational capability and
fielding.




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                                         Appendix II: Analyses of Select Airborne
                                         Electronic Attack Systems




                                         Budget: See the following table for budget information.

Table 16: DOD Planned Acquisition Investments for the F-35 Lightning II, Fiscal Years 2012-2017

Then-year dollars in millions
                        FY 2012      FY 2013              FY 2014                FY 2015      FY 2016         FY 2017                Total
RDT&E                 $2,708.228   $2,699.498         $2,464.703             $1,899.685     $1,426.668      $1,075.495       $12,274.277
Procurement            6,334.916    6,149.445           6,310.537              7,786.763     9,927.117      11,207.769       $47,716.547
Total                 $9,043.144   $8,848.943         $8,775.240             $9,686.448    $11,353.785     $12,283.264       $59,990.824

                                         Legend: RDT&E = research, development, testing, and evaluation.
                                         Source: DOD fiscal year 2013 budget estimates.

                                         Note: The above budget figures do not include $31.874 million in fiscal year 2012 RDT&E funds and
                                         $31.748 in fiscal year 2013 RDT&E funds for the Air Force Aircraft Engine Component Improvement
                                         Program.




                                         Page 63                                                    GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Appendix III: Comments from the
              Appendix III: Comments from the Department
              of Defense



Department of Defense




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Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Defense




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Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Defense




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of Defense




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of Defense




Page 68                                      GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Michael J. Sullivan, (202) 512-4841 or sullivanm@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, key contributors to this report
Staff             were Bruce Fairbairn, Assistant Director; Christopher R. Durbin; Laura
Acknowledgments   Greifner; James Kim; Scott Purdy; Sylvia Schatz; Brian Smith; and
                  Roxanna Sun.




(120942)
                  Page 69                                    GAO-12-175 Airborne Electronic Attack
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