oversight

Electronic Warfare: Need to Strengthen Controls Over Air Force Jammer Programs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-07-11.

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

National Security and
International  Affairs Divisian

13-239291-l

*July 11, 1990

The IIonorable Les Aspin
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
I louse of Representatives

Dear Mr. Chairman:

This report, which was prepared at your request, examines the performance effectiveness of
radar jammers recently acquired or being acquired by the Air Force for protection of its
tactical aircraft. The classified version of this report is being provided separately.

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense and the Air Force.

The report was prepared under the direction of Mr. Louis J. Rodrigues, Director, Command,
Control, Communications, and Intelligence Issues, who may be reached on (202) 275-4841 if
you or your staff have any questions. Other major contributors are listed in appendix III.

Sincerely yours,




Frank C. Conahan
Assistant Comptroller General
                                                                                            ,6
.-_-_--

Executive Summary
             .   .-                                                 .




                      Since 1982, the Air Force has spent almost $1.9 billion on the electronic
Purpose               warfare devices called jammers and currently plans to spend an addi-
                      tional $1.9 billion through 1995. These electronic warfare devices are
                      supposed to protect aircraft by transmitting electronic signals to inter-
                      fere with the radars used with threat weapons. GAO has examined Air
                      Force jammer programs in the past and found that the Air Force fre-
                      quently procured the systems before completing operational testing to
                      demonstrate satisfactory performance.

                      At the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Ser-
                      vices, GAO evaluated the performance effectiveness of four jammers
                      recently acquired or being acquired by the Air Force for protection of its
                      tactical aircraft. GAO'S review focused on the ALQ-131 Block II and
                      receiver/processor, the ALQ-184, and two upgraded versions of the
                      ALQ-135 because they represent the more recent jammer acquisitions
                      for protection of the Air Force’s main tactical aircraft. GAO'S objective
                      was to determine whether the jammers have demonstrated the capa-
                      bility to defeat threat radars and thus enhance the survivability of the
                      Air Force’s tactical aircraft.


                      The principal .jammers for protection of tactical aircraft include the
Background            ALQ-131, ALQ-184, and ALQ-135.

                      The ALQ-131 has been acquired in two versions, called Block I and
                      Block II. Mock II, the most recent version, incorporates a sophisticated
                      component called the receiver/processor. The receiver/processor is to
                      enable the jammer to concentrate its jamming power and apply the most
                      effective *jamming technique against each specific threat. The Air Force
                      recently completed procurement of the Block II at a cost of $792 million,

                      The ALQ-184 is an upgraded version of the older ALQ-119. The Air
                      Force has spent about $464 million on the ALQ-184 and expects to spend
                      another $636 million on future procurements.

                      The ALQ-135 has been upgraded twice. One upgraded version is desig-
                      nated the ALQ-135 quick reaction capability and the other as ALQ-135
                      preplanned product improvement. The Air Force has completed acquisi-
                      tion of the ALQ-135 quick reaction capability at a cost of $256 million
                      and recently began procurement of the ALQ-135 preplanned product
                      improvement. Total acquisition cost for the ALQ-135 preplanned
                      product improvement is estimated at about $1.7 billion.



                      Page 2                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
----..“.L.--


               I     Executive   Summary




                     The Air Force procured jammers prematurely without adequately
Results in Brief     testing their performance capability, resulting in jammers with limited
                     effectiveness. When the jammers were produced, none were capable of
                     protecting aircraft as required. Rather than enhancing aircraft
                     survivability against threat radars, some jammers are not being used
                     while others are being flown on tactical aircraft in Europe with inopera-
                     tive components. Significant improvement programs are now required to
                     increase the performance capability of some jammers.

                     GAO believes that the lack of adequate controls over the Air Force’s
                     jammer acquisitions has contributed to the production of unsatisfactory
                     jammers. Officials at the Office of the Secretary of Defense level had not
                     established adequate procedures or other controls for managing or over-
                     seeing these Air Force jammer programs. They generally had not taken
                      an active role in the programs because they are considered by the
                      Department of Defense (DOD) to be minor programs, involving modifica-
                     tions of existing systems as opposed to the acquisition of completely
                      new systems.



Principal Findings

ALQ- 13 1 Jammer     The Air Force procured its entire program quantity of the ALQ-131
                     Block II and receiver/processor without completing operational testing.
                     As a result, the system is now being flown in Europe on the F-16 and
                     other aircraft with the receiver/processor inoperative because of a lack
                     of software. The jammer also has other performance deficiencies that
                     must be resolved before the jammer can be fully effective. In addition,
                     the Air Force plans to begin an improvement program.


ALQ-184 Jammer        Similarly, the Air Force started production of the ALQ-184 before opera-
                      tional testing and subsequently continued production despite unfavor-
                      able test results. When deployed to tactical forces, none were ready for
                      use. They required substantial repairs, including replacement of compo-
                      nents, before they could be considered operational. Subsequently, the
                     jammers were temporarily grounded because of an unsolved perform-
                      ance defect and are now undergoing a modification program to solve
                      performance problems. GAO found that the jammers were generally not
                     being used by the tactical unit it visited.



                     Page 3                                     GAO/NSLAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                          Executive   Summary




ALQ- 135 Jammer            The Air Force bought all of its ALQ-135 quick reaction capability jam-
                           mers before operational testing and then put most of them in storage
                           because of technical problems. After a modification program to improve
                           the system’s reliability, the Air Force installed less than one-half of the
                          jammers procured and is holding the remaining jammers as spares or in
                           bonded storage pending destruction because they cannot be repaired.

                          Finally, the Air Force started production of the ALQ-135 preplanned
                          product improvement before completing it,s operational testing. All
                          ALQ-135 preplanned product improvement jammers produced so far are
                          in storage because of software design problems.


                          GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense
Recommendations
                      l prohibit the Air Force from awarding further contracts for production
                        of jammers until operational testing provides reasonable assurance that
                        they will meet established performance requirements and
                      . require the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Com-
                        munications, and Intelligence to establish adequate internal controls
                        over Air Force jammer programs to assure that systems are satisfacto-
                        rily tested and demonstrate acceptable performance before producing
                        and deploying them.


                          Regardless of the jammer acquisition experiences cited in this report,
Matters for               DOD plans further production of the ALQ-184 and ALQ-135 preplanned
Congressional             product improvement jammers without requiring demonstration of sat-
Consideration             isfactory performance during operational testing. The Congress may,
                          therefore, wish to oppose further funding for these jammers until opera-
                          tional testing provides reasonable assurance that they will meet estab-
                          lished performance requirements.


                          DOD recognized that deficiencies existed in jammer programs in the past
Agency Comments and       and stated that no programs are proceeding to full-rate production
GAO Evaluation            without an assessment of their operational performance.

                          DOD agreed or partially agreed with GAO'S findings and recommenda-
                          tions. Mowcver, DOD stated that internal controls are in place to ensure
                          that systems demonstrate acceptable operational performance prior to
                          full-rate production.



                          Page 4                                       GAO/NSIAD-SO-168   Electronic   Warfare
    Y




.       Executive   Summary




        GAO  believes that the findings in this report amply demonstrate that
        DOD’s  controls have not been effective in preventing the premature pro-
        duction of jammers and the related adverse impacts. Thus, GAO affirms
        its recommendation.




        Page 6                                     GAO/NSJAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                                                                                                                        I,


                                                                                                    .H


_.. ..--..---.




Contents
                 . .._   -_--                                                                            t


                                                                                                              II



Executive Summary                                                                                                  2

Chapter 1                                                                                                         8
Introduction                    ALQ-131                                                                          10
                                ALQ-184                                                                          10
                                ALQ- 135                                                                         11
                                Objective, Scope, and Methodology                                                13

Chapter 2                                                                                                          15
Need to Strengthen              Operational Testing Can Be an Important Management                                 15
                                    Control
Controls Over the               Past Programs Have Shown Need to Test Electronic                                   15
Acquisition of Tactical             Warfare Systems
                                Jammer Production Started Before Operational Testing                               16
Aircraft Jammers                ALQ-131 Block II and Receiver/Processor Hampered by                                18
                                    Problems Since Deployment
                                ALQ-184 Not Ready for Use When Fielded                                            19
                                Most ALQ-135 Quick Reaction Capability Jammers Not                                21
                                    Installed Due to Reliability and Other Problems
                                ALQ-135 Preplanned Product Improvement Stored at                                  22
                                    Contractor’s Plant Since Production
                                DOD Has Not Established Adequate Controls Over Air                                22
                                    Force Electronic Warfare Programs
                                Conclusions                                                                      23
                                Recommendations                                                                  23
                                Matters for Congressional Consideration                                          23

Appendixes                      Appendix I: Department of Defense Organizations Visited                           24
                                Appendix II: Comments From the Department of Defense                              25
                                               GAO Comments                                                       26
                                Appendix III: Major Contributors to This Report                                   27

Related GAO Product                                                                                               28

Table                           Table 2.1: Production and Operational Test Phases for Air                          17
                                    Force .Jammers




                                Page 6                                    GAO/NSLUMM-168    Electronic       WarPare
      ‘1
           _-_I   -I -_. _._.---.-.--

  +                                     Contents




Figures                                 Figure     1.1: Effects of Jamming                                                 9
                                        Figure     1.2: ALQ-13 1 Block II                                                 10
                                        Figure     1.3: ALQ-184                                                           11
                                        Figure     1.4: ALQ- 135 Preplanned Product Improvement                           12




                                        Abbreviations

                                        DOD          Department Of Defense
                                        GAO          General Accounting Office


                                        Page 7                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                                                                                       II
Chapter 1                                                                                   1’ -

Introduction                                                                                  *


               The potential threat posed to Air Force tactical aircraft includes both
               land-based weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles, as well as weapons
               launched from hostile aircraft. Many of these threat systems rely on
               radars to detect and track target aircraft and, in some cases, to guide the
               missile to the target or direct gunfire.

               To protect its tactical aircraft from these threats, the Air Force equips
               them with electronic warfare devices called jammers. As shown in figure
               1.1, jammers provide this protection by transmitting electronic signals to
               deceive or otherwise interfere with the radars used with threat weapons.
               The Air Force considers jammers to be critical to the survival of its tac-
               tical aircraft for all projected wartime missions.




               Page 8                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic    Warfare
 Chapter 1
 Introduction




Page 0          GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                                                                                                      /
                                                                                                          c
                               Chapter 1
                               Introduction




-.-_I_---~
                               Three such jammers include the AL&-131, ALQ-184, and ALQ-135.
                               These constitute the principal jammers used on the Air Force’s tactical
                               aircraft, including its front-line fighters, the F-15 and the F-16.


ALQ-131                        The ALQ-131 Block II is the second generation of the ALQ-131 .jammer.
                               As shown in figure 1.2, its components are contained in a pod mounted
                               underneath the aircraft fuselage or wing.

Figure 1.2: AL@1 31 Block II




                               One of the main differences between the Block II and its predecessor,
                               the Mock I, is that the Block II incorporates a component called the
                               receiver/processor. The receiver/processor is a power management
                               system, which enables the jammer to automatically detect threats and to
                               concentrate its jamming power and apply the most effective technique
                               against each specific threat.

                               Development and production of the Block II began in 1983. Since then,
                               the Air Force has acquired over 400 jammers and receiver/processors at
                               a cost of about $792 million. The system is deployed to the European
                               theater and is being used on such aircraft as the F-16 and the F-l 11.


                               The ALQ-184 is also a pod mounted jammer similar in appearance to the
ALQ-184            y           ALQ-131 Mock II. (See fig. 1.3.) It is an upgraded version of the older
                               ALQ-119 deployed in the 1970s.



                               Page 10                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
      $

  .       Chapter 1
          Introduction




          The Air Force began acquisition of the ALQ-184 in 1982 and through
          fiscal year 1989 had procured 3‘26 of the jammers at a cost of about
          $464 million. In a recent competitive acquisition involving the ALQ-131
          Block II and ALQ-184, the Air Force selected the ALQ-184 to meet its
          needs for a pod jammer. The Air Force plans to procure an additional
          766 ALQ-184s through fiscal year 1993 at an estimated cost of about
          $636 million.

          The AL&-184 was initially deployed to one tactical unit in California in
          1987. In 1989, the Air Force began deploying the ALQ-184 to the Pacific
          theater. It is planned for use on the A-10, F-4, F-16, and F-l 11 aircraft.


ALQ-135   aircraft. The ALQ-135 is used on the F-15 aircraft and has been
          upgraded twice.

          One upgraded version is designated as the ALQ-135 quick reaction capa-
          bility. Acquisition of the ALQ-135 quick reaction capability has been
          completed with a total procurement of 65 jammers at a cost of about
          $256 million. It was deployed in 1988 to one tactical unit in Florida.

          The other upgraded version is the ALQ-135 preplanned product
          improvement model, It is a two-band system, designated as Bands 3 and
          1.5, for use on newer models of the F-15 aircraft. The designations refer



          Page 11                                      GAO/NSIAD-SO-168   Electronic   Warfare
                                         Chapter 1
                                         Introduction




                                         to the portion of the frequency band covered. The F-15C is to be
                                         equipped with Band 3 while the newer F-15E is to be equipped with
                                         Band 3 as well as Band 1.5. (See fig. 1.4.)

Figure 1.4: ALQ-135 Preplanned Product Improvement




                                         Development of the ALQ-135 preplanned product improvement began in
                                         1985 and is still ongoing. So far, the Air Force has procured 121 Band 3
                                         systems and 8 Band 1.5 systems at a current maximum contract price of
                                         $361.4 million. The Air Force also plans to procure up to an additional
                                         533 Band 3 systems and 185 Band 1.5 systems during fiscal years 1991
                                         through 1995. An Air Force official estimated total program acquisition
                                         cost at about $1.7 billion. The ALQ- 135 preplanned product improve-
                                         ment has not yet been deployed.



                                         Page 12                                   GAO/NSLkD-SO-168   Electronic   Warfare
                        Chapter 1
                        Introduction




                        At the request of the Chairman, House Committee on Armed Services,
Objective, Scope, and   we evaluated the performance effectiveness of the ALQ-131 Block II,
Methodology             ALQ-184, ALQ-135 quick reaction capability, and ALQ-135 preplanned
                        product improvement jammers. We concentrated on these jammers
                        because they represent the most recent jammer acquisitions for protec-
                        tion of the Air Force’s main tactical aircraft. Our objective was to deter-
                        mine whether the jammers have demonstrated the capability to defeat
                        threat radars and thus enhance aircraft survivability.

                        This report addresses the effectiveness of the jammers only to the
                        extent that the information is unclassified. Our classified evaluation is
                        contained in a related classified report.

                        In evaluating jammer performance capability, we relied primarily on
                        reviewing operational test results since operational testing is supposed
                        to approximate combat conditions to the extent practical and is consid-
                        ercd the primary means for assessing system performance. We also
                        reviewed other records bearing on jammer effectiveness and discussed
                        performance issues with various Air Force representatives responsible
                        for acquiring, testing, and using the jammers.

                        In addition, we visited Air Force tactical fighter wings in the United
                        States and Europe where some of the jammers had been deployed. These
                        included the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing (subsequently redesignated as
                        the 3&h), George Air Force Base, California; 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing,
                        Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn, Ger-
                        many; and 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Lakenheath, England. At the
                        time of our visit, the 35th was the only unit to which the ALQ-184 had
                        been deployed while the 33rd was the only unit having the ALQ-135
                        quick reaction capability. At the time of our review, the 50th and 48th
                        were equipped with 157 ALQ-131 Block II jammers and 125 receiver/
                        processors, which represented 40 and 52 percent, respectively, of those
                        deployed to the European theater. At the completion of our review, the
                        ALQ- 135 preplanned product improvement had not been deployed.

                        At the units, we reviewed maintenance records and discussed various
                        aspects of jammer performance with Air Force and contractor mainte-
                        nance personnel and Air Force electronic warfare officers. Our purpose
                        was to assess how well the jammers had performed since being
                        deployed.




                        Page 13                                     GAO/NSLAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
Chapter 1
Introduction




Because our work raised issues about the acquisition of the jammers, we
also reviewed Department of Defense (DOD) and Air Force policy direc-
tives bearing on the weapon system acquisition and testing process. In
addition, we discussed the jammer programs with officials of the Office
of the Secretary of Defense and Air Force Headquarters responsible for
authorizing and overseeing the jammer acquisitions.

Appendix I lists the DOD organizations that we visited.

Our review was performed from November 1989 through March 1990 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. DOD
provided written comments on a draft of this report. DOD'S comments
and our responses are contained in appendix II of this report.




Page 14                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
Chapta’ -2

Needt&3trengthen Controls Over the
Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers

.-.-..   - ---.-_--- __.__...
                           ~,
                                As a result of producing the ALQ-131 Block II, AL&-184, ALQ-135 quick
                                 reaction capability, and ALQ-135 preplanned product improvement
                                without first demonstrating through testing that their performance
                                would be satisfactory, the Air Force has acquired jammers costing about
                                $1.9 billion which are largely unproven or have only limited effective-
                                ness. Rather than enhancing the survivability of tactical aircraft, some
                                jammers have been placed in storage pending redesign to solve problems
                                while others have required substantial component replacements and
                                other repairs before they could be used. Some jammers were grounded
                                soon after deployment because of performance problems, and others are
                                being flown in a potential combat zone with inoperative components.


                                DOD’S policy on the weapons acquisition process emphasizes the need for
Operational Testing             timely testing to reduce risks and to estimate the operational effective-
Can Be an Important             ness and suitability of the systems being acquired. The policy provides
Management Control              that operational testing is the primary means for assessing weapon
                                system performance and is an important consideration in making key
                                decisions to proceed with the acquisition of systems. Operational test
                                results not only indicate how well a system will work but can also idcn-
                                tify ineffective and unreliable systems before they are produced.


                                The Air Force has often begun production of electronic warfare systems
Past Programs Have              before demonstrating satisfactory performance in testing to expedite the
Shown Need to Test              deployment of needed systems. However, our past work has shown that
Electronic Warfare              the Air Force’s strategy has sometimes speeded the acquisition of defi-
                                cient or unproven systems.
Systems
                                For example, in our review of Air Force and Navy radar warning
                                receiver programs,’ we found widespread concurrency in system pro-
                                duction and testing. On one radar warning receiver program, the Air
                                Force started production before testing and later discovered that the
                                system’s performance was worse than that of the radar warning
                                receiver it was to replace. Nevertheless, the Air Force continued produc-
                                tion only to put the system in storage pending redesign to solve the per-
                                formance problems.

                                Similarly, we previously found that the Air Force produced and
                                deployed the ALQ- 13 1 Block I jammer although it failed to pass various

                                ,..          1_.         .,   ,   ..   ::   ‘..   -   .   ‘,’      ,_   .   _.   .   .. I        ..

                                       ,,,         .‘,   ’
                                (’




                                Page   15                                                       GAO/NSIAD-90-168            Electronic   Warfare
                         Chapter 2
                         Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                         Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




_..- ..__
        ------   _..__
                          reliability and maintainability tests.’ As a result, many of the Block I
                         jammers received by tactical units required major parts replacements
                          and technical adjustments before they could be used. The Air Force
                          modified the Block I both before and after deployment, but the problems
                         persisted.

                         Based on our past work, we have recommended that production of elec-
                         tronic warfare systems be slowed and further contract awards be
                         delayed until operational test results provided reasonable assurance
                         that performance would be satisfactory. However, DOD has not been
                         fully responsive to our prior recommendations. For example, in our 1985
                         report, which dealt specifically with the receiver/processor used with
                         the ALQ-13 1 Block II, we recommended that (1) receiver/processor pro-
                         duction be slowed and (2) further contract awards be stopped until oper-
                         ational tests provided reasonable assurance of satisfactory
                         performance. DOD opposed the recommendation, stating that it had
                         already been operationally tested with satisfactory results. We dis-
                         agreed because the operational testing referred to by DOD related to prior
                         versions of the receiver/processor and produced questionable results.
                         Nevertheless, DOD continued production of the receiver/processor as
                         planned. As discussed on page 18, DOD’S decision resulted in deployment
                         of a system that does not work as planned and requires modifications to
                         correct several deficiencies.


                         Without performing any operational testing, the Air Force started pro-
Jammer Production        duction of the ALQ-131 Block II and receiver/processor, ALQ-184, ALQ-
Started Before           135 quick reaction capability, and ALQ-135 preplanned product
Operational Testing      improvement. Table 2.1 shows the production and operational test
                         phases for each of these systems.




                         ‘This was wportcd in a 1985classifiedGAO report.



                         Page 16                                            GAO/NSIAD-96-168   Electronic   Warfare
                                                     Chapter 2
                                                     Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                                                     Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




Table 2.1: Production and Operational Test Phases for Air Force Jammer@

   ALO-      Block II and Racsivor/Processor                                                    -b             1                               \
   Operational Testing ’

   Production

   ALO-
   Operational Testing

   Production

   ALO-       Quick Reactlon
   CapabIlIty
   Operational Testing d

   Production

   ALQ-135 Preplanned
   Product Improvement
   Operational Testing l

   Production

                                   1962            1963         1904        1905         1966        1967     1968        1969          1990
                                   CalendarYears


                                                               Completed

                                                               Continuing



                                                    a Breaks in testing are not shown.
                                                   b Operational testing of the Block II was conducted from March 1986 to March 1987
                                                     but excluded the receiver/processor.
                                                    ’ Operational testing was suspended twice during 1988 due to performance problems
                                                   d Operational testing of the AL0135 Quick Reaction Capability was not done.

                                                   ’ An early operational assessment is planned for June 1990 to July 1990, however,
                                                     initial operational testing is not scheduled until January 1992.




                                                     Page 17                                                 GAO/NSIALb90-168     Electronic   Warfare
                                                                                                         d-

____.“...   .” .-_. --II_-                                                                                    ‘I.

                             Chapter 2
                             Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                             Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




                             The Air Force acquired these jammers under expedited procedures. The
                             purpose of these procedures is to expedite the fielding of systems deter-
                             mined to be urgently needed for protection of the operational forces.
                             IJnder the procedures, the Air Force may waive or change policies and
                             procedures, such as those relating to testing, which are found to inhibit
                             the timely completion of a program. Although we do not disagree with
                             the need to field needed systems as quickly as practical, most opera-
                             tional aircraft were equipped with jammers at the time these newer jam-
                             mers entered production.

                             We believe the Air Force’s practice of buying systems before knowing
                             that they would perform adequately has resulted in producing electronic
                             warfare systems which

                             were not ready for use and had performance defects when deployed to
                             operational forces,
                             were placed in storage because of defective performance pending modi-
                             fications to solve the problems,
                             were generally not used by the operational forces or were being flown
                             with inoperative components, and
                             require significant improvement programs to meet performance
                             requirements,


                             The ALQ-131 Block II’s receiver/processor, which is deployed to Europe,
ALQ-13 1 Block II and        is being flown on combat aircraft but is inoperative because of a lack of
Receiver/Processor           software. Other problems also would effect the jammer’s effectiveness if
Hampered by                  it were used. These problems must be resolved before the jammer can be
                             fully effcctivc. Now the Air Force plans to begin an improvement pro-
Problems Since               gram, the cost of which has not been determined.
Deployment
                             The Air Force began production of the ALQ-131 Block II and receiver/
                             processor in 1983 and 1984, respectively, before beginning any opera-
                             tional testing of the system. Operational testing of the Block II was held
                             from March 1986 to March 1987; however, the jammer tested did not
                             incorporate the receiver/processor because it was not yet available.

                             The Air Force began deploying the Block II to tactical units in Europe in
                              1986 before testing was completed. Deliveries of the receiver/processor
                             to thcsc units began in 1988. However, the software necessary for oper-
                             ation of the receiver/processor had not been operationally tested and
                             had not been dclivcrcd to the tactical units, as of March 1990.



                             Page 18                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic        Warfare
                       Chlrpter 2
                       Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                       Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




                       We noted, during our visit to the tactical units in Europe, that the
                       receiver/processors had been installed in the Block II jammers and were
                       being flown on the units’ aircraft. However, they were inoperative
                       because of the missing software. Although the Air Force had obtained
                       some software that the ALQ-131 program manager said could be used in
                       the event of war, this software had not been operationally tested and
                       had not been distributed to the tactical units.

                       At the tactical units, the electronic combat officers identified another
                       problem impacting the ALQ-131 Block II’s effectiveness. This problem,
                       as well as the affect on the jammer’s effectiveness of operating without
                       the receiver/processor, is discussed in our classified report.

                       In January 1988, after buying most of its total program quantity of
                       Block II jammers and receiver/processors, the Air Force began opera-
                       tionally testing them as a system. This testing, scheduled to be com-
                       pleted in June 1990, has revealed several serious performance problems.
                       These problems are discussed in our classified report.

                       The Air Force is now planning an improvement program estimated to
                       cost $23 million to address some of the jammer’s reliability, maintain-
                       ability, and performance problems. In addition, the Air Force was pre-
                       paring a program management directive at the completion of our review
                       to authorize another improvement program for the jammer. The Air
                       Force had not defined the scope nor estimated the cost of this program.


                       The Air Force began production of the ALQ-184 in 1982 before con-
ALQ-184 Not Ready      ducting any operational tests, and subsequently continued production
for Use When Fielded   dcspl
                           1‘t c unfavorable test results. When fielded, none of the jammers
                       were ready for use. Instead, the jammers required substantial repairs,
                       including replacement of major components, before they could be con-
                       sidered operational. Subsequently, the jammers were grounded because
                       of defects and must now undergo a modification program, estimated to
                       cost as much as $298 million, to solve the performance problems,

                       Operational testing commenced 2 years after production, in 1984, and
                       was completed in late 1987. The detailed results of these tests are dis-
                       cussed in the classified version of this report,

                       Based on these tests, the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation rec-
                       ommended that the ALQ-184’s production be stopped. The Director



                       Page 19                                     GAO/NSIAD90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                           Chapter 2
                           Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                           Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammerw




                           pointed out that the jammer had too many major performance deficien-
                           cies to be considered potentially effective and that correcting these defi-
                           ciencies would require a major modification program. Nevertheless, the
                           Air Force proceeded with production.

                           In 1987, the Air Force began deploying the jammers already produced to
                           the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at George Air Force Base, California.
                           Twenty-four jammers were delivered to the Wing and assigned to the
                           “Wild Weasel” unit. This unit’s mission is to attack and destroy enemy
                           radars associated with surface-to-air missiles and guns.

                           We visited the unit during our review to assess how well the jammers
                           had performed since deployment 2 years earlier. We found that the jam-
                           mers had not been ready for tactical use when delivered. For 23 of the
                           24 jammers on which adequate records had been maintained, we found
                           that all 23 required major repairs, including replacement of components,
                           before they could be considered operational. The repairs required an
                           average of almost 4 months to complete from the date the jammers were
                           received until they were declared operationally ready.

                           Moreover, we found that once the jammers became operational they
                           were generally not being used by the unit. At the time of our visit in
                           September 1989,21 of the 24 jammers were in storage, and the other 3
                           were in the maintenance facility. Maintenance personnel told us that
                           they attempt to keep at least 18 of the 24 jammers in storage at all times
                           in an operationally ready status to enhance the unit’s operational readi-
                           ness rating. ‘l’hcy said that the jammers would fail more frequently if
                           they were used consistently and would increase the maintenance
                           required. We also found that the unit had detected other problems with
                           the jammers.


Modification Program for   To improve the ALQ-184’s performance, the Air Force is conducting a
                           modification program which the contractor estimated will cost as much
ALQ-184s                   as $298 million. The current program consists of at least nine upgrades,
                           some of which the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation had previ-
                           ously identified as performance deficiencies. Details of these improve-
                           ments are discussed in our classified report.

                           As of March 1990, the Air Force has awarded development contracts
                           estimated to cost $24.5 million for four of the improvements. In addi-
                           tion, the Air Force issued a production contract, for one of these
                           improvements, which increases the jammer’s unit cost by an estimated


                           Page 20                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                         Chapter 2
                         Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                         Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




                          $30,000 and total acquisition cost by an estimated $30 million. This
                          improvement has not been operationally tested even though it is already
                          being produced. Also, xcording to the ALQ-184 program engineer, all
                         improvements are planned to be retrofitted into previously produced
                         jammers.


                         Before performing operational testing, the Air Force spent $256 million
Most AL&-135 Quick       acquiring 65 ALQ- 135 quick reaction capability jammers in 1983 on the
Reaction Capability      basis that they were urgently needed to meet an immediate tactical
Jammers Not Installed    requirement. After the jammers were delivered in early 1988, the Air
                         Force limited installation of the jammers and stored most of them
Due to Reliability and   because of reliability problems discovered during early developmental
Other Problems           testing and concerns about the jammer’s (1) built-in capability to test its
                         functionality and (2) lack of demonstrated integration with other air-
                         craft avionics. Subsequently, the Air Force installed less than one-half
                         of the jammcrs procured.

                         Initially, the Air Force decided to install the jammers in only five air-
                         craft and store the rest pending assessment of the modifications made to
                         improve the system’s reliability. After this assessment, the Air Force
                         decided to limit installation to 24 additional aircraft because of concerns
                         over whether the jammers could be maintained. Installation in the 24
                         additional aircraft was completed in early 1989.

                         In December 1989, after having the jammers installed for less than one
                         year, the Air Force decided to deactivate the AL&-135 quick reaction
                         capability because they did not place a high priority on funding the esti-
                         mated $6.4 million required for contractor maintenance through Sep-
                         tember 30, 1992. IIowever, in February 1990, the Air Force decided to
                         terminate the contractor maintenance and permit the tactical unit to
                         maintain the jammers in an operational status for as long as possible.

                         Most of the jammer components are being used as spares or have had
                         usable parts removed and are being held in bonded storage pending
                         destruction because they cannot be repaired.




                         rage 21                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
                         Chapter 2
                         Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                         Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




                         In 1986, the Air Force contracted for 121 Band 3 and 8 Band 1.5
AL&-135 Preplanned       ALQ-135 preplanned product improvement jammers without prior oper-
Product Improvement      ational testing. The current maximum contract price is $361.4 million.
Stored at Contractor’s   As of January 1990, no operational testing had been performed.
                         According to the F-15 aircraft systems program officer, the 59 Band 3
Plant Since Production   and 8 Band 1.5 jammers produced were in bonded storage at the con-
                         tractor’s plant because of software design problems. Current plans are
                         to acquire up to an additional 533 Band 3 and 185 Band 1.5 systems. An
                         Air Force official estimated total program acquisition cost at about $1.7
                         billion; however, he was unable to provide us a break down by research
                         and development and current and planned procurements. An early oper-
                         ational assessment is scheduled to begin in June 1990 and be completed
                         in July 1990. Initial operational test and evaluation is scheduled from
                         January 1992 to March 1992. The next production contract for up to
                         166 Band 3 and 82 Band 1.5 jammers is scheduled for award in
                         December 1990. The estimated cost for that contract was not available
                         at the time of our review.


                         In view of the results of the Air Force’s implementation of its electronic
DOD Has Not              warfare programs, we discussed the need for management controls over
Established Adequate     the programs with officials of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
                         Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence. These
Controls Over Air        officials have cognizance over the electronic warfare programs.
Force Electronic
Warfare Programs         They told us that they consider the Air Force to be responsible for
                         making decisions relating to the acquisition of its jammers. They said
                         that they generally had not taken an active role in the Air Force jammer
                         programs because they are considered by DOD to be minor programs,
                         involving modifications of existing systems, as opposed to acquisition of
                         completely new systems, Thus, they had not established any procedures
                         or other controls for managing or overseeing the programs.

                          While we acknowledge that the jammer programs involve modifications
                          to existing systems, the ALQ-131 Block II and ALQ-135 preplanned
                          product improvement acquisitions also represent procurement of new
                         jammers. For example, after procuring over 500 ALQ-131 Block I jam-
                          mers, the Air Force modified the Block I’s design, added the receiver/
                          processor, and produced over 400 new Block 11swhile the Block I sys-
                          tems remained deployed. The ALQ-135 quick reaction capability acquisi-
                          tion represented development and procurement of a new band (Band 3),
                          which the original ALQ-135 did not have. While the ALQ-184 was
                          derived by modifying existing ALQ-119 pods, the modifications involved


                         Page 22                                    GAO/NSIALMO-168   Electronic   Warfare
   c


                      C:hapter 2
                      Need to Strengthen Controls Over the
                      Acquisition of Tactical Aircraft Jammers




                      essentially replacing two of the three bands in the ALQ-119. In addition,
                      the acquisition of these jammers as currently planned will total almost
                      $4 billion.


                      Despite continued setbacks in acquiring jammers, the Air Force has per-
Conclusions           sistently followed an acquisition strategy of buying jammers without
                      first testing them to be assured of satisfactory performance. This
                      strategy, while intended to expedite the fielding of needed aircraft pro-
                      tection, has resulted in the production of jammers with limited effective-
                      ness. Producing jammers to put them in storage does not enhance
                      aircraft survivability. The lack of adequate procedures for overseeing
                      and controlling Air Force jammer programs has contributed to this
                      situation,


                      We recommend that the Secretary of Defense
Recommendations
                  l prohibit the Air Force from awarding further contracts for production
                    of jammers until operational testing provides reasonable assurance that
                    they will meet established performance requirements and
                  . require the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Com-
                    munications, and Intelligence to establish adequate internal controls
                    over Air Force jammcr programs to assure that systems are satisfacto-
                    rily tested and demonstrate acceptable performance before producing
                    and deploying them.


                      Despite thcl jammer acquisition experiences cited in this report, DOD
Matters for           plans further production of the ALQ-184 and ALQ-135 preplanned
Congressional         product, improvement ,jammers without requiring demonstration of sat-
Consideration         isfactory performance during operational testing. Thus, the Congress
                      may wish to oppose further funding for these jammers until operational
                      testing provides reasonable assurance that they will meet established
                      performance requirements.




                      Page 23                                     GAO/NSIAD-90.168   Electronic   Warfare
Appendix I

Department of DefenseOrganizationsVisited ‘I) ’


              . Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control,
                Communications, and Intelligence, Washington, D.C.
              . Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, Washington,
                D.C.
                Headquarters, Air Force, Washington, DC.
                Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
                Air Force Systems Command, Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-
                Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
                Headquarters, Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia
                Tactical Air Warfare Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
                35th Tactical Fighter Wing, George Air Force Base, California
                33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
                Headquarters, U.S. Air Forces, Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West
                Germany
              . 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn Air Base, West Germany
              . 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Lakenheath, England




                Page 24                                   GAO/NSL4@90-168   Electronic   Warfare
Appen&II

CommentsFrom the Department of Defense

~-----II          -..-.
Note GAO comments
supplementlny    those In the
                                                                                                                                      - -
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.
                                                         ASSISTANT      SECRETARY           OF DEFENSE
                                                               WASHINGTON.        O.C.   20301-3040


                                                                      June 8, 1990




                                Mr. Frank C. Conahan
                                Assistant    Comptroller   General
                                National    Security   and International
                                   Affairs   Division
                                U.S. General Accounting       Office
                                Washington,    DC 20548

                                Dear Mr. Conahan:
                                      This is the Department of Defense (DOD) response to the
                                General Accounting   Office (GAO) draft reports,  "ELECTRONIC
                                WARFARE: Need to Strengthen    Controls Over Air Force Jammer
                                Programs,"   dated May 3, 1990 (GAO Code 395122), OSD Cases 8325
                                and 8325-X.
                                         The DOD recognizes      that deficiencies         existed      in the past,
                                primarily     because   of the overriding          requirement        to redress the
                                critical     shortfall    in electronic       warfare     capability.         The Office
                                of the Secretary       of Defense and the Air Force are concerned with
                                concurrency      in Electronic      Warfare programs.          Currently,         there
                                are no programs proceeding            to full    rate production          without     an
                                assessment     of their     operational      performance.
                                        In summary, the DOD concurs or partially                 concurs with most
                                of the GAO findings            and recommendations,         The DOD has reviewed
                                the Electronic        Warfare programs under the Department's                internal
See comment   1                 control     review process and determined             that they do not include
                                weaknesses that          merit   reporting    to the President       and Congress.
                                Controls     are in place to insure that systems demonstrate
                                acceptable      operational       performance    prior    to full    rate
See comment 2                   production.        The detailed       DOD comments are provided           in the
                                enclosure.        The DOD appreciates         the opportunity      to comment on
                                this draft       report.

                                                                                         Sincerely,

                                                                             uw
                                                                                         Duane P. Andrews


                           Y




                                      Page 25                                                         GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
- ..-.-..- -il l-.“-----(,ll.l....,.li“”_---__
                                                 Appendix11
                                                 Comments   From the Department    of Defense




                     .-. ..-   -.._____
                                                 The following are      GAO’S     comments on DOD'S letter dated June 8, 1990.


                                                 1. We believe that the findings in this report amply demonstrate that
GAO Cornments                                    DOD’Scontrols have not been effective in preventing the premature pro-
                                                 duction of jammers and the related adverse impacts. Thus, we affirm
                                                 our recommendation.

                                                 2. The enclosure has not been included because DOD classified it as
                                                 Secret. However, based on our analysis of these comments, we do not
                                                 believe they alter the message of this report. DOD'S comments and our
                                                 responses are contained in the classified version of this report.




                                                 Pii@ 26                                            GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warf&
Appcpdix ----.
          III

Major Contributors to This Report

                                                                                      /”

                      Jackie 13.Guin, Assistant Director
Atlanta Regional      Pamlutricia Greenleaf, Evaluator
Office                Marion Chastain, Evaluator
                      ,Jodi A. McDade, Evaluator


                      Robert Kissel, Regional Management Representative
Cincinnati Regional   Terry Parker, Evaluator
Office                Terre11 Bishop, Evaluator




                 Y




                      Page 27                                  GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
~ RelatedGAO Product


               Electronic Warfare: Reliable Equipment Needed to Test Air Force’s Elec-
               tronic Warfare Systems (GAO/NSIAD-89-137, Aug. 1989).




 (m5122)       Page 28                                   GAO/NSIAD-90-168   Electronic   Warfare
i



,
?