oversight

Aircraft Development: Navy's Participation in Air Force's Advanced Tactical Fighter Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-07.

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

March   l!)!N
                AIRCRAFT
                DEVELOPMENT
                Navy’s Participation in
                Air Force’s Advanced
                Tactical Fighter
                Program
United States
General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20648

National Security and
International Affairs Division

H-237848

March 7, 1990

The Honorable Les Aspin
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
I Iouse of Representatives

Dear Mr. Chairman:

This report, which was prepared at your request, examines the Navy’s involvement and
financial participation in the Air Force’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program and the aircraft
design considerations to accommodate the Navy’s requirements.

As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no
further distribution of this report until 30 days after its issue date. At that time we will send
copies to appropriate congressional committees; the Secretaries of Defense, the Air Force,
and the Navy; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested parties.

Please contact me at (202) 275-4268 if you or your staff have any questions concerning this
report. Other major contributors to this report are listed in appendix II.

Sincerely yours,




Nancy I<. Kingsbury
Director
Air Force Issues
Qecutive Summary


              The Air Force is developing the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) to
PuTpose       replace its land-based F-15 air superiority fighter, and the Navy is eval-
              uating a variant of the ATF as a possible replacement for its carrier-
              based F-14. Since World War II no U.S. fighter aircraft developed to
              operate from land has been successfully adapted to operate from carri-
              ers and procured by both the Air Force and the Navy.

              The House Committees on Armed Services and on Appropriations are
              concerned about the Navy’s commitment to the aircraft. The Chairman,
              House Committee on Armed Services, asked GAO to examine the Navy’s
              involvement and financial participation in the program and the design
              considerations for meeting the Navy’s requirements.


              The ATF and the Navy variant are to be twin-engine, all-weather aircraft
Btickground   capable of day or night operations over land or sea. Both are expected to
              have many new or expanded capabilities, such as maintenance of super-
              sonic speeds over long distances and lower detectability through the use
              of stealth technologies.

              Two airframe contractor teams and two engine contractors are involved
              in the demonstration and validation of the ATF and the Navy variant.
              Each airframe contractor team is building two prototype ATF aircraft, a
              ground-based avionics prototype, and an avionics test bed to be flown in
              a commercial-type aircraft. The engines are to be demonstrated in each
              of the airframe contractor’s prototype aircraft.

              The Air Force estimates that its acquisition costs will be $67.2 billion for
              750 aircraft; the Navy estimates that its acquisition costs will be $66.1
              billion for 618 aircraft.

              In March 1986 the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy agreed to
              evaluate the potential use of each service’s advanced aircraft to meet
              their future aircraft requirements. This led to the Navy’s participation
              in the ATF program. Similarly, the Navy is developing the Advanced Tac-
              tical Aircraft to replace its A-6 surface attack aircraft, and the Air Force
              is evaluating a variant of that aircraft to replace its F-l 11 surface
              attack aircraft.

              The Congress insisted that the Air Force and the Navy coordinate their
              advanced aircraft development programs closely to achieve commonal-
              ity and cross-service use of their aircraft. In 1988 the Navy contracted
              with the competing contractors to develop preliminary specifications for


              Page 2                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
                     Executive Summnry




                     its fighter and to assessthe suitability of the aircraft for use on aircraft
                     carriers.


                     Although the Navy’s involvement and financial participation in the A W
Results in Brief     program has increased over the last few years, the Navy is uncertain if
                     it will continue development and eventual procurement of the aircraft.
                     The Navy’s major concern is whether the airframe design derived from
                     the ATF is suitable for carrier operations. The extent to which the con-
                     tractor teams can satisfy the Navy’s requirements from a derivative
                     design is a key factor in the Navy’s continued involvement in the
                     program.

                     The Air Force and the Navy expect their fighters’ airframes to have
                     some commonality, even though the services have different require-
                     ments for their aircraft. The Navy’s fighter must have a stronger struc-
                     ture and excellent low-speed flying qualities to be compatible with
                     carrier operations. Even though achieving airframe commonality may be
                     difficult, the Air Force and the Navy plan to select the same airframe
                     and engine contractors and expect the engines and avionics to be highly
                     common.



Principal Findings

Navy’s Involvement   Since 1986 the Navy’s participation has grown from monitoring the
                     A W ’Searly development efforts to establishing a Navy A W program
                     office and planning for the joint selection of the airframe and engine
                     contractors.

                     The Navy ATF program office, established in 1988, is colocated with the
                     AI’F program office. At the Congress’direction, the Navy signed an
                     agreement in 1988 with the Air Force that provided for the Navy’s par-
                     ticipation in selecting the Air Force’s full-scale development airframe
                     and engine contractors. The agreement provided that the Navy’s
                     requirements will be major criteria for selecting the contractors.


Navy’s Financial     Although the Navy’s initial financial commitment to the ATF variant was
                     at the Congress’insistence, the Navy has budgeted a total of $724 mil-
Participation        lion for the aircraft for fiscal years 1990 through 1994. To date, the


                     Page 3                                      GAO/N&W-90-54   Aircraft Development
                                Executive Summary




                                Navy’s financial commitment has been for studies on the Navy’s unique
                                requirements and designs.

                                The Navy does not plan to build a prototype aircraft during its demon-
                                stration and validation phase. The Navy has contracted with the com-
                                peting contractor teams to develop preliminary Navy specifications and
                                designs that are suitable for carrier operations. The Air Force plans to
                                begin full-scale development in July 1991. At that time the Navy will
                                have only a preliminary aircraft design and plans to continue its demon-
                                stration and validation effort. The services will have to renew their con-
                                tracts because neither has contract obligations beyond December 1990.


Basting and M issi .on Affect   The ATF is designed to operate from fixed land bases, whereas the Navy
Aircraft Design                 variant must operate from the pitching and rolling deck of an aircraft
                                carrier at sea. This requires that the Navy variant be equipped with a
                                stronger landing gear, an arresting tail hook, and a stronger and heavier
                                structure to withstand the stress of carrier catapult takeoffs and
                                arrested landings. However, the Navy variant must not exceed the size
                                and weight limits imposed by a carrier’s elevator, catapult, and arrest-
                                ing equipment. Additionally, the Navy variant must be configured and
                                aerodynamically designed to provide the pilot with adequate visibility
                                and the aircraft with unusually good low-speed flying qualities to make
                                a safe carrier approach and landing.

                                The differences in the Air Force and Navy missions also affect the Navy
                                variant’s design. Even though both services require an air superiority
                                fighter, the Navy’s fleet air defense mission requires that its ATF be
                                capable of attacking enemy bombers before they can launch their cruise
                                missiles. Thus, the Navy variant must be capable of using long-range
                                weapons while operating for extended periods at long distances from
                                the fleet. This requires an aircraft with a larger fuel capacity and longer
                                range sensors and weapons than envisioned for the ATF.

                                The exact effect the preceding accommodations will have on aircraft
                                commonality is uncertain at this time. However, both services expect the
                                engines, avionics, and subsystems to provide the greatest potential for
                                commonality and the airframe to provide the least. According to the Air
                                Force, the engines and avionics could represent 44 percent of the ATF'S
                                unit flyaway cost. Historically, the services have been able to achieve
                                commonality for similar major components.




                                Page 4                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
-----j---
            I     Executive Summary




                  GAO   is not making recommendations in this report.
Recommendations

Agency Comments




                  Page 6                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
Cpntents


Executive Summary                                                                                    2

Chapter 1                                                                                        8
Introduction         Aircraft Design and Mission Goals
                     Status of Contractors’ Efforts
                                                                                                 8
                                                                                                 9
                     Cost of Aircraft Programs                                                   9
                     Congressional Direction and Concerns                                       10
                     Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                         10

Chapter 2                                                                                       12
N&y’s Involvement    Navy’s Agreements and Management Structure
                     ATF and NATF Program Schedules
                                                                                                12
                                                                                                13
and Financial        Navy’s Financial Participation                                             16
Participation        Conclusions                                                                18

Chapter 3                                                                                       19
Basing and Mission   Past Experience With Cross-Service Use of Aircraft
                     Carrier Suitability
                                                                                                19
                                                                                                20
Differences Affect   Mission Differences                                                        23
Aircraft Design      Conclusions                                                                24

Appendixes           Appendix I: Comments From the Department of Defense                        26
                     Appendix II: Major Contributors to This Report                             27

Table                Table 2.1: Funding Plans for the NATF as of November                       17
                         1989

Figures              Figure 2.1: Acquisition Schedule for the ATF                               14
                     Figure 2.2: Acquisition Schedule for the NATF                              15
                     Figure 3.1: Aerial View of Carrier Deck                                    22




           w         Abbreviations

                     ATF       Advanced Tactical Fighter
                     GAO       General Accounting Office
                     NATF      Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter


                     Page 6                                   GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
Page 7   GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
Chapter 1

Ihtroduction


                      In the early 1980s the Air Force and the Navy initiated aircraft develop-
                      ment programs to replace existing aircraft. The Air Force is developing
                      the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) for its air superiority mission to
                      replace the F-15. The Navy is developing the Advanced Tactical Aircraft
                      for its surface attack mission to replace the A-6. Because the Air Force
                      and the Navy have similar air superiority and surface attack missions,
                      the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy signed agreements in early
                      1986 to evaluate the potential use of each service’s advanced aircraft.
                      The Congress insisted that the Air Force and the Navy coordinate their
                      development activities closely to achieve commonality in their advanced
                      aircraft. This report discusses the ATF and the Navy ATF (NATF). We do
                      not discuss the Advanced Tactical Aircraft program because it is highly
                      classified.


                      The ATF is to be a land-based, single-seat, twin-engine fighter armed with
Aircraft Design and   AIM-l 20A Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, AIM-9 Side-
Mission Goals         winder Missiles, and a 20-millimeter gun. The ATF'S primary mission is to
                      maintain air superiority, which means that it will dominate the air bat-
                      tle so that friendly air and surface forces can conduct operations with-
                      out prohibitive interference by enemy air forces.

                      The NATF is to be a carrier-based, twin-engine fighter that can be armed
                      with the ATF'S complement of weapons, the Navy’s Advanced Air-to-Air
                      Missile, and certain Navy air-to-surface weapons, such as the AGM-88
                      High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile. The Navy has not decided whether
                      the NATF will be a single- or two-seat aircraft. This decision will be based
                      on contractor studies of the difference in performance and mission
                      effectiveness. The NATF'S primary missions are fleet air defense and
                      fighter support of friendly ground and tactical airborne forces.

                      The ATF and NATF are expected to be able to fight in all types of weather,
                      during the day or night, and over land or sea. The design concepts of
                      both aircraft include use of stealth technology, advanced materials, new
                      engines, and an advanced, highly integrated avionics system. Both air-
                      craft are expected to have new or expanded capabilities over existing
                      fighters, including the ability to cruise at supersonic speeds over long
                      distances without using fuel-inefficient afterburners; increased maneu-
                      verability; longer range; lower detectability; greatly improved reliability
                      and maintainability; and the capability to detect, identify, and engage
                      the enemy at ranges beyond the pilot’s vision.




                      Page8                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-54Aircraft   Development
                        Chapter 1
                        Introduction




   I


                        Two airframe contractor teams and two engine contractors are involved
Stabs of Contractors’   in the demonstration and validation of the ATF and NATF. The team of
Efforts                 Lockheed Corporation, Boeing Advanced Systems, and General Dynam-
                        ics Corporation is competing with the team of Northrop Corporation and
                        McDonnell Aircraft Company for the development and production of the
                        airframe and avionics. General Electric Corporation and Pratt &
                        Whitney Division, United Technologies Corporation, are competing for
                        the development and production of the engines.

                        Each airframe contractor team is building two ATF prototype aircraft, a
                        ground-based avionics prototype, and a flying avionics test bed to be
                        flown in a commercial-type aircraft. The engines are to be demonstrated
                        in each of the airframe contractor’s prototype aircraft. Flight demon-
                        strations are to begin in early 1990.

                        Each airframe contractor team is developing preliminary NATF specifica-
                        tions and designs as part of the NATF demonstration and validation. The
                        specifications and designs are to retain many of the ATF'S features, yet
                        be suitable for carrier operations, and accommodate the Navy missions.
                        The Navy does not plan to build NATF prototype aircraft during demon-
                        stration and validation.

                        After the flight demonstrations of the ATF prototypes, the airframe con-
                        tractor teams are to submit proposals for the full-scale development of
                        the A’I’Pand proposals for the continued demonstration and validation of
                        the NATF. The proposals are also to include budgetary data for the subse-
                        quent production of the ATF and subsequent full-scale development and
                        production of the NATF. The Air Force and the Navy plan to select the
                        same airframe contractor team and engine contractor to continue devel-
                        opment of the ATF and the NATF.

                        The Air Force and the Navy have program offices colocated at W right-
                        Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.


                        The Air Force estimates that the ATF'S acquisition costs will total $67.2
Cost of Aircraft        billion in escalated dollars. This estimate includes $13.5 billion for
Programs                research, development, test, and evaluation and $53.7 billion for pro-
                        curement of 750 aircraft. The Navy estimates that the NATF'S acquisition
            *           costs will total $66.1 billion in escalated dollars. This estimate includes
                        $8.5 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation and $57.6
                        billion for procurement of an estimated 618 aircraft. The Navy plans to



                        Page 9                                     GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
                       Chapter 1
                       Introduction




                       revise its cost estimate as the    NATF   designs are refined by the
                       contractors.


                       The Senate Committee on Armed Services report on the National
Cotigressional         Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1987 stated that
Direction and
Concerns               “Since the Navy must eventually replace the F-14 as well as the A-6, and the Air
                       Force must eventually replace its F-l 11s along with its F-16s, the committee
                       believes it is essential that the designs selected for the ATF and ATA [Advanced Tac-
                       tical Aircraft] anticipate these additional cross-service requirements.”

                       Further, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal years 1988
                       and 1989 made the Air Force’s use of fiscal year 1988 funds conditional
                       on its certification that the ATF designs

                       “are capable of accepting physical and structural modifications necessary to satisfy
                       fully the requirements of the Navy concerning catapults and arresting gear, and . . .
                       that a major source selection criteria for full scale development and production will
                       be the extent to which the contractor’s proposals for the Navy-variant of the
                       advanced tactical fighter meets fully the requirements of the Navy.”

                       Similar congressional direction on common and fully integrated avionics
                       for the ATF, Advanced Tactical Aircraft, and Army’s LHX helicopter is
                       included in other legislative materials.

                       The House Committees on Armed Services and on Appropriations are
                       concerned about the Navy’s commitment to the NATF. The Committee on
                       Appropriations also questioned whether the relative funding levels in
                       fiscal year 1990 between the Navy and Air Force for the ATF indicate a
                       serious commitment to joint use.


                       The Chairman, House Committee on Armed Services, requested that we
Objectives,Scope,and   examine the Navy’s involvement and financial participation in the ATF
Methodology            program and the design considerations for meeting the Navy’s
                       requirements.

                       To determine the Navy’s involvement and financial participation in the
                       ATF program, we reviewed and compared legislation and congressional
                       testimony with the Navy’s agreements, contracts, cost estimates, and
                       other documents. To determine the Navy’s design considerations, we
                       obtained data, studies, and analyses from officials of the Departments
                       of Defense, the Air Force, and the Navy in Washington, DC.; the Air


                       Page 10                                          GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
Chapter 1
Introduction




Force and the Navy System Program Offices at W right-Patterson Air
Force Base, Ohio; and the two competing ATF contractor teams of Lock-
heed/General Dynamics/Boeing and Northrop/McDonnell Douglas.

We conducted our work from March to November 1989 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. The Depart-
ment of Defense provided written comments on a draft of this report
and concurred with our findings.




Page 11                                  GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
Navy’s Involvement and F’inanciaJ.
                                Participation


                    Over the last few years, the Navy has increased its involvement in the
                    ATF program. In 1988 it established a program office that is colocated
                    with the ATF program office. It plans to participate in the next major
                    decision in the ATF program, which is to select the airframe and engine
                    contractors for the ATF'S full-scale development phase. The selection
                    decision is scheduled for April 1991, and the decision to begin full-scale
                    development of the ATF is scheduled to follow in June 1991.

                    The Navy’s major concern for the selection decision is whether a NATF
                    airframe derived from the ATF design is suitable for carrier operations.
                    The Navy will have only preliminary specifications and designs based
                    on analysis and wind tunnel testing at the time of the selection. Pro-
                    vided a carrier-suitable design is selected in April 199 1, the Navy plans
                    to continue its demonstration and validation of the NATF at the same
                    time the ATF begins full-scale development. The Air Force and the Navy
                    will have to commit to new contracts because the present contracts obli-
                    gate neither service beyond December 1990. However, the Air Force and
                    the Navy are in the process of negotiating extensions of the present con-
                    tracts through June 1991. Further, the Navy needs to make key mile-
                    stone decisions before it ultimately commits to produce the NATF.

                    The Navy’s financial commitment to date has been for contractor studies
                    of unique requirements for the NATF airframe and modifications required
                    to the ATF engines, avionics, and subsystems. Although the Navy’s initial
                    financial commitment to the NATF was at the Congress’insistence, it has
                    budgeted a total of $724 million for the program for fiscal years 1990
                    through 1994.


                    In March 1986 the Secretary of the Navy committed the Navy to an
Navy’s Agreements   evaluation of the ATF candidates. From 1986 until 1988, direct Navy
and Management      involvement consisted of monitoring the Air Force’s early demonstration
Structure           and validation efforts. One Navy official was assigned to the ATF pro-
                    gram office to monitor the efforts.

                    In March 1987 the Navy signed an agreement with the Air Force and the
                    Army to identify and develop common avionics for the Navy’s
                    Advanced Tactical Aircraft, the Air Force’s ATF, and the Army’s LHX
                    helicopter. This agreement established a committee composed of pro-
                    gram management officials and avionics specialists from the three pro-
                    grams The committee provides a forum to coordinate the avionics
                    development activities and develop common avionics specifications and



                    Page 12                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
                    chapter2
                    Navy’s Involvement and
                    Financial Participation




                    standards for the three weapon systems and their derivatives. The com-
                    mittee’s decisions require tri-service consensus.

                    At the Congress’direction, the Air Force and the Navy signed an agree-
                    ment in January 1988 that provides for the Navy’s participation in the
                    Air Force’s selection of the airframe and engine contractors for the ATF
                    full-scale development phase. Also, at the Congress’direction, the agree-
                    ment was written to specify that the Navy’s requirements will be major
                    criteria in selecting the aircraft design. Navy officials said that the air-
                    craft’s carrier suitability will be the major Navy issue during the selec-
                    tion process. The Navy will have representation at all levels in the
                    selection process, and the NATF program manager does not expect any
                    disagreement with the Air Force in the selection of the same contractors.

                    In August 1988 the Navy established a program office at W right-Patter-
                    son Air Force Base to manage the NATF effort. The staff consists of a
                    program manager, a deputy, and an assistant. An additional seven per-
                    sonnel located at the Naval Air Systems Command are dedicated to coor-
                    dinating the efforts of functional specialists supporting the NATF
                    program. IJnlike the Air Force, which has functional specialists such as
                    engineers assigned to the program office, the Navy requires the program
                    manager to obtain support and assistance from specialists within the
                    Naval Air Systems Command and other Navy activities. Because these
                    specialists support a number of Navy programs, their efforts are not
                    dedicated to the NATF and are provided as needed.


                    The ATF and NATF program schedules project key events and major mile-
ATF and NATF        stone decisions at different points in time. Figures 2.1 and 2.2 show the
Program Schedules   schedules for the two programs.




                    Page 13                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
                                               Chapter 2
                                               Navy’s Involvement and
                                               Financial Participation




Figqke 2.1: Acquisition Schedule for the ATF
       --.

        ( 1990 1 1991 1 1992 ( 1993 ( 1994 ( 1995 1 1996 ( 199J                    ( 1998 ( 1999 ( 2000       ( 2001     (
                   ----m m
         Prototype flight demonstration
                   w-m-m.

       A   First flight
           1st quarter 1990


                  A    Contractors selected
                       Apr. 1991


                                    Full-scale development
                                                                                                 --m --w---
                                                                                                 mm-m-m---

                      A       Decision
                              June 1991
                                                     A       First flight
                                                             June 1994



                                                             Low-rate production     High-rate production
                                                                                                                  m m -.
                                                                                                                  -mm.

                                                         A    Decision
                                                              Dec. 1994
                                                                                     Decision
                                                                                     Dec. 1997




                                               Page 14                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
           r---
                                            Chapter 2
           I                                Navy’s Involvement and
           )                                Financial Participation




Fiallre 2.2: Acauisition Schedule for the NATF
 -‘r----




      Ii1990      ) 1991 ] 1992 ) 1993 1 1994 ) 1995 ) 1996 ) 1997 1 1998 1 1999 1 2000             ) 2001      )
      m2--                                                                                     ~~~~~-~-~I
       Demonstration/validation                           Full-scale development
      ---
               A selected
                    Contractors     A   Decision
                                        4th quarter
                                                                      A   First flight
                                                                          Jan. 1997
                     Apr. 1991          1993




                                                                                         A   Decision
                                                                                             %Juarter




                                                                                                            A       Decision
                                                                                                                    4th quarter
                                                                                                                    2001




                                            The Air Force and the Navy are negotiating a 6-month extension of the
                                            current demonstration and validation contracts to reduce risks associ-
                                            ated with full-scale development. The selection of the contractors is
                                            scheduled for April 1991, and the ATF'S full-scale development milestone
                                            decision is to follow in June 199 1, The Navy plans to begin the final
                                            stage of the NATF'S demonstration and validation in July 1991 at the
                                            same time the Air Force is scheduled to award the ATF'S full-scale devel-
                                            opment contracts. The Navy plans to begin the NATF full-scale develop-
                                            ment phase in fiscal year 1994, about Z-l/Z years after the ATF begins
                                            full-scale development.



                                            Page 16                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
                                  Chapter 2
                                  Navy’s Involvement and
                                  Financial Participation




---1-----

                                  The flights of the ATF prototypes are to demonstrate supersonic cruise,
                                  weapons launch, detectability, flight handling qualities, and other per-
                                  formance characteristics. The flights will not demonstrate the aircraft’s
                                  carrier suitability because the prototypes are not designed for use on
                                  aircraft carriers.


                                  The Navy’s initial financial commitment to the NATF was at the Congress’
Navy’s Financial                  insistence, and the Congress continues to insist that the Navy remain
Participation                     committed to the program. To date, the Navy has used funds only for
                                  studies of Navy requirements unique to the NATF airframe and required
                                  modifications to the ATF engines, avionics, and subsystems.

                                  Although the ATF program is not a joint Air Force and Navy program,
                                  the services’ funding arrangement is similar to that of joint programs.
                                  For example, the Navy is providing funds to the contractors only for
                                  studies and design changes to meet their particular requirements,
                                  whereas the Air Force is providing funds for all other aspects of the
                                  program. Cost-sharing arrangements for joint programs during research,
                                  development, test, and evaluation typically provide for each service to
                                  fund its own peculiar requirements. Common requirements are funded
                                  entirely by the lead service or are shared by the services according to an
                                  agreed formula.

__ ..____.
       ..-_   .-.._....____
                          ---_-
Funding                           The first 2 years of the NATF efforts were funded with $1.9 million of
                                  fiscal year 1988 reprogrammed funds and $65 million of fiscal year
                                  1989 funds appropriated by the Congress. The fiscal year 1990 budget
                                  request for $65 million was the first Navy request for funds for the
                                  NATE'. According to Navy officials, the $131.9 million budgeted through
                                  fiscal year 1990 will fund the Navy’s demonstration and validation
                                  effort through the development of a preliminary NATF design.

                                  The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1989 required
                                  the Secretary of Defense to certify that the Navy had budgeted suffi-
                                  cient funds for fiscal years 1990 through 1994 to participate in the ATF
                                  demonstration and validation program. The Secretary of Defense pro-
                                  vided the certification in January 1989, and the Navy included funds in
                                  its budget, as shown in table 2.1.




                                  Page 16                                   GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
                                           Chapter 2
                                           Navy’s Involvement and
                                           Financial Participation




Table,2.1: Funding Plans for the NATF as
of November 1989                           Dollars in millions
                                                                                     Fiscal year
                                           1990                    1991               1992                 1993                1994      Total
                                           $65                      $65                $100                 $99                $395      $724


                                           After selection of the airframe and engine contractors for the ATF'S full-
                                           scale development, the Navy will decide whether to continue demonstra-
                                           tion and validation of the NATF with the selected design. The Navy has
                                           budgeted funds through fiscal year 1993 to continue demonstration and
                                           validation. The fiscal year 1994 funds are budgeted to initiate full-scale
                                           development.


Coqtractual Commitment                     The first stages of the Navy’s demonstration and validation efforts are
                                           provided for in two contract modifications to the ATF contracts. In Sep-
                                           tember 1988 the Navy contracted with the competing ATF contractor
                                           teams to develop preliminary NATF specifications and assesscarrier suit-
                                           ability, performance, and other mission capabilities specific to the Navy.
                                           The Navy specified the ATF subsystems that should be retained in the
                                           NATF designs. In assessing carrier suitability, the Navy specified that the
                                           NATF had to operate from the CV-63 class and subsequent classes of air-
                                           craft carriers.’ According to the Navy, the NATF must be compatible with
                                           the size and weight capacities of the deck elevators, catapults, and
                                           arresting gear, and other carrier-imposed limits. The Navy specified that
                                           the NATF must be compatible with its Advanced Air-to-Air Missile and
                                           that the ATF'S fuel, armament, avionics and sensor, propulsion, and
                                           flight control systems would be retained but modified to accommodate
                                           carrier operations.

                                           In April 1989 the ATF contracts were again modified to continue the
                                           NATF'S demonstration and validation and further define the NATF. The
                                           Navy specified a maximum take-off gross weight of 65,000 pounds and a
                                           carrier landing weight of 52,000 pounds as design goals and set limits on
                                           the NATF'S length and size. The NATF is not to exceed the F-14 in length,
                                           and with its wings folded, it is to take up no greater deck space than the
                                           F-14.




                                           ‘The IJSS. Kitty Hawk, which was commissioned in 1961, was the first CV-63 class aircraft carrier
                                           acquired. Twelve aircraft carriers are included in this and subsequent classes.



                                           Page 17                                                 GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
Chapter 2
Navy’s Involvement and
Pinancial Participation




The preliminary NATF designs are expected to be completed and substan-
tiated by wind tunnel testing at the conclusion of the Air Force demon-
stration and validation phase and available for use in the selection of
the contractor, scheduled for April 1991.


The Navy has focused its efforts on developing preliminary NATF specifi-
cations and designs so that it can participate in the selection of the air-
frame and engine contractors. The Navy wants to ensure that the
selected contractors have a NATF design that accommodates Navy
requirements. The Navy’s major issue in the selection process is the air-
craft’s suitability for carrier operations. The flight demonstrations of
the ATF prototypes will be of little value to the Navy in making this eval-
uation because the prototypes will not be suitable for carrier operations.
Therefore, in making its selection, the Navy will rely on studies and
designs prepared by the contractors and substantiated by wind tunnel
testing.

Although the Navy’s financial participation in the ATF program has been
limited, it has budgeted funds to continue NATF development through fis-
cal year 1994. The Navy is uncertain if it will continue development and
eventual procurement of the NATF. In April 1991 the Air Force and the
Navy are scheduled to select the ATF and derivative NATF designs. The
extent to which the contractors can satisfy the Navy’s requirements
from a derivative design of the ATF is a key factor in whether the Navy
remains committed to the program.




Page 18                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
I Chapter 3

  E$singand MissionDifferencesAffkxt
  Aircraft Design

                        Few attempts to make common airframes serve both Air Force and
                        Navy purposes have been successful. Studies show that it is difficult to
                        accommodate Navy missions and carrier basing in an airframe designed
                        for Air Force missions and land basing. The services have had more suc-
                        cess with common use of major components such as engines, weapons,
                        and avionics equipment. Nevertheless, according to the Air Force and
                        the Navy, their early involvement in the ATF'S development can preserve
                        common design features for the ATF and NATF.


                        Since the mid-1940s successful cross-service use of fighter and attack
 Past Experience With   aircraft has been limited. The F-4 and A-7 are among the more success-
 Cross-ServiceUse of    ful aircraft used by both the Air Force and the Navy during this period,
 Aircraft               but both were initially designed by the Navy to operate from aircraft
                        carriers. Since World War II no US. fighter or attack aircraft developed
                        to operate from land bases has been successfully adapted to operate
                        from carriers and procured by both the Air Force and the Navy.

                        Although success in making common airframes that satisfy both Air
                        Force and Navy requirements has been limited, certain major compo-
                        nents such as engines, weapons, and avionics equipment have been used
                        by both services. For example, the J-79 engine was used in the Air Force
                        F-104 and Air Force and Navy F-4 aircraft, the AIM-9 Sidewinder mis-
                        sile is commonly used by many Air Force and Navy fighters, and the
                        ALQ-99 tactical jamming equipment is used by the Air Force EF-1 11A
                        and Navy EA-6B aircraft. Similarly, the services expect the ATF and NATF
                        engines, avionics, and subsystems to have commonality, even though the
                        airframe will likely have to be significantly different to make the NATF
                        suitable for carrier operations and to meet the Navy’s mission require-
                        ments, The Air Force estimates that the cost of the engines and avionics
                        will be about 44 percent of the ATF'S estimated $37.2 million (1985 dol-
                        lars) total unit flyaway cost.2 By accommodating the differences early in
                        development while the aircraft design is flexible, the Air Force and the
                        Navy expect that many common design features can be preserved and
                        that both services’ needs will be met.




                        “Unit flyaway cost includes all production costs (recurring and nonrecurring) that are incurred in the
                        manufacture of a usable end item. It includes the prime mission equipment (basic structure, propul-
                        sion, electronics) and allowances for engineering changes and warranties.



                        Page 19                                                   GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
                      Chapter 3
                      Basing and Mieslon Differences Affect
                      Aircraft Design




                      A key factor contributing to the design differences between the ATF and
Carrier Suitability   NATF is their different basing requirements. The ATF is designed to oper-
                      ate from land bases, whereas the NATF must operate from the pitching
                      and rolling deck of an aircraft carrier at sea. To be suitable for carrier
                      operations, the NATF must have, among other things, a stronger structure
                      than the ATF to withstand carrier launches and recoveries; excellent low-
                      speed flying qualities tailored to carrier approaches and landings; and
                      size, weight, configuration, and environmental compatibility with car-
                      rier operations.


Carrier Launch and    Carrier launch and recovery requires that an aircraft be equipped with
                      a strong landing gear, an arresting tail hook, and a reinforced structure
Recpvery              to withstand the high stress of catapult takeoffs and arrested landings.
                      The acceleration, deceleration, and impact forces encountered by car-
                      rier-based aircraft are substantially greater than those experienced by
                      land-based aircraft. For example, because land-based aircraft do not use
                      catapults for takeoffs, they are not equipped with a nose landing gear
                      suitable for catapulting or subjected to the substantial acceleration
                      forces experienced during catapult takeoffs. Similarly, land-based air-
                      craft do not routinely make arrested landings. Therefore, they are not
                      equipped with a fully capable tail hook or normally subjected to the
                      deceleration forces of arrested landings. The deceleration force expe-
                      rienced in arrested carrier landings is 24 times greater than that expe-
                      rienced by land-based aircraft, and the vertical impact force is over 3
                      times the level encountered by land-based aircraft.

                      Accordingly, a land-based aircraft’s landing gear, wings, and fuselage
                      must be strengthened with additional materials and/or redesigned struc-
                      ture to enable the aircraft to withstand the stress of catapult launches
                      and arrested landings. Air Force and Navy program officials estimate
                      that, to accommodate these and the other Navy requirements, the empty
                      weight” of the NATF will have to be about 4,000 pounds heavier than the
                      ATF.


                                                                                       B


Low -Speed Flying     To ensure a safe carrier approach and landing, the NATF must be capable
                      of a lower landing speed and more precise flight control during landings
Qualities             than required for the ATF. The low approach speed is necessary to stay
                      within the structural load limits of the arresting gear aboard both the

                      “Empty weight includes the weight of an aircraft’s structure, engines, hydraulic and electrical sys-
                      tems, and avionics. It does not include such items as fuel and armament.



                      Page 20                                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
                    Chapter 3
                    Basling and Miesion Differences Affect
                    Aircraft Design




--
                    aircraft and the carrier. If approach speeds are too high, damage or fail-
                    ure of the aircraft’s or carrier’s arresting equipment is a risk. In addi-
                    tion, a carrier-based aircraft’s design must provide unusually good
                    aerodynamic performance at these low speeds for the precise flight con-
                    trol needed during carrier approach and landing.

--
Size, Weight, and   Although carrier-based aircraft tend to have heavier structures to with-
                    stand catapult launches and arrested landings, they must not exceed
Configuration       certain size and weight limits imposed by carrier operations.
Compatibility
                    The physical constraints associated with handling an aircraft above and
                    below decks on an aircraft carrier pose strict limits on an aircraft’s size,
                    weight, and configuration that are not normally imposed on land-based
                    aircraft. The need to park and maneuver a large number of aircraft
                    while avoiding obstructions, not only limits the aircraft’s length and
                    width but also necessitates folding the aircraft’s wings, (See fig. 3.1.)
                    Similarly, aircraft weight is limited by the capacity of the carrier’s ele-
                    vators, catapults, and arresting equipment. For example, the carriers
                    from which the NATF will operate have an elevator load capacity of
                    130,000 pounds and dimensions of 70 feet by 52 feet. Because the Navy
                    has a design goal of lifting two NATFS on an elevator simultaneously, the
                    Navy has limited the NATF'S size with wings folded to basically that of
                    the F-14 and has limited its takeoff gross weight goal to 65,000 pounds,




                    Page 21                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
                                          -
---..--“---

                                              Chapter 3
                                              B a s i n g a n d Mission Differences A ffect
                                              Aircraft D e & n




 Flgura 3.1: Aerial V i e w of Carrier Deck




                                               Source: Navy


                                                T h e N A T P m u s t also b e c o n fig u r e d to a c c o m m o d a tecarrier u s e a n d safe
                                                Carrier a p p r o a c h e sa n d landings. T h e n e e d for stability while m a n e u v e r -
                                                i n g a n aircraft o n a pitching, rolling d e c k to p r e v e n t tip p i n g to th e side
                                                or b a c k constrains l a n d i n g g e a r p l a c e m e n t.Further, m a i n l a n d i n g g e a r


                                                Page 22
                                                                                                         G A O / N S I A D - 9 0 - 6 4Aircraft D e v e l o p m e n t
                                                Chapter 3
                                                Basing and Mission Differences Affect
                                                Aircraft Design




                                                placement is also limited to allow for adequate wheel clearance from the
                                                edge of the carrier deck during catapult launch.

                                                The NATF must provide the pilot with adequate visibility in addition to
                                                low-speed flying qualities to make a safe carrier approach and landing.
                                                Steep approach angles, required for carrier landings, demand that the
                                                aircraft’s cockpit and front fuselage design provide the pilot with an
                                                unobstructed view of the carrier deck and stern. This degree of over-the-
                                                nose visibility is unnecessary for a land-based aircraft. Consequently,
                                                the ATF cockpit, canopy, and front fuselage structure will likely be rede-
                                                signed to provide the NATF pilot with an increased forward field of view.

-..._..___I.-_- ..--...- --.-.-..--..---___--
Environment                                     The marine and electromagnetic environments encountered by carrier-
                                                based aircraft require special design considerations not normally
                                                required of land-based aircraft. For example, additional corrosion pro-
                                                tection is necessary against high humidity, a salt laden environment,
                                                and corrosive carrier stack exhaust gases. Corrosion protection is nor-
                                                mally achieved by using special materials, construction techniques, and
                                                protective coatings. The services expect few problems in satisfying this
                                                requirement for the NATP. For example, the Air Force has tentatively
                                                adopted the Navy’s more stringent corrosion protection requirements
                                                for its engines,

                                                Aircraft avionics and electronic components of the flight control system
                                                require additional protection because of the high level of electromag-
                                                netic interference encountered around the ship. According to Navy offi-
                                                cials, this protection will likely include additional shielding, electronic
                                                filtering, and modified circuitry and software for the NATF electronic
                                                flight controls.

                                                 ____-.-.
                                                Although the ATF and NAW are required to be air superiority fighters, the
Mission Differences                             differences in their missions tend to require certain differences in the
                                                airframe designs. The ATF is to protect friendly air and surface forces by
                                                attacking high-priority airborne enemy targets such as interceptors,
                                                stand-off jammers, and large offensive attack formations. However, the
                                                Navy’s fleet air defense mission requires that the NATF be capable of
                                                using long-range weapons while operating for extended periods at long
                                                distances from the fleet, which is unnecessary for the Air Force mission.




                                                l’qp   23                                  GAO/NSIAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
              Chapter 3
              Basing and Mission Differences Affect
              Aircraft Design




              According to the Navy, the main threat to the carrier fleet are cruise
              missiles launched by enemy bombers at great distances. The NATF'S pri-
              mary role in fleet air defense is to detect and destroy enemy bombers
              before they can launch their missiles. Once launched, the missiles
              become additional targets for the air defense fighters to destroy. Conse-
              quently, according to the Navy, the NATF must be capable of remaining
              aloft for long periods and at extended distances from the fleet to pro-
              vide early warning and protection from encroaching enemy aircraft.
              Also, it must be capable of carrying and firing long-range weapons. This
              requires the NATF to have larger wings, more fuel-carrying capacity, and
              longer range weapons than the ATF. The larger wing is also compatible
              with attaining the excellent low-speed flying qualities necessary for car-
              rier approaches and landings. The longer range weapon capability
              requires integration of the Navy’s Advanced Air-to-Air Missile and mod-
              ification of the ATF'S radar system to achieve longer detection ranges to
              be compatible with the Advanced Air-to-Air Missile.

              The Navy also requires that the NATF be capable of using air-to-surface
              weapons for its mission in support of ground forces. This is not a pri-
              mary Air Force requirement for the ATF. Because carriers hold a limited
              number of aircraft, this dual capability provides a Navy commander
              with the operational flexibility to attack either air or surface targets
              with one aircraft.


              Few fighter aircraft in the past have successfully been used by both the
Conclusions   Air Force and the Navy, and no U.S. fighter aircraft developed to oper-
              ate from land has been successfully adapted to operate from carriers
              and procured by both the Air Force and the Navy. Although the ATF has
              been designed to operate from land bases, the Air Force and the Navy
              consider it an exception to past experiences because their requirements
              are being incorporated early while the aircraft design is flexible.

              The Air Force and the Navy expect the ATF and NATF airframes to have
              some commonality, even though the services have different require-
              ments for their aircraft. Although history shows that few aircraft have
              been commonly used by both services, it also shows that the services
              have used common engines, weapons, and avionics. Similarly, the Air
              Force and the Navy expect the ATF and NATF engines, subsystems, and
              avionics to be highly common. The Air Force estimates that the cost of
              the engines and avionics will be about 44 percent of the ATF'S unit fly-
              away cost.



              Page 24                                   GAO/NSIAD-90-64 Aircraft Development
Y




    Page 25   G A O / N S I A D - 9 0 - 5 4Aircraft D e v e l o p m e n t
mndix   I

CommentsFrom the Department of Defense                                                                                 .



                                         THE   UNDER    SECRETARY        OF DEFENSE
                                                 WASHINGTON,        DC    20301




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

                Dear Mr.    Conahan;
                       This is the Department    of Defense (DOD)    response to the
                General Accounting    Office  (GAO) Draft Report,      "AIRCRAFT
                DEVELOPMENT: Navy's Participation        in Air Force’s     Advanced
                Tactical    Fighter Program@' dated December 15, 1989 (GAO Code
                392493/OSD Case 8207).
                      The DOD has reviewed  the report                     and concurs without        comment.
                The DOD appreciates   the opportunity                    to review the report         in draft
                form.
                                                               Sincerely,


                                                                          ROBERT C. McCORMACK
                                                       By Direction         of the Secretary of         Defense




            J




                     Page26                                                       GAO/NSIAD-90-54AircraftDevelopment
, Apperjdix II

M$or Contributorsto This Report


     @ Security and
 National                Robert L. Pelletier, Assistant Director
 International Affairs
 Division, Washington,
 DC.

 Cincinnati Regional     James R. Kahmann, Evaluator-in-Charge
 Office                  Neilson S. Wickliffe, Evaluator
                         Catherine L. Basl, Evaluator




                         Page 27                                   GAo/NStAD-90-54 Aircraft Development
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