DOCURENT RESUMR 00097 - [A07513483 Status of the Remotely Piloted aircraft Programs. PSAD-77-30; B-163058. February 18, 1977. 9 pp. Report to the Congress; by Ulser D. Staats, Comptroller General. Issue Area: military Preparedness Plans (800); Federal Procurement of Goods and Services (1900);Pederal Procurement of Goods and Sarvices: Notifying the Congress of Status of Important Proclirement Programs (1905). Contact: ProcurePent and Systems Acquisition Div. Budget Function: iational Defense (050); National Defense: Weapon Systems (057)j. Organization Concerned: Department of Defense; Department of the Air Force; Department of the Army; Lockheed Aircraft Corp.; Boeing Co.; Teledyne Ryan Co. Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Armed Services; Senate Committee on Armed Services; Congress. In the next S years, about $700 cillion will be spent on remotely piloted vehicles (RPV), primarily for two Air Force projects--Compass Cope and multimissien--and one Army RPV--Aguila. These are being developed because Department of Defense officials believe RPVs are able to perform high-risk and politically sensitive missions more practically and inexpensively ihan piloted aircraft. Compass Cope is a large, high-altitude, long-range RPV, which is being developed at a cost of S160 million. The multisission APV, called BGH-34C, medium-sized and shortr&nge, is being develcped to replace single-mission, electronic warfare and reconnaissance RPYs. An advanced RPV is also being planned to replace t'_ BGH-3,C. The army's Aquila RPV is being developed to demonstrate the use of small BPVs for tactical surveillance and target identif:.cation. Findings/Concl.sions: The Compass Cope is in the developmental stage, but production is planned for 1981, if funds are available. The Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council, which is supposed to review all major new systems three times during development, has not reviewed Compass Cope. The Tactical Air Command, primary user cf this RPV, has questioned the need for it, indicating that existing aircraft can do the task as well and as cheaply. Compass Cope may also have air-rights flyover problems, but the countries involved and the Air Force think the problem can be solved, possibly by onboard sensors to avoid collisions. Half of the test flights of the BGN-34C have resulted in missed midair retrieval, because of parachure failure, but the damage has been minor, Preliminary performance tests show the BGH-34C to fly faster and higher, and carry more than the BPVs it will replace. Preliminary ccst studies indicate that the BGH-34C is comparable to the RPVs it is replacing. De;elopment of its replacement is scheduled for 1980. After initial testing failures, the Armyes Aquila was modified and has been 3uccessfully tested, including seven automatic launch and recovery flights. Testing with TV camera, laser and other equipment has not been completed. Recommendations: The Dsfense systess Acquisition Review Council should review the Cor.pass Cope program and other RPV programs to provide the three services involved in their development with the benefit of such reviews. Determiration should Lq made as to the need for Compass cope and whether it is cost effective since there are existirg aircraft to perform its functions. The issue of potential flight restrictions should be resolved. Because of problems encountered and the planned use of Aquila with Army weapons, the basic concepts, such as launch and recovery, should he proven befcre the program is allowed to proceed further. (Author/SS) CD REPORT TO THE CONGRESS BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ,.A"'':: . OF THE UNITED STATES Status Of The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Programs Departments of the Air Force and Army Unmanned aircraft piloted by remote control are being developed by the Air Force and Army to perform some m;ssions now flown by men in planes. The Department of Defense has budgeted over $700 million to develop and produce remotely piloted vehicles over the next 5 years. The Air Force began, and is continuing, the Compass Cope program without resolving questions on mission and cost effectiveness. The Air Force awarded a contract for full- scale development in August 1976. The Army's Aquila program has been plagued with design and procedural difficulties which have led to cost growth and schedule delays. GAO recommends that the Secretary of De- fense closely monitor remotely piloted vehicle progr :ms to -make sure that basic mission, procedural, and cost-effectiveness questions are resolved. PSAD-77-30 FEE. 1 8, 1 9 77 COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WASHINGTON. D.C. Z0S4 B-163058 To the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives This report presents our views on the major issues concerning the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Programs. For the past several years, we have annually reported to the Con- gress on the status of selected major weapons systems. This report is 1 of a series of 29 reports that we are furnishing this year to the Congress for its use in review- ing fiscal year 1978 requests for funds. A draft of this report waE reviewed by agency offi- cials associated with the program and their comments are incorporated as appropriate. We made our review pursuant to the Bulget and Account- ing Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Audit- ing Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67). We are sending copies of this report to the Director, Office of Management and Budget, and the Secretary of Defense. Comptroller General of the United States Con tents Page DIGEST CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Scope 2 AIR FORCE RPV PROGRAMS 2 Compass Cope 2 ?rogram status 2 Observations 3 Multimissiou RPVs 5 Program status 6 Advanced mult-i ission RPV 6 Conclusions and recommendations 7 3 ARMY RPV PROGRAMS 8 Aquila 8 Program status 8 Conclusions and recommendations 9 ABBREVIATIONS GAO General Accounting Office RPV remotely piloted vehicle COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S STATUS OF REMOTELY PILOTED REPORT TO THE CONGRESS AIRCRAFT PROGRAMS Department of Defense DI GE ST The Army, Navy, and Air Force are develop- ing unmanned aircraft piloted by remote control for reconnaissance, surveillance, and communication missions now flown by men in planes. The Department of Defense thinks remotely piloted vehicles can fly some missions at less cost and can accomplish other mis- sions that are impractical for manned air- craft. They have budgeted over $700 million to develop and produce remotely pilote3 vehicles over the next 5 years. In fiscal year 1977 they budgeted about $105 million for these programs, $77 million of which was for the Air Force's Compass Cope and BGM-34C and the Army's Aquila re- motely piloted vehicles. The Compass Cope is a high-altitude, long- endurance, relatively large aircraft that is being developed by the Boeing Company. It is being designed to carry changeable equipment for different missions, such as battle area surveillance, communication, target location, and signal intelligence. The BGM-34C is a multimission, medium-sized remotely piloted vehicle being developed by Teledyne Ryan. it is designed for short- range electronic warfare and reconnaissance missions. The Air Force is also studying ways to use this aircraft for carrying offensive weapons. The Army's Aquila is a 135-pound aircraft with a 35-pound payload being developed by the Lockheed Missile and Space Company. LU.unched from a truck-mounted catapult, it i; designed for surveillance, reconnaissance, and r.::rgeting missions. Tear Sheet. Upor removal, the report i PSAD-77-30 Cover date should be noted hereon. GAO found that the Air F rce did not follow establisnhed procedures for developing new systems and that the Army Aquila program has incurred major cost and schedule overruns. Spec ificall y: -The Air Force began developing the Compass Cope without first resolving issues on mis- sion, need, and cost effectiveness, and the need for the system was questioned by the Tactical Air Command as late as Apri) 1976. (See pp. 3 and 4.) -- The Compass Cope program still has not been reviewed by the Defense Systems Acquisi- tion Review Council and its cost effective- ness has not been resolved. Due to a change in Department of Defense practices this program may not be reviewed by the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council. (See pp. 3 and 4.) -- The Air Force has not resolved Federal Aviation Administration and international restrictions which may restrict some routine Compass Cope operations. (See pp. 4 and 5.) -- The Army's Aquila program has been plagued with design and procedural difficulties which have led to cost growth and schedule slippage. (See p. 9.) GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense determine if the Air Force needs the Compass Cope and if it is cost effective to deploy a new weapon system when there are existing aircraft which may be able to perform the Compass Cope mission. Also, the matter of flight restrictions im- posed by the United States or foreign govern- ments should be resolved. The Secretary of Defense should also direct the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council to review the Compass Cope program, as well as other remotely piloted vehicle programs, to provide the three services ii involved in remotely piloted vehicle de- velopment programs tne benefits of such reviews. Because of the problems encountered and the planned use of remotely piloted vehicles with Army weapons, such as the cannon lauinched guided projectiles, GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense make sure the basic concepts, such as launch and recovery, are proven before the Aquila program is allowed to proceed further. A draft of this report was reviewed by agency officials associated with manage- ment of the programs and their comments have been incorporated as appropriate. Tear Sheet i ii ~ ~ ~~~~ b~~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ i *-~~~~~~~~ :S: v ~t:y :y . -: I A:R FORCE BGM-34C MULTIMISSION RPV (PHOTO C O (PHOTO COUR TESY OF U S A I F013 CE AlR FORCE COMPASS COPE R PV ~ __ ~ ~ ~ i -~~~~ -11.· ri~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~0 C~~~~~~~~~~~~I a i--t : . :~ ::,: : .-~i .... .. .. . .- -~_/.;-~; 'r-4 - 244- 4, ww [ r 2 ~~~~~~~~~~ 0 I- ?) I:·j~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 0 ,i ~~~~~~~~~~~~ r~~~~~~~~ CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Department of Defense plans to spend over $700 million in the next 5 years to develop and prorduce remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) with about $105 million requested for fiscal year '977. Over 70 percent of the requested funds were for twc Air Force programs--the Compass Cope and Multi- mission--and one Army program--the Aquila. The Air Force. Army, and Navy have used RPVs as ai.- borne target drones for the past 20 years. The Air Furce has successfully used them for recrnnalssance and electronic warfare. The last major RPV development programs were. in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Army spent about $300 mil- lion on five different programs to develop reconnaissance drones but the programs were unsuccessful. The Navy spent more than $250 million to develop and purchase 750 drone anti- submarine helicopters which, after 411 crashed, were removed from serv'ce. RVs are being developed because Depart- ment of Defense officials believe RPVs may be able to per- form high-risk and politically sensitive missions more practically and at le-s cost than piloted aircraft. SCOPE This review was done to document the status of the Com- pass Cope, Multimission, and Aquila RPV programs, and to provide data for helping the Congress evaluate RPV programs and budget requests. We reviewed records, documents, and reports, and held discussions with responsible officials. The work was done at the Pentagon; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio; Army Aviation Systems Command, St. Louis, Missouri; and the Army Mobility Research and De- fense Laboratory, Fort Eustis, Virginia. A copy of this report was reviewed by agency officials associated with management of the program and their comments have been incorporated as appropriate. CHAPTER 2 AIR FORCE RPV PROGRAMS The Air Force plans to spend $831 million to develop and produce five RPV programs through fiscal year 1983. The major programs are the Compass Cope and the Multi- mission RPV, designated the BGM-34C. The status of these programs and our observations are discussed below. COMPASS COPE The Compass Cope is a large, high-altitude, long- endurance unmanned aircraft. Its potential missions include (1) battle area surveillance, (2) communication, (3) target- ing, and (4) signal intelligence. Work on the Compass Cope began in 1971 and 1972 after the Air Force received unsolicited proposals from the Boeing Company and Teledyne Ryan offering to demonstrate a high-altitude long-endurance aircraft. The Air Force awarded contracts to each company to demonstrate the technology necessary to build such an aircraft. During 1971 to 1975 each company designed, built, and tested pro- totypes of their aircraft:. Program status Following the tests, the Air Force decided to enter full-scale development with the Compass Cope. After a com- petitive phase between Teledyne Ryan and Boeing, the Air Force selected Boeing as the contractor. In August 1976 the Air Force awarded them a $77.2 million cost plus incen- tive fee development contract to desion, build, and test three aircrafL, including the necessary supporting equipment, by late 1980. The Air Force said that the contract is a two phase contract covering subsystem development as well as development of the full production system; Boeing is currently limited to subsystem design and test effort. The total development program, including Air Force and contractor costs, was estimated at $160 million. The Boeing development contract also gives the Air Force the option to buy 20 production aircraft and 2 ground command systems. The estimated unit flyaway cost of these 20 aircraft is $4.5 million with a total production program cost of about $202 million. Production is planned to start in early 1981 provided development is successfully completed and funds are available. Although only 20 aircraft are now planned for prodlction, an Air Force official said they may purchase up to 108 of these aircraft. 2 Observations The Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council was established as an advisory body to the Secretary of Defense on acquisition of major systems. The council is supposed to review new systems at least three times: before programs are started, before full-scale engineering development, and again before production starts. In part, the council evaluates the program and satisfies itself that: -- A military need has been demonstrated for the new system. -- Mission, performance requirements, and specifications are adequately defined and economically plausible. -- Major problems, issues, and risks are identified and suitably resolved. -- Future support costs, including comparisons with current systems, have been evaluated. In the case of Compass Cope, two reviews should have taken place because it is now in the full-scale engineering development phase. The council, however, has not reviewed the program. A review was initially scheduled in October 1975, but was delayed because Department of Defense officials believed the Air Force's justification was not sufficiently defined. Another review was scheduled for the spring or early summer of 1976, but the Air Force still had not completed its justification. As of February 1976, the Air Force intended to obtain a Secretary of Defense decision through the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council. In the fall of 1976, this approach was changed to call for an Air Force review in March 1977, rather than a Defense Council review. This is in line with current Defense Department desires to decentralize reviews of certain weapon systems. The Air Force review does riot eliminate the possibility of a Defense Council review. Review of the Compass Cope program by the Defense Sys- tems Acquisi'ion Review Council is necessary because the need for and iost effectiveness of the system have not been fully establishzed. The Tactical Air Command, which is expected to be the primary user, questioned the need for the lompass Cope as late as Ap7il 1976. In a message to the Air Force 3 vice chief of Staff, the Vice Commander of the Tactical Air Command said. -- There was no operational need for the Compass Cope System because there was no firm vehicle require- ment. -- Alternative aircraft, such as the U-2, T-39, and RF-4 should be considered for the Precision Wpcation Strike System and Side Looking Airborne Cadar. -- Development and procurement funds planned for the Compass Cope program are needed for more critical programs. The Vice Chief of Staff agreed that piloted aircraft could do many of the missions which may be assigned to the Compass Cope but said the Compass Cope development program should be continued until the Air Force had fully investigr -d the program and its cost effectiveness. The Air Force completed a cost-effectiveness study for the Compass Cope as a carrier for the Precision Emitter Location Strike System, which is one of the potential mis- sions. They compared it with 10 existing manned aircraft and concluded from their study that no one system dominated the others on the basi4 of cost, effectiveness, and surviva- bility. The Air Force later concluded from the study that Compass Cope and U-2 were the most effective carriers of the Precision Emitter Location Strike System and contracted for a cost comparison of the two aircraft. That study showed that the Compass Cope could operate at a lower life cycle cost as a carrier of the Precision Emitter Location Strike System. The Air Force is studying the cost of other potential Compass Cope missions but the studies have not been completed. Another issue is whether the Compass Cope may be re- stricted during some routine operations. The Air Force ex- pects to operate the aircraft in the United States, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Italy. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration permits RPV operations in positive control airspace (all airspace above 18,000 feet), and in restricted and warning areas. When RPVs are flying outside these areas, they must comply with the "see and avoid' concept or be accompanied by a chase plane which can communicate with the control source. 4 Air Force officials said the restrictions should not severely affect U.S. operations because of the limited number of Compass Cope aircraft and operating bases. They are also considering onboard sensors, such as a television camera or a collision avoidance system, which could ease existing restrictions. Air Force officials said that the British, Italian, and Dutch governments think Compass Cope can be integrated into their air traffic control systems without major problems. The Belgian and German governments have not yet provided official opinions. MULTIMISSION RPVs The Air Force is developing a multimission, medium- sized, short-range RPV, designated the BGM-34C, to replace single-mission electronic warfare and reconnaissance RPVs. An interchangeable modular nose section is added for either electronic warfare or reconnaissance flights. The BGM-34C will also be tested for carrying offensive weapons. The Teledyne Ryan Company, under a development contract awarded in November 1974, is developing the BGM-34C. The drawing below shows the planned design. DRAWING OF BGM-34C SHOWING EQUIPMENT USED FOR VARIOUS MISSIONS SrTRI KE ANTENNA PHOTOGRAPHIC AN RECONNAISSANCE 1 ELECTRONla: WARFARE PYLONS REAL TIME RECONNAISSANCE AND STRIKE FUEL TANKS WEAPONS C-1 5 Program status The contractor began flight testing in September 1976, and four test flights have since been completed. Midair retrieval, the planned method of recovery, failed during the second flight because the engagement parachute did not inflate properly. Using the main parachute, the RPV landed and was damaged. Program officials said damage was minor and the aircraft was repaired. They also reported no major problems on the remaining three flights. The Air Force began flight testing on November 15, 1976. Two flights have been completed with both ending in missed midair retrievals and damage to the aircraft. Program of- ficials said the engagement parachute again failed to open properly and that damage to both RPVs was minor and the aircraft would be repaired. The contractor and Air Porce plan to complete testing in May 1977. Preliminary perfor- mance estimates show the BGM-34C, under most conditions, is faster, will fly higher, and carry more than the RPVs it will replace. The Ar Force also projects the maint- enance time between missions will be reduced by about 50 percent. The contractor's estimated development cost is $20.6 million (the initial estimate was $13.8 million). A program official attributed the cost growth to changes the Air Force has directed and to projected contractor over- runs. A production decision will be made for the electronic warfare model in March 1977 and the reconnaissance model in September 1977. Air Force officials said that either addi- tional single-mission or BGM-34C RPVs will have to be bought to fulfill projected requirements. The Air Force has not completed life cycle cost studies. Preliminary comparisons of single-mission RPVs and a mixed force of single-mission and BGM-34C RPVs show procurement costs are about the same and the mixed force will have about a 6-percent lower life cycle cost. The Air Force plans to buy 136 production model BGM-34C RPVs at a total estimated cost of $195.5 million. Advanced Multimission RPV The Air Force is working on an Advanced RPV which will eventually replace the BGM-34C. The Advanced RPV will perform 6 reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and strike missions. In April 1976 three contractors completed conceptual studies which identified missions, defined performance requirements, and established initial designs. The Advanced Multimission RPV program is just getting started. The Air Force plans to spend about $5.9 million during fiscal year 1977 through 1980 for additional studies. Development is expected to cost at least $159 million and start in the early 1980s. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The Compass Cope program hao entered full-scale develop- ment although basic questions concerning mission, need, flight restrictions, and cost effectiveness have not been resolved. Furthermore, the Compass Cope program has neither been r - viewed by the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Counci nor is it included in the selected acquisition reporting system. We believe the proposed Air Force review may not provide sufficient review of this program. Further, since RPV work is being carried out by the Army and Navy, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense: -- Direct the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council to review the Compass Cope program as well as other RPV rograms, at the appropriate time, to provide the three services involved in RPV development programs the benefits of such reviews. -- Determine if there is a valid requirement for the Compass Cope and whether it is cost effective to deploy another new weapon system when there are existing air- craft which may be able to perform the Compass Cope mission. -- Resolve potential flight restrictions. 7 CHAPTER 3 ARMY RPV PROGRAMS The Army's principal RPV program is the Aquila, is to demonstrate the use of small RPVs for tactical which veillance and target identification. The Army plans sur- to de- velop an operational RPV (Little Scout) incorporating nology gained on the Aquila and other related programs.tech- AQUILA The Aquila is a small RPV, weighing about 135 pounds, with a 35-pound payload. It is launched from a truck-mounted catapult, cruises at 75 to 120 knots, and is recovered by flying into nets suspended several feet above the ground. The Aquila can be programed to fly a course or can be controlled. remotely The Lockheed Missile and Space Company is developing system under a contract awarded in December 1974. the Program status Lockheed began testing the Aquila in December six successful test flights. These aircraft were 1975, with remotely controlled and equipped with landing gear for conventional takeoff and landings. The landing gear was removed for testing on catapult launchers and for recovery using arresting wires and nets. Flight testing between January and September 1976 plagued with design and procedural problems on was the recovery and other systems, and eight out of nine aircraft Because of these crashes the Aquila has been crashed. modified and the landing apparatus changed. The program had flights from October 4 through December 16, 1976,13 successful and one flight was parachute recovered. Seven of the flights automatic launch and recovery. The last three flights included conducted by military personnel. were All flight testing to date has been on the basic system, including propulsion, airframe, launch RPV and recovery, and control stations. Testing of the RPV with equipment, such as television camera, target locator, and laser, to be used for planned missions has not been completed. 8 The Aquila program has been extended have increased from the initial estimate 13 months and costs $14 million. The schedule slippage of $7.6 million to and the cost increase were primarily caused by the problems experienced during testing. The Army is funding the contractor to week until the necessary changes from week are made in the system. Testing is scheduled to be completed by the contractor in May 1977. The Army will start field testing in June 1977. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Delays in completing the Aquila program, design and procedural difficulties caused by identified during testing, have led to $6.4 million in cost growth. has been concentrated on proving the To date, testing Aquila can be launched and recovered. Teits to show that an Aquila-type RPV do the missions it is being designed for have not been can completed. Because of the problems use of RPVs with Army weapons encountered and the planned such as the cannon launched guided projectiles, we recommend that Defense make sure the basic corcepts, the Secretary of recovery, are proven before the* Aquila such as launch and program is allowed to proceed further. 9
Status of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Programs
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-02-18.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)