Coast Guard Procurement of Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-01-17.

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

                         DOCUMENT   ESUME
04397 - [B3494139]
(Coast Guard Procurement of edium Range Surveillance Aircraft]..
PSAD-77-63; B-114851. January 17, 1977. 2 pp. + 2 enclosures (11
Report to Sen. arren G. aanuson, Cheirman, Senate Committee on
Commerce; Sen. James B. Pearson, Ranking inority ember; by
Elmer B. Staats, Comptroller General.

Issue Area: Federal Procurement of Goods and Services (1900);
    Science and Technology (2000).
Contact: Procurement and Systems Acquisition Div.
Budget Function: General Government: Other General overnment
     (806); General Science, Space, ani Technology (;'50).
Organizaticn Concerned: Coast Guard.
Congressional Relevance: Senate Committee on Ccmmerce. Sen.
    James B. Pearson.

          A review of the Coast Guard's procurement program for
 medium range surveillance (RS) aircraft covered mission
 requirements, specifications for procurement established by the
Coast Guard in its request for proposals, and the Coast Guard's
decision to limit its procurement to a single type of aircraft.
Findings/Conclusions: The missions to be accomplished by tne new
aircraft are similar to missions h?- have been performed by
aircraft now in the Coast Guard inventory. These missions
inr'ude: search and rescue operations, marine environmental
protection operations, enforcement of laws and treaties y
conducting surveillance patrols, marine scientific activities
including tracking and icebergs, ad miscellaneous missions such
as port safety and security natrols and searches. Procurement of
a single type of aircraft to perform missions is preferable
because training of personnel, repair parts reguizements, and
maintenance programs are accomplished more efficiently and
economically for one type rather than for two or more types of
aircraft. Also, the use of several different types of aircraft
would mean that some would not have a full multimission
capability. A detailed technical specification contained
requirements for the MRS aircraft including a requirement that
the cabin/cockpit volume be at least 600 cubic feet. The
requirement for a minimum cabin volume of 600 cubic feet
appeared to be reasonable. (Author/HTH)
                                 'WASHINGON,D.C. 2OI

0s,8   B-114851

       The Honorable Warren G. Magnuson, Chairman
Id     The Honorable James B. Pearson, Ranking
         Minority Member
       Committee on Commerce
       United States Senate

            Your September 9, 1976, letter requested that we
       review the Coast Guard's procurement program for
       medium range surveillance aircraft. You requested
       specifically that we (1) review the mission require-
       ments assigned to the medium range surveillance air-
       craft, (2) test the mission requirements against the
       specifications for the medium range surveillance pro-
       curement established by the Coast Guard in itJ request
       for technical proposals, and (3) render an opinion on
       the Coast Guard decision to limit its procurement to
       a single type of large medium range surveillance air-
       craft with a cabin volume of at least 600 cubic feet.

            The missions to be accomplished by the new
       aircraft are well documented and are similar to mis-
       sions that have been performed for a number of years
       by aircraft now in the Coast Guard inventory.   The
       primary missions, accounting for 85 percent of antic-
       ipated flight time, are search and rescue, marine
       environmental protection, and law enforcement.
            We believe that procurement of a single type of
       aircraft to perform missions is preferable because
       training of personnel, repair parts requirements, and
       maintenance programs are accomplished more efficiently
       and economically for one type rather than for two or
       more types of aircraft. Also, the use of everal dif-
       ferent types of aircraft would mean that some would
       not have a full multimission capability. Wi'th a
       relatively small fleet (41 aircraft) there could be
       serious scheduling and positioning problems because
       the aircraft would be dispersed at a number of loca-
       tions and some would be in maintenance and overhaul


      The key question to be resolved concerning this
procurement was the size of the cabin. In our opii.ion,
the Coast Guard's requirement for an aircraft with a
minimum cabin voJume of 600 cubic feet appears reason-
able.   Ba;ed on drawings and equipment brochures for
certain equipment on board, and judgments of Air Force,
Navy, and manufacturers' representatives for ether
items, we established that a cabin with somewhere between
550 and 650 cubic feet was required.

     We discussed our report informally with Coast
Guard officials who agreed with its thrust.

     Specific data on mission requirements, technical
specifications, and our analysis of cab'. volume re-
quirements are attached. We will be happy to discuss
this data with you if desired.

                             Comptroller General
                             of the United State

Enclosures - 2

ENCLOSURE I                                      ENCLOSURE I




     Since 1973 the Coast Guard has attempted to purchase
a fan jet aircraft to replace its aging medium range sur-
veillance Albatross fleet. The Coast Guard plans to use
the new aircraft for 20 to 30 years. Originally the Coast
Guard attempted to purchase 41 Rockwell Sabre 75-A air-
craft on a sole source basis. However, because of congres-
sional concern over the absence of competition for the
award, the Coast Guard decided to use the formally adver-
tised competitive two-step procurement method. Under step
one, the Coast Guard solicited technical proposals from
aircraft manufacturers on the basis of operational and
engineering requirements.  During this step five aircraft
manufacturers submitted technical proposals and all were
judged acceptable. All proposed aircraft had cabins of
at least 600 cubic feet.  Under step two, the Coast Guard
solicited firm fixed price proposals and three of the five
firms responded by the procurement closing date of Octo-
ber 28, 1976. The Falcon Jet Corporation submitted the
lowest bid of $4.996 million each for its Falcon 20-G
aircraft. The Coast Guard plans to award a firm fixed
price with escalation contract for 41 aircraft by the
bid expiration date of January 26, 1977.


     The new medium range surveillance (MRS) aircraft will
be a multimission aircraft, as is the Albatross. The mis-
sions will include the following:

     -- Search and rescue (SAR) operations which aid
        persons and property in distress.

     -- Marine environmental protection (MEP) operations
        designed to minimize damage to the marine environ-
        ment caused by intentional or unintentional acts
        of man, such as oil spills from ships.

     -- Enforcement of laws and treaties by conducting
        surveillance patrols (ELT).  Although Coast
        Guard enforcement and surveillance patrols are
        mainly concerned with protection against unau-
        thorized foreign fishing within U S. waters,
                                                      ENCLOSURE I

        other law enforcement activity includes preven-
        tion of illegal entry of drugs and aliens into
        the United States and protection of U.S. property.

      -- Marine science activities which include tracking
       icebergs in the North Atlantic Ocean and Air-
       borne Radiation Thermometer Surveys to measure
       water temperatures on the Atlantic and Pacific
     -- Other miscellaneous missions, such as port safety
        and security patrols and searches, transporting
        litter-borne patients, and checks of navigation;
        aids such as buoys, lights, and radio beacons.
     The Coast Guard's latest approved Aviation Plan,
dated April 4, 1975, indicated that the MRS aircraft's
primary missions will be SAR, MEP, and ELT operations.
According to the plan, about 85 percent of the total
MRS's operational flight-hours will be devoted to these
three missions by fiscal year 1986.

     The Coast Guard prepared a detailed technical
cation containing the requirements for the RS aircraft
for the first step of the two-step procurement
An imoortant characteristic of the new airccaft was
quirement that the cabin/cockpit volume be at least a re-
cubic feet.  The Albatross aircraft has a cabin/cockpit
volume of approximately 1,200 cubic feet. The
tion noted that 600 cubic feet was necessary to
crew and equipment needed to perform the MRS aircraft'sthe
missions.      6
              The   00-cubic-foot requirement was broken down
as follows:

     --75 cubic feet for a sensor surve:llance console.

     --72 cubic feet for communications and navigation
        (avionics) equipment.

     --15 cubic feet for a forward looking radar.

    -- 19 cubic feet of storage space for air droppable
       equipment, such as dewatering pumps, liferafts,

ENCLOSURE I                                          ENCLOSURE I

     -- 15 cubic feet of storage space for crew survival
        equipment, such as radios and parachutes.

     -- 150 cubic feet for three crew positions including
        a sensor surveillance console operator and two

     -- 254 cubic feet for cockpit, aisle, headroom, and
        additional space to allow for crew movement.

     Because some questions were raised on the Coast Guard's
need for 600 cubic feet in the MRS aircraft, the Secretary
of Transportation requested a detailed itemized list of the
volume requirements. On November 19, 1976, the Coast Guard
provided the Secretary with a list totaling 616 cubic feet.
The following is a comparison of the Coast Guard's list with
the volume requirements included in the technical specification.

                                        Cubic feet required
                                  Per technical   Per Nov. 9, 1976
            Item                    proposal           listing

Sensor surveillance console            75                75
Avionics                               72                65

Fcrward-looking radar                  15                15
Droppable equipment                    19                14
irew survival equipment                15                47

Three crew positions                 150                150

Remaining space                       254               250
    Total                            600                616

     We reviewed the November 19, 1976, listing to determine
if the Coast Guard's 600-cubic-foot requirement was reason-
able. We verified some items by reviewing brochures and
other documents. Many of he items included in the cabin/
cockpit volume requirement involved judgment and were not
readily verifiable to documents.  In these cases we con-
tacted Government agency and private industry officials to
determine if the Coast Guard's estimates were reasonable.

                                                      ENCLOSURE I

 The results of our review of the items
                                        in the 616-cubic-
 foot cabin requirement follow.

 Sensor surveillance console--75 cubic
     The MRS aircraft technical specification
the aircraft would carry a remote sensor         showed that
console occupying 75 cubic feet of cabin/cockpit with a
sensor system, Aireye, will consist of              volume. The
                                         several sensing de-
vices, integrated to perform reliably
                                       under varying environ-
mental conditions.  Major Aireye subsystems will include
side-looking airborne radar, a dual frequency                a
an aerial reconnaissance camera, and            line  scanner,
sion. Although the primary purpose of active-gated televi-
will be oil spill detection, it will     the sensor system
                                      also aid the SAR and
ELT missions.

      The Coast Guard
and the 75 cubic feet isforstill developing the
                             the sensor console Aireye system,
the development goal.    The Coast Guard has an earlier de-
velopment model of the sensor system
                                        installed on a C-130
aircraft; its sensor console volume is
                                          over 100 cubic

      Althouah the Coast Guard made provisions
 technical specifications for installing           in the
 on each MRS aircraft, the Coast Guard      a  sensor package
whether or not sensor systems will be    has  not  decided
aircraft.                                procured for each
            A major factor for the indecision     on the sensor
 system procurement appears to be its
                                        acquisition cost.     Ac-
cording to an undated Coast Guard draft
it will cost about $5.5 million            acquisition    paper,
2rototype and about $5.2 million toeach
                                     develop a sensor system
                                         to procure five
additional systems for a total cost of
Coast Guard's Commandant told us that S31.5 million. Th?
                                         he will probably
approve the procurement of six sensor
                                         systems, includina the
prototype, but that because of the major
rapidly developing technology in this        cost involved and
                                         field, the number of
additional sensor systems to be procured
In any event, each of the MRS aircraft       is questionable.
                                          will be wired to
accept a sensor ackage, and the sensor
designed so that it can be easily          system is being
                                    transferred from one air-
craft to another.

     We looked into the ossibility of
a sensor package now operating aboard the Coast Guard using
                                      a Custom Service aerial
interdiction aircraft instead of the
                                     Aireye system. The
Customs system uses a navigational forward-looking

ENCLOSURE I                                      ENCLOSURE I

radar rather than a side-looking radar and a forward-looking
infrared device instead of a line scanner. The Customs sys-
tem does not use an aerial reconnaissance camera or an active-
gated television.

     Coast Guard officials did not analyze the Customs Ser-
vice sensor system in depth, but had Aerojet Electrosystems
Company evaluate several alternative system components.
The contractor concluded that the forward-looking infrared
system would not satisfactorily perform the functions of the
line scanner; e.g., it could not reliably identify and record
ship names i darkness. Coast Guard officials also told us
that the Customs forward-looking radar cannot perform s re-
liably as the side-looking radar in detecting and mapping
oil spills.

     The Naval Air Development Center (NADC) helped develop
both the Customs Service and Aireye sensor systems. Ac-
cording to an NADC official, the Customs system will not
adequately meet the MRS mission requirements because it
lacks the data annotation capability needed to successfully
prosecute vessels violating marine environmental laws.   He
also told us that the Customs forward-looking radar costs
and weighs more than the proposed MRS forward-looking

Avionics--65 cubic feet

     The corer letter transmitting the Coast Guard's current
MRS aircraft cabin/cockpit volume requirements to the Secre-
cary of Transportation noted that the volume required for
avionics equipment decreased from 72 cubic feet set forth
in the technical speciff.cation to 65 cubic feet. The de-
crease was attributed t advanced technologies resulting
in smaller equipment.  We verified 17 cubic feet of their
reported actual equipment by checking manufacturers' equip-
ment brochures. However, the remaining space (about 72 per-
cent) was for wiring, racking, working space, etc., and was
a Coast Guard estimate with no documentary support.

     Most of the individuals we contacted agreed some
additional space was needed for cooling, working space,
wiring, etc., but their estimates varied from 25 to 66 per-
cent. Other officials said they could not determine how
much space would be needed without detailed information on
types of equipment, location in aircraft, size and shape
of the space, etc.

                                                     ENCIOSURE I

       We also looked into the possibility of
 of the avionics equipment outside              installing some
                                    the cabin in portions of
 the aircrafz lacking temperature and
 as the nose or tail, and we discussed pressure controls, such
 Collins Radio, Cessna, Lockheed, NARCO this with officials of
 Navy. Most of the officials agreed that  Avionics, and the
                                             some equipment
 could be installed outrtide the cabin,
                                         but  they also agreed
 that there would be a sacrifice in reliability
 the equipment outside the cabin. Therefore,       by installing
 tailed analysis comparing the extra maintenance without  a de-
 avionics equipment installed outside               costs  of
                                        the cabin to possible
 .aving associated with procuring an aircraft
 smaller cabin/cockpit volume, we could          with a slightly
 approach would be most advantageous.     not determine which

 Forward-looking radar--15 cubic feet
      We concluded that 12 of tne 15
 forward-looking radar the Coast Guardcubic feet for the
 the cabin/cockpit volume               included as part of
                           equirement should not be included.
According to the Falcon Jet Corporation
the radar equi.ment, except the radar    proposal, all of
                                       scope and some small
items, will be installed n the unpressurized
aircraft. Coast Guard officials said            nose of the
manufacturers that submitted proposals all of  the  aircraft
the forward-looking radar in the aircraft's      on  installing
Droppable and crew su~vival
eauipment--61 cubic feet
      The current estimate
and crew survival equipmentof was
                               61 cubic feet for droppable
                                  27 cubic feet greater than
the amount in the technical proposal.
transmitting the Coast Guard's current The cover letter
requirements noted that the increase     cabin/cockpit volume
definitions of required miscellaneous  was due to continued
                                        equipment.    We found
documentary support for 47 of the
                                    61 cubic
the current estimate erroneously included     feet; however,
for equipment which will either be           14 cubic  feet
cabin/cockpit area or is smaller thaninstalled  outside  the
                                        what the Coast Guard

Three crew  ositions--150 cubic feet
     The Coast Guard's original and current
requirements specified 50 cubic feet         MRS cube
members including two observers and   each for  three crew
                                     a sensor console
operator.  The technical specification noted
                                               that enough

ENCLOSURE I                                      ENCLOSURE I

space was needed to allow for movement and the Coast Guard
specified that a swivel seat was necessary for the scanner
positions to allow for extended search missions. Coast
Guard officials referred to Military Standard 1333 in sup-
port of their crew volume requirements. The standard indi-
cated that about 35 cubic feet is desired for a nonswivel
pilot seat.
     Navy and Air Force officials familiar with air
surveillance missions confirmed the Coast Guard's require-
ment for swivel seats. They noted that, to reduce crew
fatigue, both Navy and Air Force aircraft have swivel chairs
for their surveillance crews. In addition, Lockheed, an
aircraft manufacturer, agreed that the 50 cubic feet repre-
sented a reasonable requirement for an observer in a swivel
     We also attempted to determine if one of the MR£
pilots and/or sensor console operators could serge as al
observer, thereby possibly eliminating the need for one
crew member. Coast Guard officials offered the following
rationale supporting their MRS five-man crew requirement
(including the two pilots).
    -- The pilots cannot be effective observers because
       they must be fully attentive to flying the air-
       craft, especially when flying at low altitude and
       slow airspeed over water and in bad weather. Also,
       when flying at slow seeds and low altitudes, the
       aircraft must ssume a noseup attitude thereby ob-
       scuring the pilots' downward vision.
    -- The sensor console operator would be fully occupied
       with scanning the sensors and maintaining communica--
       tions with the base and would not be useful as a
       scanner except to periodically relieve the other two
       scanners. The Coast Guard officials said scanners
       are efficient for only 20 to 30 minutes at a time
       and must be relieved.
    -- The unaided eye can detect certain items which the
       sensor cannot, such as survivors in the water,
       wooden hulled ships, and rubber rafts. Therefore,
       scanners are required in addition to the MRS sensors.
    -- In ddition to their scanner duties, the crew members
       perform other in-flight duties, such as equipment re-
       pair, safety checks, and SAR drops.

ENCLOSURE I                                      ENCLOSURE I

Navy and Air Force SAR cfficials agreed with the Coast Guard
position that pilots arid copilots are not effective observers
and that their full time attention is needed to fly the air-
craft, especially at low altitudes and slow speeds over water.
They also ag:eed that scanners are efficient for only short
time periods.

Remaining spa. ~--250 cubic feet

     The current estimate of reArining space includes 100
cubic feet for the cockpit and 150 cubic feet for movement
areas. The cockpit space includes 70 cubic feet for the
pilot and copilot which, as discussed previously, agrees
with Military Standard 1333, and 30 cubic feet for con-
soles, instruments; panels, etc. We checked the cockpit
size of several comparable aircraft and found them to range
from 84 to 110 cubic feet.

      The 150--cubic-foot movement area includes aisles and
walkways, overhead and    eilings, and nonfunctional and
passenger space.    Based on a military standard, average
aisle width of 1-1/2 feet and cabin height of 5-1/4 feet,
multiplied by a cabin length of about 20 feet (shortest
aircraft cabin with 500 or more cubic feet shown in enc. TI)
we estimated a firm need of about 150 cubic feet for aisle
space.   The 150-cubic-font requirement for movement areas
seems conservative since it also includes space for
possible passengers and nonfunctional space.


     In our opinion, the Coast Guard can perform its MRS
mission with a cabin volume of somewhere between 550 and
650 cubic feet.

     There is a possibility that the Coast Guard could
slightly reduce the requirement below 600 cubic feet by
all wing less space for crew and avionics. On the
other hand, the MRS aircraft is planned to be used by
the Coast Guard as a multimission aircraft and it is
possible that new missions and/or more efficient search
and rescue equipment and techniques will be developed
which will require additional space in the aircraft.
We believe it is preferable to have some additional space
for flexibility and future growth for an aircraft to be
used for 20 to 30 years.
                                                    ENCLOSURE I


      An assessment of whether the Coast
 mix of smaller (10,000 to 20,000 pound) Guard could use a
 to 30,000 pound) aircraft would entail    and larger (20G,000
 of the Coast Guard's MRS mission, includingdetailed analysis
 (1) number of multiple missions flown,        determining the
 initial missions are diverted to handle  (2) number of times
 (3) number of flight-hours required.
 to accomplish the missions, and (4) by each type of aircraft
 training, repair parts, and maintenance, of additional
 able to make this assessment in time       etc. We were un-
                                       to provide you with a
 timely response to your letter.

      However, the Coast Guard has several
show that a mix of aircraft would result analyses, which
cycle costs, even though the smaller       in higher life
tion nd operating costs are considerably          acquisi-
                                            less than the
aircraft te Coast Guard plans to procure.
son for the higher life cycle cost is         A major rea-
Guard's analyses assume the larger     that  the Coast
                                    aircraft would be
equipped with a full sensor system,
                                     whereas the smaller
aircraft would not. Thus, the larger
wider track spacings thereby rducing aircraft could fly
                                       the number of flight-
hours required and the number of aircraft.
previously, however, there is a question      As mentioned
craft will be sensor equipped             on  how many air-

     Accordiiing to one Coast Guard anaJ-7sis,
smaller aircraft without sensors would         twice as many
form the same missions as the larger      be needed to per-
                                       aircraft with sensors,
plus some missions would have to be
range C-130 aircraft. A Coast Guard performed by a long-
                                       official estimated
that, excluding the sensor question,
would be needed instead of 41 larger 47 smaller aircraft
manufacturing representatives agreed aircraft. Aircraft
                                       that more smaller
aircraft would be needed although they
the number.                               could not specify

     A major reason the Coast Guard has
mix of aircraft is that they want the    rejected using a
                                       MRS to be a multi-
mission aircraft capable of being diverted
sion to another.                            from one mis-
                  Coast Guard officials told us that,
according to a Coast Guard analysis
flight records from several Coast Guard fiscal year 1976
about 20 percent of all Albatross SAR    air stations,
from diverted aircraft and about 30    missions resulted
                                    percent of the SAR
cases were first reached by an aircraft
                                         diverted from
                                                   ENCLOSURE I

a non-SAR mission. We did not verify these
                                            figures; however,
the computation used by the Coast Guard seemed
     According to Coast Guard officials, smaller
would have to be dedicated rather than multimission
the smaller aircraft would not be capable            because
                                           of carrying all
the crew and equipment needed to perform
example, the interior volume of the cabinsall missions. For
                                            of two smaller
aircraft which we examined are less than
                                          300 cubic feet each.
     Another major Coast Guard objection to a
is the higher logistics, maintenance, anj     mix of aircraft
                                          training costs
associated with a mix of aircraft. We agreed
cost and logistics problems would occur with that additional
                                              an aircraft mix
although the amount would be difficult to quantify.
lieve that for the relatively small number of           We be-
                                                MRS aircraft
to be procured by the Coast Guard, logistics
ciated with maintaining more than one aircraftcosts asso-
become very expensive. Also, because of the      type could
                                              relatively small
size of the proposed MRS fleet, the multimission
seems advantageous by providing the Coast Guard capability
flexibility to perform its MRS missions with      with more
of multimission aircraft.                     a  single  type

Conclusion on aircraft mix
     The small size of this fleet makes a mix of
extremely difficult from a logistics,              aircraft
                                       training, and utili-
zation standpoint. In our opinion, the possible
resulting from a mi::ed fleet outweigh the limited problems
ment cost advantages.                               procure-

                                                                                    ENCLOSURE II

                           A     IRCRAFT WITH TURBOFAN OR TURBOJET ENGINES
                    WI1. CABIF VOLUME OF 500 TO 2,000 CUBIC
                                                             FEET EACH
                                         Cabin                    Range   takeoff
                             Vo"Ime              Lngth          (note a) weight        Engines
                          (cubic feet)                          (mfTeST (pounds)

  Dassault Mystere
        0/Falcon                   700       23'       2-3/4"    2,220     28,660     2 Turbofans
  Grumman American
    Gulfstream 71               1,300        33' 11"             3,886     62,000    2 Turbofans
 Hawker Siddeley
   125/600                        628        21'    4"           1,796    25,000     2 Turbojets
 Lockheed Jetstar
   II                             850        28' 2-1/2"          3,187    43,750     4 Turbofans
 Rockwell Sabre
   60                    b/app.580           24' 5"             1,992'    20,000     2 Turbojets
 Rockwell Sabre
   75                           b/660        24' 5"             1,738     2i,000     2 Turbojets
 Rockwell Sabre
   75A                          b/660        24' 5"             1,938     23,000     2 Turbofans
  VFW 614                       1,748       36' 9-1/4"          1,249     43,960     2 Turbofans
Yakolev Yak 40           c/app.900          23' 2-1/2"          1,118     33,750     3 Turbofans
Cessna Citation
  III (note d)            app.550           23'                 2,760     17,150    2 Turbofans
a/Varies according to passengers and
b/Data on cabin volume obtained from
                                     manufacturer to modify data con-
    tained in Jane's.
c/Exact cabin volume not shown. Dimensions
                                            are:  length--23' 2-1/2";
  maximum width--7' 3/4"; and maximum height--6'
d/The Cessna Citation III is not shown
                                       in Jane's 1974-75 edition.
  Data was obtained from manufacturer.