An Opportunity To Reduce Proliferation and Improve Acquisition Strategy for Electronic Combat Jammers

C-NSIAD-86-1: Published: Oct 8, 1985. Publicly Released: Oct 8, 1985.

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GAO conducted a review to: (1) determine whether Air Force/Navy interservice common use of the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ) was being achieved; and (2) evaluate the Air Force acquisition strategy for the ALQ-131.

GAO found that the Air Force has not taken advantage of the opportunity to reduce proliferation of electronic combat systems as intended by Congress. Instead of vigorously pursuing use of the jointly developed ASPJ, the Air Force has increased the use of its own ALQ-131 and other service-unique jammers although ALQ-131 and ASPJ specifications indicate that the two jammers are functionally about the same. GAO also found that the Air Force has: (1) developed two improved versions of its Receiver/Processor (R/P) for use on the ALQ-131 and has already procured it without competing it against the Comprehensive Power Management System (CPMS); and (2) produced and deployed Block I of the ALQ-131 although it had failed to pass various operational reliability and maintainability tests. As a result, many of the deployed jammers required major part replacements and significant technical adjustments. The Air Force believes that jammer supportability problems have been corrected and that recent data indicate increased system reliability; however, GAO found that many of these same problems still exist. Finally, GAO found that, despite problems experienced with Block I jammers, the Air Force started producing the ALQ-131 Block II in May 1983, before conducting operational flight testing of actual prototypes.

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