Electronic Warfare:

Radar Jammer Proliferation Continues

NSIAD-92-83: Published: Feb 28, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether Navy and Air Force radar jammer programs were consistent with the congressional goal of reducing electronic warfare system proliferation.

GAO found that: (1) rather than promoting the use of a common jammer, the Navy and Air Force spent approximately $9 billion to use, procure, or upgrade 12 different self-protection jammers and 2 separate mission support jammers to protect tactical aircraft against common threats; (2) the Air Force has procured different jammer systems to protect the same aircraft; (3) although the Department of Defense (DOD) planned to save an estimated $1.2 billion by designating the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer as the common jammer for both Air Force and Navy aircraft, DOD did not realize that goal since the Air Force withdrew from the program, citing poor test results, congressional restrictions on full-rate production, and high program costs; (4) the Air Force and Navy are spending $726 million and $1.3 billion, respectively, to separately upgrade various components of the ALQ-99 mission support jammer; (5) ineffective DOD oversight of Air Force and Navy jammer upgrade programs has resulted in jammer proliferation; and (6) although DOD has developed a congressionally mandated electronic warfare master plan, the plan cannot be used to achieve commonality among jammers since it only lists systems that the services plan to acquire or upgrade, and lacks commonality provisions.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress took no action on this recommendation.

    Matter: Congress should also recognize that the scope of GAO work excluded any jammers that could be under development for future generation aircraft, such as the Advanced Tactical Fighter. Thus, Congress may wish to consider monitoring those programs to ensure that they do not lead to further jammer proliferation.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress took no action on this recommendation.

    Matter: Despite long-standing congressional committee emphasis and more recent legislation aimed at promoting commonality, none has been achieved. The potential for commonality that existed in the mid-1980s has since deteriorated. Thus, Congress may wish to consider requiring DOD to establish a joint jammer program office and centrally control all jammer funding to promote commonality.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress took no action on this recommendation.

    Matter: Despite long-standing congressional committee emphasis and more recent legislation aimed at promoting commonality, none has been achieved. The potential for commonality that existed in the mid-1980s has since deteriorated. Thus, Congress may wish to consider restricting or denying funds to procure new systems or upgrade existing jammers until DOD has done an acceptable analysis consistent with the GAO recommendation to the Secretary of Defense and then fund only those programs that are consistent with the analysis.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD maintains that the maximum practical commonality is being achieved on the Air Force's and Navy's systems and plans no further action.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Air Force and the Navy to merge the separate ALQ-99 upgrade programs into one program to improve commonality.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD maintains that it has already established the necessary controls and, therefore, plans no further action.

    Recommendation: Until commonality is achieved across all self-protection jammers for maximum common use on existing Air Force and Navy tactical aircraft, the Secretary of Defense should establish controls over the services' jammer programs, such as DOD review and approval authority, to achieve commonality whenever feasible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes its analysis of self-protection jammers conducted in March 1991 meets the intent of this recommendation and, therefore, plans no further action. GAO is currently reviewing the DOD report.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should perform an analysis to determine the most cost-effective self-protection jammer for maximum common use on existing Air Force and Navy tactical aircraft. This analysis should weigh each jammer against all other jammers to identify the jammer that provides the highest level of aircraft protection for the funds invested. Costs considered in the analysis should include all future costs applicable to each jammer's life cycle.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD disagrees with this recommendation and plans no action.

    Recommendation: After the best jammer is selected, the Secretary of Defense should restructure the electronic warfare master plan to prescribe guidance, including timetables, for installing the jammer on the maximum practical number of Air Force and Navy aircraft. This approach should minimize upgrading of the numerous existing jammers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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