Electronic Warfare:

Faulty Test Equipment Impairs Navy Readiness

NSIAD-91-205: Published: Jul 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 1991.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed problems the Navy encountered in maintaining its electronic warfare systems.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy's test equipment inadequately verified that electronic warfare systems functioned properly while installed in aircraft; (2) since much of the Navy's electronic warfare test equipment was inoperable, lacked reliability, and had numerous defects, Navy technicians did not consistently use the equipment; (3) some test equipment needed to maintain electronic warfare systems on two aircraft lacked the necessary components and software for operation, and as a result, Navy maintenance personnel could not effectively verify electronic warfare system readiness before deploying those aircraft; (4) test equipment the Navy used in its repair stations aboard aircraft carriers and at Naval air stations had repeated failures, was sometimes inoperable for extensive periods, and lacked the ability to detect problems quickly; (5) contrary to Department of Defense (DOD) and Navy policies requiring the development of test equipment and support for electronic warfare systems prior to their deployment, the Navy permitted test equipment development to lag behind systems development, and failed to evaluate the adequacy of test equipment during system operational testing; and (6) test equipment for the Navy's new Airborne Self-Protection Jammer could be inadequate, unless it strengthens controls over its acquisition process.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, but stated that the Navy is already pursuing specific initiatives that will enhance the testing of support equipment and provide for a more cost-effective approach to overall system support.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Navy deploys proven test equipment with electronic warfare systems so that they can be effectively maintained.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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