Electronic Warfare:

Established Criteria Not Met for Airborne Self-Protection Jammer Production

NSIAD-92-103: Published: Mar 23, 1992. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Department of Defense's (DOD) compliance with its commitment not to allow further procurement of the Navy's Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ) if ASPJ did not meet the established reliability growth criterion.

GAO found that: (1) the Defense Acquisition Board approved the ASPJ reliability growth criterion in November 1990; (2) after system failures began to occur during reliability growth testing, the Navy changed the criterion to exclude system failures attributable to software errors; (3) despite software-induced failures, other tests conducted outside of the reliability growth test program, including developmental flight tests and contractor tests using modified software, provided reasonable assurance that the software problems had been corrected; (4) if such failures had been included, ASPJ would have failed the test by a large margin since the purpose of the flight test was not to evaluate software under reliability growth test conditions, but to evaluate other aspects of ASPJ performance; (5) by excluding the 43 built-in test failures attributed to software, the Navy circumvented DOD testing standards and failed to recognize the adverse impacts of software problems experienced with other electronic warfare systems similar to ASPJ; (6) additional reliability growth testing conducted after the Defense Acquisition Board allowed the program to proceed showed that 21 of the 43 failures that occurred during the first phase of reliability growth testing recurred during the second phase; and (7) later tests also revealed additional software-induced failures not detected during the first phase.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress prohibited the use of production funds for other than contract termination costs if ASPJ did not pass operational tests. ASPJ subsequently failed operational tests, and DOD terminated production.

    Matter: Because of the continued poor performance of ASPJ, Congress may wish to oppose further production contracts until operational tests, scheduled for completion in fiscal year (FY) 1992, have demonstrated that ASPJ will successfully perform its mission.


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