An Unclassified Version of a Classified Report Entitled 'The Navy's Strategic Communications Systems--Need for Management Attention and Decisionmaking'

PSAD-79-48A: Published: May 2, 1979. Publicly Released: May 2, 1979.

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The Navy maintains two squadrons of TACAMO aircraft for communications with strategic submarines during an emergency. This system is considered the Navy's only survivable link to the strategic submarine force. The Navy must now take actions to upgrade TACAMO through a $22 million Service Life Extension Program for aging TACAMO aircraft and the procurement of new TACAMO aircraft costing about $380 million to replace aircraft whose service life will end in the 1980's.

The need for an extremely low frequency communications system is questionable. The modified system cannot be justified because of: (1) the extensive duplications and reliability of existing systems; (2) the high likelihood that submarine antennas will not be detected and will not endanger the strategic submarines; (3) the fact that strategic submarines are survivable now and will continue to be survivable for the foreseeable future; (4) the limited applicability of the extremely low frequency system to attack submarine missions and operations; and (5) the lack of compatibility between the extremely low frequency system design specifications and strategic and attack submarine operational requirements. The proposed modified extremely low frequency system is no more survivable than existing day-to-day communications systems and there is doubt that the system will work as planned even if it is needed.

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