Evaluation of EF-111A Extended Development and Full-Scale Production Decision

PSAD-80-71: Published: Aug 27, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1980.

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Results of the monitored progress of the EF-111A Tactical Jamming System phased development test program are summarized. In February 1979, the Department of Defense (DOD) decided to initiate a 12-month effort to define and demonstrate corrections for numerous technical/design deficiencies in the system. Due to an urgent need for the EF-111A, the effort was limited to production of six systems in a manner that would reduce the susequent risk of expensive redesign and retrofit. This effort was to be successfully completed before the full-scale production decision.

Program monitoring showed that the Air Force had defined and demonstrated corrections for most of the technical and design deficiencies detrimental to the EF-111A's operability, reliability, and maintainability. As of March 1980, only 4 of the 220 deficiencies identified during initial and follow-on tests remained open. Solutions to some significant performance degradations and answers to questions concerning reliabilty and maintainability of two major subsystems are continuing to be sought. DOD approved full-scale production of the EF-111A in March 1980. The Air Force plans to procure 33 EF-111A's in fiscal years 1981, 1982, and 1983 and to concurrently pursue the second phase of follow-on testing to correct the remaining technical problems. The estimated program cost is $1.3 billion, including about $450 million already spent. The scenario analysis fell short in demonstrating the system's military worth or cost effectiveness that would support spending $1.3 billion for 42 EF-111A's. At this date, a decision to defer further production until operational effectiveness and military worth can be better demonstrated may be too costly. However, terminating the program at this time may be worse than deferral since the system's effectiveness is not yet adequately known.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: Before requesting funds for fiscal year 1982 and 1983 EF-111A procurements, the Secretary of Defense should reconcile differing concepts of deployment to assure a realistic basis for additional dedicated effectiveness testing and scenario analysis, and plan dedicated effectiveness tests and evaluations to be undertaken in 1981 when the improved threat radar simulators are in place and another EF-111A becomes available. The Secretary of Defense should also advise the authorization and appropriation committees of the results of the tests and evaluations. Further, the Secretary of Defense should develop proposals for congressional consideration to fund the development and maintenance test facilities and environment suitable for testing electronic warfare systems. To support requests for additional EF-111A's beyond the present program of 42 aircraft, the Secretary should conduct a comprehensive defense suppression analysis, considering all defense suppression alternatives and showing their relative cost effectiveness and affordability.

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