The armed services have had problems for years with their ability to adequately test their electronic combat systems. The success of the new Joint Service Electronic Combat Systems Tester Program in providing improved test capability is a positive development. Because the tester has identified many more faults in the F-15C and F/A-18C electronic combat systems than has the current test equipment, existing readiness, logistics, and maintenance problems with such systems could worsen. However, pilots would at least have greater knowledge about the readiness and reliability of their self-protection systems and their need for support from specialized aircraft designed to suppress enemy air defenses. GAO believes that it makes sense for the Air Force and Navy to consider using the new test equipment on their non-fighter aircraft.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. Because use of the new tester provides the ability to identify previously unknown faults in electronic combat systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force and Navy to consider expanding use of the new tester beyond fighter aircraft to other types of aircraft.|