News From Washington
PAC-3 Missile Tested Successfully
Preliminary data indicate that the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile Seeker Characterization Flight (SCF) test was conducted successfully by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the US Army at White Sands Missile Test Range. Test objectives included data collection as well as analyses of the system's capability to detect, track and close in on the target; in-flight performance while in missile seeker mode; and in-flight performance during closed-loop homing guidance. While not a specific objective of the SCF, the PAC-3 missile intercepted the HERA reentry vehicle target.
PAC-3, a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile, is the next-generation PATRIOT missile being developed to increase defense capability against advanced theater ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and hostile aircraft. The first two PAC-3 missions employed missiles with special instrumentation packages in place of the seeker to verify critical systems and missile performance prior to conducting target intercept flight tests. This SCF mission is the first flight test of a PAC-3 missile with a seeker. Future PAC-3 missions will consist of 16 PAC-3 missiles scheduled to intercept different classes of targets.
DoD MALD Flown Successfully
The Department of Defense's (DoD) Miniature Air-launched Decoy (MALD) recently completed a successful flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. The flight met the test objectives of safe separation, engine start, autonomous flight and safe recovery. MALD was launched from an F-16 at an altitude of 20,000 feet while the aircraft was flying at a speed of 460 knots. The decoy separated cleanly and flew at an altitude of approximately 20,000 feet at a speed of 0.75 Mach. The flight is the first of 20 scheduled during the first half of 1999 at Edwards Air Force Base. Future flights will expand the flight envelope and demonstrate MALD performance objectives, including operation of its signature augmentation system payload.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is conducting the MALD program as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration to provide the Air Force with a small, inexpensive, air-launched decoy system for suppression of enemy air defenses. MALD stimulates, dilutes and confuses enemy integrated air defense systems by transmitting RF energy and permits strike aircraft to locate and disable enemy air defense units at reduced risk to pilots.
The primary objective and only firm MALD program requirement is to develop and build a MALD system with an average unit flyaway price no greater than $30 K (in FY 1995 dollars) for 3000 units. To achieve this objective, MALD maximizes use of off-the-shelf commercial components and processes such as the PC104 electronic standard for its avionics package and a sheet molding compound process to fabricate its composite airframe.
Space-based Radar Technology Demonstration Contract Awarded
The US Air Force has awarded TRW Inc. a $10.5 M contract for the initial demonstration phase of the Discoverer II space-based radar technology demonstration program. Discoverer II, a joint program of the Air Force, DARPA and National Reconnaissance Office, provides ground moving target indication and high resolution terrain mapping with direct tasking and downlink to tactical users. The program includes plans to launch an operating system consisting of as many as 24 low earth orbiting satellites in 2008.
During the initial demonstration phase, TRW will lead one of three teams selected to perform trade studies and develop system designs. In mid-2000, the government plans to select one team to build two demonstration satellites that will be launched in 2003 for a planned one-year on-orbit demonstration. TRW's team includes Raytheon Systems Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. TRW will serve as the prime contractor; Raytheon and Northrop Grumman will develop designs for the radar payload.
21st Century Digital Radio Architecture to be Defined
Acting as the contracting office for the Joint Tactical Radio Systems' (JTRS) Joint Program Office, the US Army Communication-Electronics Command has awarded Raytheon Co. $1.5 M to define the architecture for a 21st century digital radio as part of Step 1 of a JTRS venture. The JTRS objective is to deploy affordable, interoperable digital communications at all battle levels (sea, land, air and space). Step 1 is scheduled for completion this month with the delivery of a defined architecture and management plan, which, in turn, is expected to assist in developing the architecture of the radio (Step 2). US military services will procure JTRS products during Step 3 of the program.
The JTRS initiative responds to the DoD's need to move away from multiple, incompatible black boxes toward a family of radios that can be upgraded at minimal cost and share common application software. JTRS, based on open system standards and serving all communications missions, will be capable of being tailored easily to individual user needs at low cost.
Raytheon accepted the award on behalf of its consortium associates ITT Aerospace/Communications Division, Rockwell Collins, Marconi Aerospace Systems Inc./CNI Division and Rooftop Communications. Team efforts will be overseen by academicians from the University of Southern California, Purdue University and the University of Michigan.
Progress toward F-22 Engineering and Manufacturing Goals Reviewed
A report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), "F-22 Aircraft, Issues in Achieving Engineering and Manufactur-ing Development Goals" (GAO/NSIAD-99-55), finds that while the Air Force estimates that it can complete the F-22 engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) program within its cost limitation, cost and schedule plans formulated in 1997 have not been fully achieved. Costs reportedly have exceeded budgets and planned work was not always completed on schedule. Although the Air Force considered the possibility of cost growth a threat to completing EMD within its limits and devised strategies to avoid added costs, the GAO continues to question whether the Air Force can meet its original budget due to several factors. Cost reviews in 1998 identified a potential program cost growth of $482 M, which would increase program costs above the $18.9 B limit if not addressed. Preliminary Air Force and contractor efforts to eliminate some planned EMD activities to avoid the cost increase have not been finalized. In addition, reduced sales of C-130J aircraft (which are manufactured in the same plant as the F-22) may shift added overhead costs to the F-22 program, and deliveries and first flights of the next four flight-test aircraft are expected to be late, thus reducing flight-testing time before the planned EMD completion. If the Air Force cannot reduce the remaining flight tests and complete EMD as scheduled, costs will increase. Finally, development of the F-22's avionics system has been delayed and the schedule for its completion appears unrealistic to the GAO. If not completed as planned, EMD will be extended and costs will increase.
Despite the GAO's concerns, the Air Force estimates that the F-22 will meet or exceed all required performance parameters (based on computer simulations, studies and flight-test data). Additional flight testing is expected to confirm that estimate. As of December 1998, the Air Force had completed approximately 200 flight-test hours and the selected performance demonstrations and events required by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, and awarded a contract to initiate production activities.