Index


Electronic Warfare: Army Special Operations Acquisition Strategy for
Improved Equipment Is Sound (Letter Report, 08/23/1999,
GAO/NSIAD-99-189).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the
U.S. Special Operations Command's (USSCOM) acquisition strategy for
aircraft electronic warfare systems, focusing on the soundness of
USSCOM's electronic warfare acquisition strategy in terms of correcting
deficiencies and maximizing commonality in its aircraft survivability
equipment.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army Special Operations Command's electronic
warfare acquisition strategy is sound because it focuses on upgrading or
replacing aircraft survivability equipment that is operationally
deficient and may be unable to defeat future threat systems and
leverages ongoing regular Army programs to maximize commonality with
regular Army aircraft; (2) for example, because the Command's aircraft
are highly vulnerable to modern infrared and radar-guided missile
threats, the Command plans to procure, as a common item, the Army's most
advanced aircraft survivability equipment, the Suite of Integrated Radio
Frequency Countermeasures and the Suite of Integrated Infrared
Countermeasures, when that equipment is ready; (3) moreover, maximizing
commonality with the regular Army's equipment enables the Command to
satisfy special operations peculiar requirements through optimal use of
its limited Major Force Program 11 budget; and (4) for example, the
Command is procuring some special operations peculiar system upgrades
with Major Force Program 11 funding to provide an improved interim
capability until the two Army common suites are ready to be fielded.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-99-189
     TITLE:  Electronic Warfare: Army Special Operations Acquisition
	     Strategy for Improved Equipment Is Sound
      DATE:  08/23/1999
   SUBJECT:  Army procurement
	     Military aircraft
	     Procurement planning
	     Defense budgets
	     Defense capabilities
	     Helicopters
	     Electronic warfare
	     Avionics
IDENTIFIER:  DOD Major Force Program 11
	     DOD Future Years Defense Program
	     Longbow Apache Helicopter
	     Chinook Helicopter
	     Blackhawk Helicopter
	     MH-47D/E Helicopter
	     Army Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures Program
	     Army Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures
	     Program
	     MH-60K/L Helicopter

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A Report to the Honorable Patrick Kennedy House of
Representatives

August 1999 ELECTRONIC WARFARE

Army Special Operations Acquisition Strategy for Improved
Equipment Is Sound

GAO/NSIAD-99-189

National Security and International Affairs Division

B-280754 Letter August 23, 1999 The Honorable Patrick Kennedy
House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Kennedy: In response to your request, we reviewed the U.
S. Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) acquisition strategy for
aircraft electronic warfare systems. Specifically, we determined
the soundness of USSOCOM's electronic warfare acquisition strategy
in terms of correcting deficiencies and maximizing commonality in
its aircraft survivability equipment. This is our second and final
report in response to your request. It focuses on helicopters
operated by USSOCOM's Army component, the U. S. Army

Special Operations Command. We addressed USSOCOM's fixed- wing Air
Force aircraft in a prior report to you. 1

The Army Special Operations Command employs modified Chinook and
Blackhawk helicopters, the MH- 47D/ E and MH- 60K/ L,
respectively, in support of special operations missions worldwide.
2 These aircraft carry a wide variety of aircraft survivability
equipment to deal with enemy threats. Some of these survivability
systems are common with systems used by the regular Army and other
services, while others are peculiar to special operations. The
Army Special Operations Command acquires and supports special
operations- peculiar equipment with funds provided through
USSOCOM's Major Force Program- 11 (MFP- 11) budget. However, the
regular Army is responsible for providing and supporting common
equipment for the Army Special Operations Command with non- MFP-
11 (i. e., regular Army) funds.

Results in Brief The Army Special Operations Command's electronic 
warfare acquisition strategy is sound because it focuses on 
upgrading or replacing aircraft survivability equipment that 
is operationally deficient and may be unable to 

1 Special Operations Forces: C- 130 Upgrade Plan Could Help 
Fix Electronic Warfare Deficiencies (GAO/NSIAD-99-1
, Nov. 13, 1998). 
2 Special operations are operations conducted to achieve 
military, political, economic, or psychological objectives 
by nonconventional military means in hostile, denied, or 
politically sensitive areas.

Results in Brief The Army Special Operations Command's electronic
warfare acquisition strategy is sound because it focuses on
upgrading or replacing aircraft survivability equipment that is
operationally deficient and may be unable to 1 Special Operations
Forces: C- 130 Upgrade Plan Could Help Fix Electronic Warfare
Deficiencies (  GAO/NSIAD-99-1 , Nov. 13, 1998). 2 Special
operations are operations conducted to achieve military,
political, economic, or psychological objectives by
nonconventional military means in hostile, denied, or politically
sensitive areas.

defeat future threat systems and leverages ongoing regular Army
programs to maximize commonality with regular Army aircraft. For
example, because the Command's aircraft are highly vulnerable to
modern infrared and radar- guided missile threats, the Command
plans to procure, as a common item, the Army's most advanced
aircraft survivability equipment, the Suite of Integrated Radio
Frequency Countermeasures and the Suite of Integrated Infrared
Countermeasures, when that equipment is ready. Moreover,
maximizing commonality with the regular Army's equipment enables
the Command to satisfy special operations- peculiar requirements
through optimal use of its limited Major Force Program- 11 budget.
For

example, the Command is procuring some special operations-
peculiar system upgrades with Major Force Program- 11 funding to
provide an improved interim capability until the two Army common
suites are ready to be fielded. Background In November 1986,
Congress enacted section 1311 of Public Law 99- 661, which
directed the President to establish USSOCOM, a unified combatant
command to ensure that special operations forces were combat
ready. To ensure that special operations were adequately funded,
Congress further provided in section 1311 that the Department of
Defense (DOD) create for

the special operations forces an MFP category for the Future Years
Defense Plan of DOD. Known as MFP- 11, this is the vehicle to
request funding for the development and acquisition of special
operations- peculiar equipment, materials, supplies, and services.
The services remain responsible under 10 U. S. C. 165 for
providing those items that are not special operations- peculiar.

One of USSOCOM's component commands is the Army Special Operations
Command, which is located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and is
responsible for maintaining the readiness of, deploying, and
supporting Army special operations forces worldwide. The 160 th
Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160 th SOAR), located at
Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is the aviation component of the Army
Special Operations Command. Army Special Operations Command
aircraft carry a wide variety of aircraft survivability equipment
to deal with enemy threat systems. On February 19, 1993, the
regular Army and USSOCOM entered into a memorandum of agreement
listing those items and services the Army agrees to fund in
support of the Army Special Operations Command's mission. This
list includes equipment and modifications common to both Army
Special

Operations Command and regular Army aircraft. Part of the Army
Special

Operations Command's aircraft survivability equipment is acquired
with USSOCOM MFP- 11 funds as special operations- peculiar items
because the regular Army does not use those items. Since Operation
Desert Storm, the Army Special Operations Command's threat
environment has become more complex and potentially more lethal.
More sophisticated threat systems, both naval and land- based,
have been

fielded, and systems are proliferating to more and more countries.
As demonstrated in Somalia, even nations without complex
integrated air defense systems have demonstrated the capability to
inflict casualties on technologically superior opponents.
According to threat documents, worldwide proliferation of
relatively inexpensive, heat- seeking missiles is

dramatically increasing the risk associated with providing airlift
support in remote, poorly developed countries. In addition,
commercially available, second- generation night vision devices,
when linked with shoulder- fired missiles, provide these countries
with a night air defense capability. This night air defense
capability is significant because Army Special Operations Command
aircrews have historically relied on darkness to avoid detection.
The global mission of the 160th SOAR expands the range of threats
it is required to operate in to include highly advanced systems
produced by Russia and states of the former Soviet Union to
relatively primitive defense

systems in the Third World. Improved and new generation radars are
providing increased capability to detect and track airborne
targets. In addition, a recent analysis of Third World countries'
capabilities to detect and engage aircraft indicates that growing
Third World capabilities pose a

significant threat to 160th SOAR missions. Furthermore, a DOD
decision to add a weapons of mass destruction counter
proliferation mission to the Army Special Operations Command's
other missions may place 160th SOAR aircraft into a relatively
higher threat environment. Army Special The Army Special
Operations Command's electronic warfare acquisition Operations
Command strategy is sound because it (1) focuses on upgrading or
replacing aircraft

survivability equipment that is operationally deficient and may be
unable to Has a Sound Electronic defeat future threat systems and
(2) leverages ongoing regular Army Warfare Acquisition programs to
maximize commonality with regular Army aircraft allowing Strategy

the Command to make optimal use of scarce MFP- 11 funds.
Operational deficiencies and future threats are confirmed by test
reports, threat documentation, and requirements documents.

The 160 th SOAR has documented serious operational deficiencies
with infrared and radio frequency countermeasure systems currently
on its helicopters. The Regiment's Aircraft Survivability
Equipment Master Plan identifies planned solutions for each of
these operational deficiencies. Because the Command's strategy is
to retain as much commonality as possible between its equipment
and that of the regular Army, these solutions include a mix of
Army common programs and special operations- peculiar solutions
only when necessary. This strategy increases the amount of MFP- 11
funds available to acquire and support those Command requirements
that can only be met by special operations- peculiar aircraft
survivability equipment. Threat and operational requirements
documents indicate that all of the Command's Chinook and Blackhawk
helicopters require improved infrared, radio frequency, and
electro- optical countermeasures capability to effectively evade
or counter mission threats. According to Command officials
responsible for aircraft survivability equipment acquisition, they

would like to equip all aircraft with the countermeasures needed
to defeat all threats. Budgetary realities force them, however, to
focus on the infrared and radar- guided threats 3 to which their
aircraft are most vulnerable and to maintain a highly protected
and a less highly protected mix of aircraft. 4

The master plan identifies the programs the Army Special
Operations Command is relying on to address operational
deficiencies with radar and infrared countermeasures. To maximize
commonality and conserve limited MFP- 11 funding, the Command is
relying on regular Army acquisition programs to provide state of
the art, next generation infrared and radio frequency
countermeasure systems. Until the common Army systems are ready to
be fielded, the Command is using MFP- 11 funds to address (1)
radar jammer deficiencies on its aircraft and (2) special
operations- peculiar infrared exhaust suppression requirements. 3
Infrared missiles detect aircraft from the heat aircraft emit.
Radar- guided missiles receive reflected

electronic signals that reveal an aircraft's position. 4 The MH-
47E Chinook and MH- 60K Blackhawk helicopters, the high portion of
the mix, have more capability and improved aircraft survivability
equipment to support more difficult missions. In contrast, MH- 47D
and MH- 60L helicopters, the low portion of the mix, are older and
have fewer capabilities and less aircraft survivability equipment.

Army Special Operations The Suite of Integrated Infrared
Countermeasures (SIIRCM) system is a

Command Is Planning to common item the regular Army is developing
and the Special Operations Acquire Common Command has included as
part of its acquisition strategy to acquire active Countermeasure
Systems

and passive protection against infrared guided weapons. SIIRCM is
DOD's highest electronic warfare priority because it combines
missile warning, infrared jamming, and countermeasure expendables
into one integrated

system. SIIRCM will provide infrared guided weapons awareness and
self- protection jamming countermeasures. SIIRCM will replace
existing missile approach detectors, countermeasure sets, and
general- purpose chaff and flare dispensers. The MH- 60K Blackhawk
is the lead aircraft for SIIRCM installation. The SIIRCM program
is experiencing significant technical challenges, such as problems
with a laser subsystem, that have increased program cost and
delayed the program schedule an estimated 12- 18 months. According
to program officials, if not corrected, this cost increase and
schedule delay

could jeopardize the SIIRCM program and necessitate changes to the
Command's acquisition strategy. The Suite of Integrated Radio-
frequency Countermeasures (SIRFC) program is also part of the
Command's acquisition strategy. SIRFC is a regular Army effort to
acquire state of the art radar warning and jamming systems. SIRFC
uses the latest technology to protect Army aircraft from newer,
more capable threat air defense systems employing the latest in
radar technologies. SIRFC consists of the advanced threat radar
warning receiver and the advanced threat radar jammer, and it will
replace the

existing radar warning receiver and radar jammers on the Command's
Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. During the recent fiscal year
2001- 2005 Program Objective Memorandum cycle, the regular Army
delayed plans to field SIRFC on its Longbow Apache helicopter from
fiscal year 2001 to fiscal year 2006 due to budgetary

constraints. According to DOD officials, loss of funding from the
Longbow Apache program directly affects the viability of the SIRFC
program because the Apache was to be the first and major SIRFC
customer. USSOCOM considers continuation of the SIRFC program
critical to its high- priority future aircraft, the CV- 22. 5
Therefore, in order to fill the gap 5 The CV- 22 is the special
operations version of the Navy and the Marine Corps V- 22 Osprey
tilt- rotor aircraft. The CV- 22 program is acquiring SIRFC
systems through a contract between the CV- 22 prime contractor and
the SIRFC contractor.

caused by the Longbow Apache delay, and until the future CV- 22
program is ready to receive SIRFC deliveries in approximately
fiscal year 2002, the regular Army has accelerated integration and
fielding plans for SIRFC for its Army Special Operations Command
customer from fiscal year 2003 to fiscal year 2001. Army Special
Operations Command officials consider the accelerated schedule too
ambitious and do not expect the regular Army to meet it. The SIRFC
program manager acknowledges the revised schedule is high risk and
is proposing a slower schedule. If approved, the new schedule
would use a series of low- rate production awards beginning in
fiscal year 2000 to acquire SIRFC hardware for integration on
special operations helicopters and to maintain continued program
funding.

Army Special Operations According to the Army Special Operations
Command, in addition to Command Has Peculiar procuring the SIIRCM
system, the MH- 47 Chinook helicopter must be Countermeasure
Programs

equipped with an engine exhaust infrared suppressor system to
enhance survivability against infrared guided missiles. The MH- 47
Infrared Exhaust Suppressor program is a special operations-
peculiar effort to meet that requirement. The exhaust suppressor
will significantly reduce the infrared

signature of the aircraft. The Command also has an ongoing special
operations- peculiar program to provide some helicopters an
improved countermeasure capability against radar- guided threats
until SIRFC is ready to be fielded. This program, referred to as
Engineering Fixes, corrects radar jammer deficiencies identified
during initial fielding of the MH- 47Es and MH- 60Ks, resolves

installation and integration problems, and provides a high powered
remote transmitter for the existing radar jammers. This
transmitter is a power amplifier that allows the existing jammers
to work on these helicopters. To maximize cost- effectiveness, the
Command plans to transfer the Engineering Fixes equipment from the
MH- 47E and MH- 60K helicopters, to the older MH- 47D and MH- 60L
models, when SIRFC systems are delivered. The Engineering Fixes
upgrades passed initial testing, and only $10 million of a total
cost of $31 million remains to be spent. Of the $10 million
remaining, $6.2 million is required for additional transmitters.
The transmitter unit cost increased when the regular Army delayed
SIRFC production and fielding for the Longbow Apache.
Consequently, the Command could only procure 24 of the required 55
transmitters. The

additional $6.2 million of MFP- 11 funding to procure the
remaining transmitters is now programmed in the Future Years
Defense Plan for fiscal years 2001- 2006.

Agency Comments DOD reviewed and concurred with a draft of this
report. Technical comments have been incorporated as appropriate.
(See app. I.)

Scope and To determine the soundness of the Army Special
Operations Command's Methodology

electronic warfare acquisition strategy, we analyzed the Command's
acquisition plans and studies and reviewed classified test reports
and threat documentation to assess whether the aircraft
survivability equipment the Command plans to acquire would correct
operational deficiencies while maximizing commonality with the
regular Army. We also discussed the operational deficiencies of
the Command's current electronic

warfare systems and planned electronic warfare upgrades and
systems acquisition with officials at USSOCOM, MacDill Air Force
Base, Florida; the Army Technology Applications Program Office,
Fort Eustis, Virginia; 160 th SOAR, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Army
Program Executive Office for Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama;
U. S. Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command, Alexandria,
Virginia; U. S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and
Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation,
Washington, D. C. We did not include the Army Special Operations
Command's AH- 6 and MH- 6 Little Bird aircraft in this review
because these aircraft employ very little aircraft survivability
equipment. We conducted our work from November 1998 through May
1999 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards.

We will send copies of this report to interested congressional
committees; the Honorable William Cohen, Secretary of Defense; the
Honorable Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army; the Honorable
Brian Sheridan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special
Operations and Low- Intensity Conflicts; General Peter J.
Schoomaker, Commander, U. S. Special Operations Command; and the
Honorable Jacob Lew, Director, Office of Management and Budget.
Copies will also be made available to other interested parties.

If you have any questions regarding this report, please contact me
or Charles Ward at (202) 512- 4841. Key contributors to this
assignment were Dana Solomon and John Warren. Sincerely yours,

Louis J. Rodrigues Director, Defense Acquisitions

Issues

Appendi I x Comments From the Department of Defense

GAO United States General Accounting Office

GAO/NSIAD-99-189

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Accounting Office

Washington, D. C. 20548

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