The SIRFC contributes to full-dimensional protection by improving individual aircraft probability of survival. In addition, the improved aircrew situational awareness offered by the synergistic effect of SIRFC with other attack aircraft sensors has potential to contribute tactically to precision engagement, and could also contribute tactically to dominant maneuver. SIRFC is intended to be an integrated aircraft survivability system that will provide defensive, offensive, active and passive countermeasures to ensure optimum protection for the host aircraft.It will be placed on Army UH-60, AH-64 and CH-47 helicopters. The lead aircraft for SIRFC integration and IOT&E is the AH-64D Longbow/Apache. SIRFC consists of three subsystems;
The SIRFC core consists of an Advanced Threat Radar Warning Receiver (ATRWR) and the Advanced Threat Radar Jammer (ATRJ). The core Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) design is comprised of four components. The Receiver/Processor containing the receiving, processing, and electronic countermeasures (ECM) generation functions of the ATRJ. The Remote Transmitter provide the self-protection transmitting capability of the ATRJ. The Advanced Countermeasures Module (ACM) provides advanced ECM techniques against a particular class of weapons. Finally, the Antenna Group which contains the receiver antenna for reception of microwave and millimeter wave signals and transmit antenna for transmission of microwave ECM signals.
The system will be capable of operating in either an automatic or manual (command) mode. It provides warning (situational awareness), active jamming (self protection), and when necessary expendable countermeasures to defeat threat radar guided weapon systems. Radar guided air defense artillery threat systems include surface to air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). A Southwest Asia theater of operations set in 2006 is the basis for threat selection for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) program. Future integration of SIRFC with the Suite of Integrated InfraRed CounterMeasures (SIIRCM), in some aircraft which may be equipped with both systems, is a program objective to optimize multi-spectral threat countermeasures. Threat systems are not only those originating from within the Former Soviet Union, but also systems made and proliferated by the United States, US allies, and other weapons producers.
SIRFC entered Milestone I in FY90 with two prototype system deliveries in FY93. In addition to hardware in the loop (bench) testing, DEM/VAL testing was conducted at Eglin Air Force Base in an EH-60 aircraft beginning in FY93. SIRFC entered Milestone II in 1QFY95 with an EMD contract to produce five production representative systems.
Since FY95 DOT&E action officers have been engaged in a Test Planning Working Group (TPWG) to produce an OSD/DOT&E approved SIRFC TEMP. Final coordination on the TEMP was completed in September 1997 with agreement reached on final TEMP content for submission through the Army to OSD/DOT&E. The SIRFC TEMP was approved by DOT&E upon submission in 1QFY98. EMD deliveries planned in FY98 will first support system and aircraft integration, and contractor and government DT. This phase of testing will include bench, environmental, integration laboratory, Installed System Test Facility (ISTF), ground (open air hardware in the loop "pole" testing) and flight testing. OT continuous evaluation (CE) visibility into these events will be maintained during this phase of EMD. Many CE events will continue as integrated OT/DT. Specific OT&E activity is planned to begin with an early user evaluation (EUE) flight test in FY99. After the system hardware and software has been judged to be production representative, the EUE leads to an Operational Test Readiness Review to approve the system for entry into an integrated OT/DT phase prior to entering dedicated IOT&E in late FY99. Flight testing will include missions designed for direct effectiveness comparison of the SIRFC equipped AH-64D aircraft, to an AH-64 aircraft equipped with the AN/APR-39A radar warning receiver and the AN/ALQ-136(v)5 Pulse Radar Jammer which the ATRWR and ATRJ replace. MS III is currently planned for the end of FY99.
The OT&E concept and resources developed and codified in the SIRFC TEMP reflect a realistic and adequate balance between compliance with the DoD T&E Process for EW Systems and this relatively small program's correspondingly small T&E budget. The most significant T&E concern at this point is that while potentially doable, the schedule is optimistically success oriented. The program faces an unrealistic schedule for SIRFC EMD deliveries and the planned MS-III. Success of multiple concurrent events is presumed. In addition, sequential events are scheduled with little or no time available for problem resolution. The schedule does not allow for any lack of system maturity (test-fix-test) once the combined DT/OT phase is reached. Aggravating these concerns is the fact that only one of the limited number of development AH-64D aircraft with a complete avionics suite (including the Fire Control Radar) is available to the SIRFC T&E program in this time frame which is before AH-64D production aircraft become available. This aircraft could easily become a single point of failure, not necessarily related to SIRFC system performance, with a high probability of schedule delay. Finally, the end of IOT&E is followed immediately by the MS-III and will require full data analysis, evaluation, and reporting to be completed in parallel with the IOT&E phase.
|Army ACAT III Program|
Total program cost (TY$) $877M
Average unit cost (TY$) $522K
Full-rate production 1QFY00
ITT Avionics Division, Clifton NJ