Navy Reports Sanders EW Countermeasures System Successful in Key Tests
NASHUA, NH, 05-SEP-00 -- The U.S. Navy has reported that Sanders' Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Radio Frequency Countermeasures (RFCM) program successfully completed its Operational Assessment (OA). The Navy's Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR) released its report on the OA phase of the program in July, and concluded that IDECM RFCM is Potentially Operationally Effective and Potentially Operationally Suitable. The report also recommends continuing the program according to the Test and Evaluation Master Plan. Successful completion of this assessment was one of the prerequisites for entry into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), planned for November 2000, and beginning the broader Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) in 2001.
We are pleased that RFCM earned the highest rating possible in an Operational Assessment, said Commander Scott Howe, the Navy's Deputy Program Manager for IDECM. We still have several challenges ahead of us, but this important step forward reflects the outstanding efforts of the entire government and contractor team.
In March, a team of COMOPTEVOR Naval aviators conducted the OA flight tests at the U.S. Navy's China Lake facility in California. Its objective was to make an early operational assessment of the RFCM system on a surrogate aircraft, using an early version of system software. During those tests, the IDECM RFCM system was mounted to an F/A-18D Avionics Test Bed aircraft that had been modified to incorporate F/A-18E/F avionics for jamming through off-board countermeasures. The Sanders-developed Fiber Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD) was deployed using a slow-deploy test pod on the fighter aircraft. The testers conducted flights both with and without jamming to obtain initial indications of the system's effectiveness and suitability.
The IDECM RFCM system includes an onboard receiver, processing system, and transmitters developed and manufactured by ITT Industries' Avionics Division, and off-board countermeasures which include the FOTD and deployment canister developed by Sanders. This combination of high sensitivity receivers and off-board countermeasures will be deployed first on the Navy's F/A-18E/F aircraft, followed by the Air Force's B-1B bomber and F-15 fighter. Full rate production will begin in 2002.
Successful completion of the development tests and operational assessment moves us closer to an LRIP decision, said Steve Morais, Sanders' IDECM RFCM program manager. This endorsement is a key step bringing next generation countermeasures capabilities to both Navy and Air Force aircrews.
Sanders is an operating company of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and a major producer of aircraft self-protection systems and tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the armed forces. Other major business areas include microwave, mission and space electronics; infrared imaging; and automated mission planning systems. Lockheed Martin, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics, and technology services.