Procurement: February 28, 2000


CONCERNS RAISED OVER NEW WEAPONS: A new Pentagon report by Philip E Coyle, head of weapons testing, has noted some problems that need to be addressed in the new exotic weapons programs.
@ Coyle wants the Block-2 configuration of the Navy Theater Wide missile defense system moved up, as the Block 1 system is less effective at finding targets. Block 1 uses a one-color heat seeker, while Block 2 uses a two-color heat seeker coupled with a radar discriminator.
@ Late deliveries of the F-22 have wiped out months of testing for the avionics, which may mean that the plane goes into combat with its key electronic systems not totally tested.
@ A lack of money for testing has pushed all of the operational (combat tactics development) testing to the end of the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program, leaving only flight envelope expansion testing in the first two-thirds of the schedule. The result is that no one yet knows just what the Comanche can do in combat, nor will anyone know for months.
@ The AIM-9X Sidewinder may not be able to achieve the required kill probabilities against targets protected with countermeasures. Raytheon is considering several fixes including a new seeker.
@ The V-22 won't meet its reliability and maintenance goals until the end of the operational evaluation. The sponson fuel tank turns out to be more vulnerable than expected.
@ Concerns remain that the delays in the Airborne Laser program are causing serious damage.
@ The newest version of the E-2C Hawkeye-2000 Navy radar plane has development problems. The satellite communications antenna causes the plane to shudder, and the vapor cycle cooling system is causing problems.--Stephen V Cole


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