The Boeing [BA] KC-46A Pegasus tanker and the BAE Systems‘ Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) had projected initial operational capability (IOC) delays of more than 12 months for fiscal year 2019 and 2020, per the newly released U.S. Air Force Fiscal Year 2019/2020 Acquisition Biennial Report.
The report reviews the management of more than 60 of the largest Air Force acquisition programs and records program cost and schedule changes compared to baseline estimates.
For fiscal 2019, schedule growth for the Air Force’s highest priority acquisition category 1 (ACAT 1) programs was 3.1 percent–slightly above the percentage of 3 percent for the past five years, while for fiscal 2020 schedule growth was 5.1 percent.
“More than half of this [fiscal 2020] growth occurred in the final quarter and could potentially be reflective of the COVID-19 pandemic impacts,” the report said. “Schedule growth was primarily driven by 2 of 13 programs, again KC-46 and F-15 EPAWSS, with increases of over 12 months.”
Air Mobility Command (AMC) recently briefed U.S. Transportation Command, members of Congress, acting U.S. Air Force Secretary John Roth, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown on AMC’s plan to increase the operational use of the KC-46As, as the service works to resolve the aircraft’s remaining four Category I deficiencies.
BAE Systems said in March that it had begun low-rate initial production of EPAWSS (Defense Daily, March 2).
EPAWSS is to replace the F-15’s Tactical Electronic Warfare System self-protection suite, a 1970s-era system which is “functionally obsolete” and costly to sustain, the Air Force has said.
EPAWSS is also to be the self-protection suite for the Boeing F-15EX. The Air Force may install EPAWSS on its full fleet of 217 F-15Es and up to 144 F-15EXs, per BAE Systems.
During the EPAWSS Engineering and Manufacturing Phase, the company plans to add geolocation and threat identification features to the EPAWSS flight software.
The Air Force has estimated that EPAWSS will cost $2.7 billion for Increment 1 for the F-15E through 2023 and Increment 2 thereafter.
Increment 1 replaces the existing radar warning receiver, internal countermeasure system and countermeasure dispenser system, while Increment 2 is to add a towed decoy and monopulse angle countermeasure capability.
The Air Force has said that EPAWSS will significantly improve the F-15E’s ability to counter radio frequency, electro-optical, and infrared threats in highly contested environments through 2040.