ATARS APPROVED TO EXECUTE ITS SECOND YEAR OF LOW-RATE INITIAL PRODUCTION
LtCol David Heinz, U.S. Marine Corps
On 9 December, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, Mr. John W. Douglass, approved the Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System (ATARS) to execute its second year of low-rate initial production (LRIP II).
With this approval, the Navy will procure 6 additional ATARS suites under a firm fixed price delivery order to The Boeing Company. The Navy will also procure the first 4 production Data Link Pod Systems. These systems provide near real-time transmission of digital electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) or Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery to a Common Imaging Ground/Surface Station (CIG/SS) compatible ground exploitation station (i.e., the Joint Services Imagery Processing System - Navy (JSIPS-N) or the U.S. Marine Corps Tactical Exploitation Group (TEG)). These ATARS units will be delivered to Fleet Marine Force squadrons for use on F/A-18D fleet aircraft beginning in Summer 1999. The negotiated delivery order will also provide for:
As established in the Acquisition Strategy, the criteria for LRIP II decision was a successful demonstration of improved reliability using the pre-production equipment transferred from the Air Force when they terminated participation in the ATARS program in 1993. The program was able to demonstrate a five fold increase in reliability over testing conducted last year through the use of the new Schlumberger Digital Tape Recorders developed under the ATARS program and improvements in software.
- Procurement of Engineering and Production Non-Recurring Effort;
- Production Tests and Related Data;
- Integrated Logistics Support (ILS);
- Packaging, Handling, Storage and Transportability Program and Data;
- Personnel Training and Training Equipment and Data;
- Support Equipment and Data;
- Technical Manuals and Associated Data;
- Spare and Repair Parts;
- and Associated Aircraft Configuration Equipment.
Production verification testing on LRIP I units purchased last year is scheduled to begin in August 1998. This will be followed by operational testing in November 1998 and initial operational capability in March 1999.