Tactical Aviation Issues in Review of the FY 97 Defense Budget
March 15, 1996 - Senate Armed Services AirLand Forces Subcommittee

WARNER: The Committee will now come to order. We have before us a very distinguished array of aviators this morning. And our subcommittee, as the first hearing, leads off with some of the tough challenges. And we welcome you.

I'm going to put brief remarks in the record, but just sitting here thinking back over a lifetime of my own if I had to figure out, Senator Levin, one or two disappointments in my lifetime -- the first was not achieving Navy gold wings. But unfortunately World War II had ended, and they didn't need a lot of youngsters in the pipeline anymore and we all went home.

But, ever since then I've been highly envious of those of you who sought as your professions -- aviation. It's a very challenging, high-risk occupation. I realize, and I think most realize, every day you get in that cockpit there's a certain measure of personal risk. I want to thank each of you and tens of thousands like you, where ever they are today, for having made this contribution to our nation's security.

The work of this Committee, however, is to try and evaluate the various programs brought forth by the commander-in-chief, the President, to the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretaries of the Air Force and Navy. And therein again, I've had the privilege of having a good deal of experience through the years.

And it's particularly sad for me to address this morning the F-14 program -- a program that was brought in while I served in the Department of the Navy, and have spent a good many hours in the rear seat of that aircraft in the early days. But it's a fine airplane. It has served the country well. And I hope that we can put fixes in to allow it to continue to have service to the nation for such service life technically as we can get out of it.

The JAST program -- I was sort of sitting here scratching a note or two -- the challenges here are almost like going to the moon. And this time it's TAC Air. There's a high technical risk. There's a high financial risk. And there's a high political risk. All three of them are wrapped up in this program.

And we're very anxious to hear from you this morning on that, General, so I won't take further time. We're anxious to hear from the witnesses, but I'd like to hear from my distinguished colleague.

LEVIN: We've been together now, we came together some 18 years ago to the United States Senate and we've worked side by side. We've traveled the world together with pretty challenging assignments. And who knows, with a little luck, we might be sitting here for a while longer.

WARNER: Well, I'm privileged to have you...

LEVIN: Well, I agree with that too...

WARNER: ...the ranking member of our subcommittee.

LEVIN: And I just want to thank you, Senator Warner. It has been indeed a privilege to work with you for these many years, and whether I'm Chairing a subcommittee and you're ranking member, or you're Chairing and I'm ranking member, we're working on so many other things, we've always worked together in a spirit of cooperation.

Some of these people ask me about the U.S. Senate -- it must be difficult to work in the U.S. Senate these days. And I always say, No, you must be thinking of the House of Representatives, because we really work together very well as team in the Senate.

And we've alternated whose been the majority over this decade- and-a-half and regardless of who's in the majority and who's in the minority it's worked out very well. And ours staff have worked together consistently, so that's going to be the order of the day again. And it's necessary, because of the challenges we face -- not as challenging as what you folks have faced in the cockpits over the years, but nonetheless, a different kind of challenge,

And the Chairman's mentioned a number of them, including a JAST program and some of our other acquisitions. You know, why for instance, are we buying more F-15s and F-16s at this time?

That's a question that's very much on my mind as to whether that makes sense for us to do that. But I agree with the chairman. I think the JAST program is one that we're going to have to pay a lot of attention to because of the number of challenges that it presents.

I'm interested in the digitization issue as to why we're not making as much progress with our situational awareness in the air as the Army has done with its digitization program on the ground, which has given it tremendous situation awareness. That's something that this subcommittee has been pressing for many years, as well.

So, Mr. Chairman, I also will put some remarks in the record which are in more detail. But I just want to join you in welcoming our witnesses and thanking them for their presence, for their contribution over the years, and again, saying how much I look forward to working with you this year again.

WARNER: Fine. All right, General. Turn up the engine.

MCGINN: Didn't preflight this very well. Can you hear me, sir?

WARNER: Yeah, we can hear you great.

MCGINN: Well, it's an honor to be with you this morning and talk about issues of such...

WARNER: But you will need to draw that up somewhat...


WARNED: ...somewhat more closely.

MCGINN: It's an honor to be with you this morning and talk about issues that are so important to our great nation, because in my view they're key to joint warfighting, today and to our success in the future. And that's air power.

With your approval, what I'd like to do is submit my opening remarks for the record ...

WARNER: No objection. No objection.

MCGINN: ... and in those remarks, as well as in the other prepared statements that we've submitted to the Committee, we addressed those questions you asked in your letter of invitation to appear before the Committee.

WARNER: Thank you.

EBERHART: Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, it is a privilege and a pleasure for me to appear before you to present an overview of Naval Aviation's present tactical capabilities, and our vision for the future. I would also to abbreviate my time here and opening remarks and submit them for them the record.

WARNER: No objection.

EBERHART: I would like to, Senator Warner, make an offer, if you can find the time I'll talk to Admiral T. Ball Hayden, the chief of our Naval Air Training, and see if we can get you a slot down there in Pensacola to come down.

WARNER: I hate to tell you. I started in the Yellow Peril, which was the old biplane with canvas and whatever was in it -- I don't know. I do know those days are gone. Thank you very much.

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

And I'd like to also recount just briefly that I had a phone conversation this morning with Admiral Hank Giffen, the commander of the George Washington battle group. He's preparing that aircraft carrier and his battle group to transit the Suez Canal later on today. They're en route to the Persian Gulf to work for the CINC Central Command.

Admiral Lyle Bien and his battle group on the Nimitz is steaming across the Indian Ocean en route to the vicinity of Taiwan, where they will join Admiral Jim Ellis and the Independence battle group in providing that tremendously capable presence to hopefully stabilize that area.

With that, sir, I look forward to answering any questions that you and the subcommittee members may have.

WARNER: Admiral.

STEIDLE: Sir. Good morning, sir. I'm Craig Steidle. I'm the program director for the JAST program.

Sir, I thank you very much for your invitation to be here to discuss the Joint Advance Strike Technology program, a program that has just transitioned to the Joint Strike Fighter program. Because it has been so dynamic, I have a short brief statement. I also have a more detailed longer version I'll submit, sir.

WARNER: Well, all statements in their entirety will be admitted to the record, and you may proceed with your short statement.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. Thank you.

Sir, we have matured from the JAST program and are now converging on an affordable solution that meets requirements of all three services, plus our allies -- the Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force as well as our allies. Specific focus on the program remains affordability -- reducing the development costs, production costs, costs of ownership of Joint Strike Fighter family of airplanes.

We've fully merged the advanced research and project agencies, ASTOVL, Advanced Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing program, into the Joint Strike Fighter program. And additionally the United Kingdom Royal Navy has joined the program as a collaborative partner. They are committing $200 million to the program in accordance with the terms of an MOU that we signed in December of '95.

Interest has been extremely high in other foreign countries. We've provided several different briefings, and I expect the interest to continue at a high level.

The program focuses on a new approach for weapons systems acquisition. We applied the recommendations of the Packard commission and other experts in acquisition reform. We created an environment that provides early interaction between the warfighters and the technologists in order to be able to make cost and performance trades early. And that's been a significant part of the program.

We've done this by utilizing the integrated product development team process. Industry is a full partner in this process, and they welcome this tremendously. They have been very positive in our process and our way of doing business.

The first formal product that came out of this integrated industry-warfighter technologists group and teaming relationship was our initial requirements document that was signed by all three services last August, and was submitted, approved and endorsed by the JROC in August of last year.

We continue to be a role model for acquisition reform and streamlining a lot of initiatives in coherence with our industrial partner. We're just completing the concept definition phase.

We'll finish that phase this summer, and then move on into the concept development phase where we will downsize from three teams that we have today to two teams. Each one of the teams will build demonstrators demonstrating commonality, hovering transition, flying qualities, as well as continue with our research and development technology maturation programs.

STEIDLE: Each one of the contractors will demonstrate two aircraft, and demonstrate the particular attributes that I just mentioned. In conclusion, sir, we strongly...

WARNER: Let's just stop a minute. That's a total of -- what? -- six aircraft?

STEIDLE: No, sir. That'll be two aircraft. We'll downsize to two concept development teams, and each one of those teams will fly two airplanes each.

WARNER: So that's four?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. Four airplanes, yes, sir.

So, in my concluding remarks, sir, the services stand extremely committed to the program as does OSD and industry. And I stand by to answer any of your questions, sir.

WARNER: One of the questions I will ask -- and I was going to send this up so you could read it if you haven't. I'm sure you have read the New York Times article.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. I have.

WARNER: And I'm going to ask you momentarily if you would sort of give us a side by side as to -- it appears to me to be very well written and researched. But since it's a significant piece on this article -- and I commend the paper and the writer -- I want to make sure our record shows any areas of which you as the manager disagree.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir.

WARNER: So you have it there.

STEIDLE: No, sir. I don't, but I do remember the article.

WARNER: Well, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll get it reproduced for you and sent right up there.

STEIDLE: Thank you.

WARNER: General.

MAGNUS: Mr. Chairman, Senator, good morning. I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss Marine Corps tactical aviation.

I also have, in addition to the formal statement, I have some short opening remarks which I would prefer to submit for the record. And I would like to also add that on behalf of the strong support of the Congress and the people of the United States, the Marine Corps has always been ready to be -- whether it's forward deployed or on bases in the United States -- to continue to be America's 911 force.

In addition to the forward deployed forces that Admiral McGinn has mentioned and, of course, my Air Force wingmen has around the world, today you have Marines and F-18Ds and E-A6Bs poised in Aviano to support American and allied forces in Bosnia. There are Marine forces forward deployed in Okinawa and on the main islands of Japan ready to support contingencies there. And as our Commandant has said...

WARNER: I visited the Marines in Aviano on my last trip there.

MAGNUS: Yes, Sir.

And there are Marines embarked on amphibious ships across the globe supporting the carrier battle forces with our Vietnam-era helicopters prepared to do the nation's bidding.

All I can say to echo our Commandant is readiness is our business. And we stand by to answer your questions.

WARNER: All right, gentlemen. What I would like to do is to start with you, General Eberhart. And I presume you've had an opportunity to have reviewed to some extent the record of this subcommittee as it reviewed the 22 program last year. And our major concern with the subject of concurrency. Would you start, sort of as a threshold where we left off last year, how the '96 program has unfolded to date, and what you would hope to do on concurrency issue in the '97.

EBERHART: Sir, I have reviewed the concurrency issue. With your permission, I'd like to go back just a little bit further though and talk about -- we were concerned with concurrency from the very beginning to make sure that we were going to get this correct. As such, we looked at what the Packard Commission said about concurrency.

EBERHART: We think this program complies with the, what was pointed out in the Packard Commission. Rand looked at the concurrency issue. They commented favorably in terms of concurrency in the F-22. And just to make sure that we had it right, as you know, the Defense Science Board looked at this issue and submitted a report in 1995, which in our view supports the fact that it's not too concurrent. There is some concurrency. We think there will be concurrency in most all programs today. But we're comfortable with that concurrency. We think it's under control.

WARNER: We added to be 70-odd aircraft in operational status before the last milestone is completed under -- is it the T&E program?

EBERHART: Sir, before we go to full-rate production, there'll be 70-some-odd airplanes. As you know, when we looked at the acquisition reform of '94, they recommended approximately 10 percent, which, if had we stayed with the original buy of about 700 and some-odd, 10 percent would have been 70-some-odd. But as we've drawn down the total buy, and also extended the period of EMD, we think that's a natural consequence that we will in fact have more airplanes as we go to full-rate production than this 10 percent guideline talks about.

But we think the important parts -- and they have been, once again, authenticated by the reports that we talked about -- is first of all, the DT&E, which we think is most important, will be finished essentially by the time we have four airplanes.

WARNER: For the record, spell out, I know what DT&E...

EBERHART: Development Test and Evaluation.

WARNER: Right.

EBERHART: And then the initial operations test and evaluation, the Rand Corporation said most problems unfold between the 10 and 20 percent point in IOT&E. And we will in fact have 27 percent of IOT&E. For these reasons, sir, we believe that concurrency is just about right in this program. We'll continue to watch it. We're concerned about it just as you are, but we think it's on the mark.

WARNER: Now, each of the us have different views. I think it's, really, one of the highest rates of concurrency that I've experienced. But that, in your judgment -- and General Fogelman has testified this week before this committee -- that degree of concurrency is driven by the threat assessment that has been made by a variety of sources, by traditional sources, such that to have U.S. air dominance in the theater, in the time frame when this plane is scheduled to come in, it simply has to have that number of aircraft, and that design of aircraft, to meet that threat. Is that a fair summary?

EBERHART: Sir, we're concerned about air dominance. We're concerned about insuring that we have air dominance as quickly as possible. And in our view, the F-22 does that for us. But again, when you look at the number of airplanes, the 70-some- odd, by the time we go to full rate, if we go back to some of the other factors we talked about in terms of an extended EMD in having a bi-profile that makes sense.

WARNER: Well, but it's the threat scenario that's driving that quantum of concurrency. And that depends on individuals to how you want to quantify it. I mean, you very carefully have quantified it from a technical perspective.

WARNER: I just quantify it based on past experience. I mean this Committee has gone through a number of aircraft programs that have not materialized as originally envisioned. Let's talk about your fly-away costs for 22. Considering the changes in the program to date -- and there has been a reassessment of weight -- General Fogleman went into that. Did you have an opportunity to be debriefed on what he said on weight?

EBERHART: Yes, Sir, I did.

WARNER: To capsule the weight issue, as I recall it, was that he decided he could make a degradation in the envelope, and thereby allow an increase in the weight. And that degradation in his professional judgement would not substantially in any way affect the performance of this aircraft to meet the threats. Is that correct?

EBERHART: Yes, Sir. That's essentially correct. There's a little more to it, but that's...

WARNER: Well, why don't you put that in?

EBERHART: Yes, Sir. I think that when you look at the weight of the airplane, it's still about 2,500 pounds below what we think the max allowable weight would be for this airplane. We did look at -- and I think you know, and you referenced the testimony last year -- that in fact, at that time, we were concerned about the weight growth that we had seen to that time. And we've taken very aggressive measures to bring this under control. And we think we have today to include weighing, to reviewing it every other week, to reporting it to the program manager.

We have actually had the opportunity now to weigh some of the parts. In fact, we've weighed about ten percent of the parts -- the actual parts that we've cut -- and we're plus 30 pounds out of this whole 3,000 pounds that we've weighed. And then when we've look at avionics, we've weighed hundreds of pieces and we're minus ten pounds. So we think we have good understanding that our model is on track.

The situation you're talking about is where we looked at the weight that we had at that time, and what it was going to take in terms of thrust to get us the G available at 1.0 on the performance curve.

We looked at what that would cost us in terms of dollars to insure a very small change in G available. I'm talking .0 something in terms of Gs. Very negligible. We looked at what that meant in terms of operational capability. And we believed that was negligible -- and it wasn't just the Air Force, Sir, we vetted this and vetted this through the JROC process with the other vice chiefs, the vice chairman and the chairman and the CINCs to make sure everyone understood what this meant -- negligible in terms of operational capability. I guess the bottom line is we looked at it based on what it would cost us to keep that .0X amount of Gs at this one point on the performance curve, and we didn't think the cost was worth it.

WARNER: Let's return momentarily and then I'll yield to my colleague. About the fly-away cost, what do you estimate the fly-away cost of 22 in the fiscal '96 dollars?

EBERHART: Sir, I'll -- I get the fly-away costs confused a little bit here, so let me make sure that I understand it. I think it's around $70 million, but let me check that for you to make sure I have it right.

It's $71.2, Sir. For the record, $71.2.

WARNER: $71.2.


WARNER: And that's predicated on 442 units?


WARNER: Senator Levin.

LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN: On the F-22 concurrency issue first. Is there more or less concurrency with the reduced buy?

EBERHART: Sir, in terms of the reduced buy, coupled with stretching out EMD, there is less concurrency.

LEVIN: So that even though we're buying a greater percentage -- put it -- no -- even though the full rate production of the F-22 is for a smaller percentage of the total buy, the concurrency has actually been reduced.

EBERHART: Sir, I believe that once you stretch out EMD, and you have longer to work these issues and the IOC moves right -- the initial operation capability -- and you have more time to work this test and evaluation phase, that that reduces the concurrency.

LEVIN: Now you, in answer to the Chairman's question as to whether or not the schedule for the F-22 is threat driven, answered, as I understand it, that it is in fact not being driven by the threat. But I'd like you to put that in your own words.

Are we producing this based on what is a proper, safe, rate of development, or are we producing this quicker than that in order to meet some kind of a presumed threat that we're going to face in the out years?

EBERHART: Sir, I think that in every case, this is a balance between the threat that we anticipate and what we think is acceptable concurrency, and acceptable and affordable rate of production. So I think we balance those two things, and that's how we decide what the IOC is.

LEVIN: Has the concurrency rate changed in the last two years for the F-22?

EBERHART: Sir, I have not addressed a question specifically like that, and I'm not an acquisition expert. I will provide for the record my view that we have stretched out EMD over the last couple of years. We've moved the IOC right. So to me, as an operator, that means that the concurrency -- it's not as concurrent. Now I'll have to ask the acquisition experts if they agree, if their definition of concurrency is the same as mine.

LEVIN: OK. So that from your operator's perspective, there's less concurrency now in this program than there was two years ago?

EBERHART: That would be my view as an operator. Yes, Sir.

LEVIN: I think it would be useful to give us those charts showing us those timelines comparing for us the milestones that exist now to what they looked like two years ago. I think it would be helpful...


LEVIN: ... to do that for the record. Now the Science Board found that for the F-22, that engine development and passive avionics were the highest risk areas in terms of concurrency.


LEVIN: Could you comment on that?

EBELHART: Yes, sir. And, in fact, I had the privilege of going down to Pratt & Whitney at West Palm a couple of weeks ago and looking at the engine on the stand and receiving extensive briefings on where they were a year ago -- and where they were two years ago and where they are.

It's very impressive, the steps they have taken to make sure that this airplane and the engine will be ready for a first flight in May of '97. And I'm convinced it will. But the types of redesign we have done to include the advances with the Howell blade, we're convinced that that will in fact work. It has tested so well on the test band, on the test stand, and it's a go for May of '97 for the maiden flight.

LEVIN: The science board report indicated that about 20 percent of the avionics testing was going to be completed before the Lot 2 contract award. And as I understand, Lot 2 begins at what plane? Give me their...

EBERHART: Sir, I don't have that in front of me. We'll see if we can get it behind here, if not, we will submit that for the record.

LEVIN: OK. Well, my question doesn't depend on the answer to that. So whatever the plane number is where Lot 2 begins, it was our understanding from the science board report that the avionics testing would be 20 percent completed before that point. OK? Now, in terms of the engine testing, we did not have a specific number. Do you know what that number is? In other words, what percentage of the engine testing was to be completed prior to Lot 2 production?

EBERHART: I do not know, sir. I'll have to submit that for the record.

LEVIN: OK. That'll be fine. Do you know how much of the testing, the engine testing, is going to be actual testing as compared to modeling and simulation? Is that something you would know off- hand?

EBERHART: No, sir. I'm sorry. I'll submit that for the record.

LEVIN: No, there's no problem. That's fine. Just submit that for the record.

EBERHART: Yes, sir. Again, as an operator -- going down there, visiting at Pratt & Whitney, I was very impressed with what I saw.

LEVIN: There was a question, Admiral McGinn on concurrency on the F-18 E&F and even though it is a concurrency question so let me use this moment to ask you about that. I think that at yesterday's hearing, Senator Warner noted that there would 76 F-22s that would be authorized and appropriated by Congress when the operational testing on the F-22 is completed. Believe that was the figure that was used.

Now the F-18 E&F program, it would appear that Congress will have authorized and appropriated funds for 114 E&Fs before operational testing is completed. Now is that not even a greater concurrency issue then on the E&Fs than it would be on the F-22s if those numbers are correct or approximately correct?

MCGINN: Senator Levin I'd like to turn to my colleague Craig Steidle who was a former program manager for the F/A18-E/F and I think he can give you a more informed answer on that.

STEIDLE: Sir, if you don't mind, I'll answer that. When we put that program together it was a non-concurrent program with demonstrated performance at every milestone. Before we had approval to go on with the first LRIP buy, we had first flight. But before we were allowed to go for the second one, we had demonstrated 250 glides and flying of all seven test articles. Before we went on for the third LRIP we had another demonstrated performance. So it was a very non-concurrent program with demonstrated performance.

The operational testing of that particular aircraft started very early in the simulators with enough assessment, first of all, and there was a long string. The operational testing finishes when we have a full suite of aircraft -- full suite of weapons in the inventory, but the airplane is fielded before that with a list of required weapons suites that the service has provided for us. So -- I'm sorry -- but it is demonstrated performance doing milestones which continues on throughout the process.

LEVIN: Has there been any change in those milestones during the level of concurrency on E and Fs?

STEIDLE: No, sir. There hasn't. We've been on schedule, on performance all the way through. It's worked well.

WARNER: Let me go back on the 22 concurrency, you're referring to the science board report of April, 1995, page 35. Do you have a copy of that with you, General.

EBERHART: I do now, sir.

WARNER: Just a rough calculation, the American taxpayers are going to have about a half billion dollars invested in airplanes flying during this current cycle. That's a lot of money. I occurs to me that we should have some assurance from Congress that if you in the course of this program discover, Jerry our problems. And that's going to exacerbate the concurrency problem. What procedures do we have in place for first, addressing those problems internally and making such adjustments to the program that may be required? And secondly, informing the Congress promptly of what you intend to do?

EBERHART: Sir, in terms of specific procedures in place, I don't know. I'll have to submit that for the record. I can tell you when the issues that you've talked about earlier that reference that point on the performance curb where we are looking at what that would cost us to stay with it and also when we looked at a range issue, that in both cases, as soon as that was found out, that came forward to Air Force leadership, immediately went into the JROC process and we were over talking to members of your committee and yourself, sir, to discuss those with you.

EBERHART: I pledge to you that we've learned from other programs, other issues, that this bad news doesn't get better with age; that we need to go ahead and address the issue. And everybody who has a stake in the action needs to know about it and be involved in the corrective action. In terms of the specific process or procedures that are in place, I'll have to go check with the acquisition committee. But watching that first-hand at that time, I was the J on the Joint Staff and I saw that unfold, which really gave me a good feeling about -- I think it's tied to the new acquisition reform process and those types of things.

WARNER: Just reading from page 35, quote, If there are significant delays in the accomplishment of these key events and they're described earlier, or if the performance levels achieved are unacceptable, the program could be adjusted by staying at the four aircraft per year production rate for an additional year. And you giving the committee the assurance that they're in place besieged us to make that prompt adjustment. Is that correct? And you will provide for the record?

EBERHART: Sir, I believe they're in place. I will provide for the record what they are. If they're not, I'll provide for the record that they're not in place and then what we need to do to satisfy that requirement.

WARNER: And I would like just a sentence in the letter that this matter has been reviewed by the secretary of the Air Force. I just think it's very important that a matter of this seriousness, that the secretary give you full support which you're entitled to make that tough decision for the department.

EBERHART: Sir, I agree, and I'm sure she will.

WARNER: It's very important representation to the committee. Let's proceed on to another issue.

LEVIN: There's one...

WARNER: Yes, sure.

LEVIN: On that one question -- just on this issue, it's a -- we're going to need to be satisfied on this concurrency issue. I for -- is not particularly satisfied with the answer that you gave to the chairman about whether or not this was not threat-driven or not. We are not going to take risks, I hope, to in this program. that are going to be driven by a threat when it seems to me we should make sure that we do not make mistakes in the building of this plane and I, for one, would rather it be done right in a year or two later than to find that we've got to do a bunch of fixes on this plane. So when you were asked whether or not it was threat-driven and then when you told me and your answer to that was non-committal when the chairman asked you, and then when I asked you the question about the level of risk and the concurrency and the same issue that the chairman raised, you talked about a delicate balance between getting there as soon as possible which was your words.

LEVIN: I'm a little concerned when you say as soon as possible. I think I would have said it, I would have put a qualifier before possible, like as soon as reasonably possible or with reasonable degree of certainty, or something in there to give us some assurance on the concurrency issue. But let me phrase the question this way, and you may not be able to answer this, General. And if so, that's fine. You can do it for the record -- you don't have to worry about that. But the science board's findings about the acceptable overlap in the F-22 program between testing and production depends upon requiring that the development and the testing -- excuse me -- must pass certain key events which are identified. And this was what the Chairman was referring to.

In the C-17 program, which was also supposed to be operating on an event-based schedule, the production imperative kept us signing contracts even though the events were slipping. Now Admiral Steidle, on the F-18 description, said that we must meet key events before releasing procurement funds. It was a very clear answer on that question. And I think the Chairman's question may have been -- I may be duplicating the Chairman's question, but if I am let me put this in my own words. Is the Air Force committed to sticking to achieving testing events as a necessary prerequisite to signing the F-22 contract?

EBERHART: Sir, we certainly are.

LEVIN: Pardon?

EBERHART: We certainly are, yes. We have to go through those wickets, we have to establish those goals before DABs and pre-DAB and DRB decisions. So we will have those milestones before we can move from one portion of the program to another. And we're committed to that. I think...

LEVIN: And our contracts provide for that? Our existing contracts provide for that?

EBERHART: Sir, I assume...

LEVIN: Let us know, let us know that for the record.

EBERHART: Again, I'll have to provide that for the record.

LEVIN: We just don't -- we want to be moving here according to testing events having been met, not according to a schedule which is set forth in a contract with a contractor. That's the point here, and if you can give us that assurance for the record I think that at least helps me out some. Thank you.

EBERHART: And back to your original question. I think your choice of words is probably much better than mine, but I think the bottom line is that we are comfortable with the concurrency. We think that the risk is acceptable, that we're not letting the threat drive us to do something stupid, something dumb. We're comfortable with that balance. And we're not -- as you said, as soon as reasonably possible is probably a better choice of words.

LEVIN: My memory goes back here not just to the C-17 but to the B-1 and B-2... Yeah, where we -- you know, we had -- somehow or other there was a window of vulnerability, and we had to rush the B-1. And we made a mistake, made a lot of mistakes. As a result, it didn't have the capabilities that we wanted it to have. Instead of saying, look, let's build the B-2 and do it right and take, if we have, quote, a little more vulnerability for a few more years, my God, we've got enough capability in that area anyway, let's do it right.

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

LEVIN: Instead we, I think -- and I don't want to rehash the whole B-1 battle -- but I think the chairman's point is, and I would agree, is that we really want to do the F-22 right, and we do not want a high-level of concurrency. And if that means we get it done a year or two years later, so be it.

EBERHART: Yes, sir. Sir, those lessons that you referenced are not lost on the Air Force either, and we're very concerned about those as we move forward.

EBERHART: And we're -- bottom line is we're comfortable with the concurrency we see in this program.

LEVIN: Well, you know, everybody has his own view. In my view, it's a very high degree of concurrency associated with a high degree of risk and I've always been under the impression that the threat that was driving this not in a stupid area, but just we were at the outer edge of the envelope, as you say, you fly on the area of risk and concurrency. And that was driven by the surface-to-air threat. And I seem to have gained that from General Fogleman's testimony because it's -- this program is very, very expensive. It's consuming ever larger amount of the overall budget -- not only Department of the Air Force, of the across-the-board tac air program, and that likewise concerns me.

WARNER: Let's go to Admiral and the JAST -- have you had a chance to look at the Time's article?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir.

WARNER: And are there areas in which you feel that you would like to put information, comments...

STEIDLE: Yes, sir, I would.

WARNER: ...otherwise in the record? Fine.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir, I would.

WARNER: Because it's an important piece, and I want to make sure that our record reflects any thoughts you have.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. I think Mr. Shannon did an outstanding job on the article in total, sir.

WARNER: Did he interview you, by any chance?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir, he did.

WARNER: Well, that's why it's outstanding then.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. There was one area that he linked...

WARNER: Why don't you teach us politicians how you...

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. He had linked me to the $750 billion estimate that he had, and I, in fact, went back to him after the session that we had and said, I cannot add my numbers up to get to that particular figure. Mr. Blackwell from Lockheed mentioned a trillion dollar program and a Wall Street analyst recommended a $750 billion. They are probably -- they have more experience in this particular field than I have, but 3,000 airplanes at $30 million a copy comes out to $90 billion, and this is an order of magnitude above that. So I told him I had difficulty with that particular figure. Another area was -- in the article here, I just noticed and I'm sorry I didn't the first time I read this -- airplanes will roll out in 2005. That's true of the test articles. The first operational airplane will be available in 2008. And the third piece that he brings in is the fact that -- alluding to the fact that perhaps the Navy would possibly in the future not support the program as strongly as the other services. I think -- I disagree with that. Admiral Boorda has told me several times that he fully supports this and needs the aircraft, and the Navy is fully behind it. Other than that, sir, I think it's on target.

WARNER: All right. Let's address then the funding profile -- $131 million in fiscal '96. That was -- excuse me -- that was a cut of $131 million off a baseline of what figure?

STEIDLE: Approximately $331, sir. It brought us down to about $200 million in '96.

WARNER: Those figures -- you're going to stick with them?

STEIDLE: I'm going to refine them in just a second, sir.

WARNER: All right.

STEIDLE: I'll give you the exact figures there within plus or minus two or three million, sir.

WARNER: You know, while he's getting to the figures, I have to recount when I used to testify as Secretary of the Navy, we would literally have two dolly carts full of records behind us. And now I guess with the modern computer and brighter officers, we're able to to it with a handful of papers.

STEIDLE: Or submit a lot for the record. Sir, the exact figures...

WARNER: All right.

STEIDLE: I'm sorry, we started out with $345 million and went to $206 million.

WARNER: Before -- OK, tell us what was the impact of that cut, then. Those are some fairly hefty bucks.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. If I could just step back for just a second from where the program started. It started in the Bottoms-Up Review in '93. At that particular time, the AFX program and the multi-roller fighter airplane were cancelled, were rolled into one in this particular program.

Mr. Deutch in August of that year established a program with a memorandum and laid in a wedge at that particular time in '93 for the program. Since that particular time, we've merged the A-STOVL program into it. We've gone from a technology demonstration to an actual strike fighter program and the wedge stayed in the same shape. And that's not appropriate for a DEM-VAL or development program. You need up front funds and the shape of the curve should be a bell-curve skewed to the left.

I went forward in August and July of last year with redefining the program as we put some more substance on it. Went forward and then came on over here to several of the staffs in late August or September time frame, after it had gone past your particular committee with this new funding profile. I presented a profile that was going to use '96 funding to be able to do work in '97. That funding was quickly removed and the statement was put in that that funding should be applied in '97. That was two year money. We could do that.

The services came forward with a program decision memorandum in September fully funding the program to the new DEM-VAL profile that we're executing today. So, in answer to your question, sir, the bottom line is we reshaped the program and we have the money in the right year and the funding profile was correct to execute.

WARNER: What time sequence was it adjusted?

STEIDLE: We moved the program four months to the right. I looked at some tech maturation programs that we're doing. We moved those in the out years. We looked for redundancies and shelved a few of those particular programs. Moved the end point out four months. And the total program was then reshaped and moved to the right slightly.

WARNER: I may return to that program, but I'll have a question for Admiral McGinn and then refer to my colleague. The old EA-6B -- what a workhorse.

MCGINN: Yes, sir.

WARNER: I think the taxpayers got their money's worth out of that plane, wouldn't you say?

MCGINN: They continue to get it Senator.

WARNER: No question about it. The committee has waited for some time for the completed studies of Airborne Electronic Warfare Requirements. Despite DOD's unresponsiveness, last year's Defense authorization bill included generous funding for the electronic warfare upgrades and modifications. The committee's concerned that delays in making substantial upgrades EA-6B will prevent the Navy from capitalizing on prior investing in the advance capability, that's the ADV cap. Is the Navy now ready to move out on this program and make it a substantial commitment to near term EW capability?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir, we are. We continued to wisely use the funds that Congress provided last year, the $165 million. We spent 100 million of that dollars -- or we are spending 100 million of that dollars in upgrading 20 aircraft to the block 89, the more modern block 89 configuration. We spent an additional $40 million to get what we call band nine and ten electronic warfare transmitter pods. And the final $25 million is going for 30 pods for communications jamming.

In addition to that, we have R&D programs that are ongoing to address the idea of a reactive jamming capability, something that you can use against a variety of threats. With the proliferation of First World weapons systems throughout many, many different areas of interest to the United States, we are concerned that we don't get so stabilized and solidified in a particular threat system that we can't react agilely through additional threat systems that could be put together with money by a nation with interests counter to ours. So the reactive jamming is one answer to help us to be able to fly with confidence into an enemy air defense system in any uncertain future.

WARNER: I'm going to ask General Magnus a question on JAST. And mister recorder, can you put the general's response following Rear Admiral Steidle's JAST comments so we've got that one placed in the record.

General, is your invitation letter -- that is in our invitation -- we asked you about the Marine Corps view of JAST program. How would you describe the relevance of that program to the future of the Marine Corps aviation?

MAGNUS: Mr. Chairman, I'm glad that you asked me that question because I had the opportunity this morning to speak to the commandant, General Krulak, exactly on that topic.

WARNER: This morning?

MAGNUS: This morning, sir.

WARNER: You guys got off to a good, early start over there, didn't you?

MAGNUS: Yes, sir. As I've said, sir, readiness is your Corps. The Marine Corps has made the commitment in a real sense...

WARNER: You got a little sleep along the way, though, I served in the Marines for many years without any sleep, and I assure you that it helps.

MAGNUS: The Marine Corps has made the commitment in a very real way to accept near-term risk in our strike fire community, our AV-8B Harriers and our F/A-18s. We're putting our, literally our investment, our money where our mouth is, and the technology leap that we see is in the joint strike fighter program.

We believe that we and the nation, our wingmen in the Air Force as well as our shipmates in the Navy, urgently need the joint strike fighter, and we believe from our perspective in the Corps that now is the time to take the incremental degree of risk, we think, with the forces that we have, looking at the threats that are in the next decade, to take that leap to 2008 to the joint strike fighter.

WARNER: OK, so you're still on board.

MAGNUS: Yes, sir. We're in the lead as far as our IOC requirements, and we joined, welded at the hip with the Air Force and the Navy in the urgent need for this affordable, survivable family of over 2800 joint aircraft.

WARNER: Thank you. Senator Levin.

LEVIN: Just one question on the JAST program. Admiral Steidle, the press has reported recently there's some problems with the release of proprietary information to competing contractors by the JAST office. Can you describe what has happened and whether this is a significant problem?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. Well, there was, indeed, proprietary information. There was an inadvertent disclosure, unfortunately, at the fax machine. An enclosure to one particular letter was put into two other letters that went out to the competing contractors.

So therefore certain pricing and costing information from one contractor went to the other two. The two particular contractors saw that immediately, wrapped it up. I sent my security officer out there after it. We have statements to that effect, and we are providing information to the contractor whose information was sent. I hope to have it completely resolved by Wednesday and the release of our RFP on Thursday of next week.

WARNER: Would you yield to me?

LEVIN: Sure.

WARNER: I -- at an appropriate time, if you're going to continue with JAST.

LEVIN: No, I'm done with JAST.

WARNER: I think, Admiral Steidle, you should -- even those this is a purple program that you're operating -- what's the Navy's perspective on JAST meeting its requirements in the out year -- operational requirements?

STEIDLE: Sir, could I have Admiral McGinn that, sir?

MCGINN: Just as General Magnus stated, we are firmly onboard with the JAST program, Senator. Our need in terms of timing isn't as urgent as the Marine Corps in the 2007, 2008 timeframe. But we have a road map to the future that involves going from where we are today with the types of aircraft and our air wings, using the significant increase in capability of the F-18EF and then blending that in a complementary way with JAST when it comes onboard Navy aircraft carriers in about the 2010 to 2012 timeframe -- about three to four years after the Marine Corps.

WARNER: General Eberhart, for the Department of the Air Force...

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

WARNER: Is it likewise your...

EBERHART: Yes, sir. It would sound like a recording. We're completely behind it, and we are. It's key to the Air Force of the future.

WARNER: And in all, then, this joint program is working out well? As a matter of fact, I think your deputy, Admiral Steidle, is a BG selectee?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir, he is. Yes, sir, the Air Force's newest general, sir.

WARNER: Good. That's fine.

STEIDLE: If he doesn't mess up JAST.

WARNER: So we don't know whether you're really a general for about 10, 15 more years then? Only thing I can tell you, colonel, general or whatever the case may be -- I knew General Eberhart when he was a major. So somehow he's made it, despite his association with members of Congress. All right. Excuse me, thank you. Colleague, I'd like to get that one JAST thing in the record altogether.

LEVIN: Well, the follow-up on that JAST question would be you say that the competitor whose proprietary information was inadvertently disclosed has now been informed of that?

STEIDLE: He has been informed, sir. And I will go down on Wednesday of next week and present our investigation to them. That particular contractor issued a agency protest -- rightfully so, in my mind.

STEIDLE: I will present all the information to him, and tell him what our investigation in impact of the disclosure of that material has.

LEVIN: So, we really don't know yet what the effect is going to be. It's not been resolved yet?

STEIDLE: No, sir, it is not. No, sir, it is not. By Wednesday I'll have it finished.

LEVIN: If you'd let us know the outcome of that for the record, it would be helpful.

STEIDLE: Wilco. Yes, sir.

WARNER: Just as a follow-on, Senator. Your program has recently progressed from concept exploration into the requirements generation and validation process. What will be the critical two or three events between now and the award of the EMD to produce test aircraft? What has to go right, what could go wrong?

STEIDLE: Yes, sir. We're starting...

WARNER: Great staff question.

STEIDLE: Yes, sir.

STEIDLE: We're doing business differently, Senator. We have this group of cost/performance trades. It's never been done at that level before. Industry is a full partner of this. We are trading off the requirements base that each one of the services have allowed us a large envelope to work in as we pull it down.

Moving into the development phase, we'll award the two contracts to the two teams. They will have to demonstrate their ability to build this airplane with a high level of commonality, which significantly reduces the cost, demonstrate hover in transition, demonstrate carrier suitable flying quality, and continue on with the ground demonstration of technology maturation. We need to mature the technologies before we go into the EMD program. That'll be done.

And our ORD will be completely finished by the year '99. And that's a process in itself that is being done in the virtual world in modeling and simulation. So it's a significant change from the way we have done business in the past.

LEVIN: Let me get to the data link issue on the fighter aircraft, general. Apparently, getting tactical data links into the fighters has been a difficult issue for the Air Force for a number of years. Some have the perception that the Air Force has resisted adding that capability, not just because of cost but because of cultural barriers. I'm convinced that the added situational aware that sharing the data among various platforms would provide has tremendous potential for us.

Are there fighter data links included in the com-links that the chief of staff has added to his list, do you know?

EBERHART: Yes, sir, there are.

LEVIN: And is the...

EBERHART: It's under the guise of sensor shooter, and under that...

LEVIN: Would you just say that again?

EBERHART: It's under the title sensor to shooter, and under that are the things that you're so concerned of and so are we. And you're spot on, it was a cultural problem for a while, and in my view we might have hid behind the money issue. We're committed now, we realize how important it is to joint war fighting, and we're moving ahead.

LEVIN: All right. And General Magnus, is the Marines committed to also adopt that capability?

MAGNUS: Senator, we are. We, of course, field our aircraft in a common long-range plan with the United States Navy and a program that is unique to us, having taken over the Advanced Technical Air Reconnaissance System. For example, we have added a data link pod to that system so that when it is fielded it will not only give us the capability to download the reconnaissance when we get to the ground, but will be able to give near real time bursts of that critical tactical battlefield information to joint force commanders and forces at sea.

LEVIN: OK. Admiral McGinn do you want to add anything to that?

MCGINN: Yes, sir. We are already flying in many of our aircraft including the F-14 D, the J-TDS, or LINK-16, which we have found provides tremendously increased situational awareness and it allows aircraft in a particular strike package or fighter sweep to coordinate their efforts in a much better way than we've ever been able to do before.

I'd like to also say that a Marine program that offers a great deal of promise that has been fielded and prototyped is a digitalization called Automatic Target Hand-Off System which allows a Marine on the ground under fire to digitally communicate right into the aircraft weapons system, in this case the AV-8B, but it will -- we're looking to field it in all of our FA-18s as well. You know, actually put the symbol of the target that the Marine Lance Corporal in the trenches wants to hit, needs to hit, right on the heads-up display of the fighter aircraft or the AV-8B. And it is a tremendous leap forward in close air support capability for the future. And General Magnus might want to comment further on that, sir.

MAGNUS: And I appreciate the comments of my shipmate, Admiral McGinn, the Automatic Target Hand-Off System because exactly right, our forward observers, forward air controllers on the ground will be able to take the standard 9 line immediate air support request and beam it up via data link just as the Admiral said, so the pilot in a strike aircraft that is line of sight, but out of visual range will be able to stand off from the threat, receive the information and roll in on the target. Coupling that capability with the emerging 1760 BUS digital capability in weapons like JDAM and JSOW, we are literally going to be able to deliver close air support to troops on the ground at night through the weather in the future with precision, accuracy, because of the capability to pass that information up and then load it down into the weapons.

LEVIN: Are we funding that program as much as we -- in a robust way, we, in this budget?

MCGINN: I'd love to get an answer for you for the record Senator on that.

LEVIN: And General, I take it from your answer that the Air Force is now committed to having the same kind of reliance on the tactical data links in it's fighter aircraft as we've just heard described by the Navy and the Marines.

EBERHART: Yes, sir, to put a little more bluntly but you referenced it earlier. We're over our cultural problem that we had. And then to take it one step further, exactly what they just discussed, this interface between the digitalization of the ground battle and the air battle is key. In the past when we did look at it, we looked at it more of just digitalization of the air, and data link in the air. And working that together is how we really become efficient. And then, oh, by the way, reduce fratricide.

LEVIN: Well, it's good news to hear your testimony this morning, and the budget numbers will be helpful if you'll submit those.

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

LEVIN: Because that -- that's an area of top priority for this committee and has been for a number of years.

WARNER: General Magnus, would you please pass on to your senior chief of aviation our best wishes for a speedy recovery from his operation and so forth?

MAGNUS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Blot is recovering well. He has had shoulder surgery, for your information. And the reason why he's not here is obviously he's fairly uncomfortable -- doing very well but couldn't get into his uniform. So he sent me to speak to you this morning.

WARNER: Glad to have you. Let's talk about your CV-22 and the problems that have been expressed by the retiring chief of the U.S. special operations command. What do you have to enlighten us on that? Have you read that article? If not, I'll send it up so you can skim it for a minute.

MAGNUS: I'm not sure which article to which you're referring -- although there have been several that I've read in the last few days.

WARNER: Well, let's work off the the same baseline, and I'll go to another question.

MAGNUS: Mr. Chairman, I am familiar with this article.

WARNER: Well, why don't you go ahead then?

MAGNUS: The joint V-22 program, I believe, is a success story, and of course like many other large programs that are in engineering and manufacturing development we're constantly challenged by constrained fiscal resources.

When the Department of Defense had a defense acquisition board and a defense resources board in 1994 joining the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command requirement for a special operations force CV-22 to the Marine Corps MV-22, the estimate for the development of the CV-22 -- the U.S. Special Operations Command variant -- was $550 million.

And that estimate came from the United States Air Force, I believe it was Aeronautical Systems Command. Subsequent to that, the Department of the Navy committed, with Department of the Navy RDT&E money, to fund that $550 million profile that we believed would be adequate to provide to take the MV-22 baseline aircraft into a Special Operations variant.

In the succeeding two years, Special Operations Command has defined its configuration much more finely than they had in '94. We -- the program office and Naval Air Systems Command submitted a request for a proposal for the development effort to the Bell-Boeing joint team.

And essentially, the response from the contractors came in at approximately $200 million over what was allocated in the budget. Clearly, that presented more than a minor challenge because we did not have, in the Department of the Navy, that additional $200 million.

And something had to move, and we certainly recognized the Special Operations Command requirements as well as their need for a fiscal year 2005 IOC.

There have been a number of meetings between the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development, Mr. Douglas, and the U.S. Special Operations Command representatives on alternatives in which we believe there are more than one alternative and which within the Navy's commitment to the $550 million we can -- with ideas such as preplanned product improvement -- provide exactly the kind of aircraft that Special Operations Command and our Air Force wing men need to be able to accomplish their critical mission.

MAGNUS: There are ongoing discussions between Special Operations Command and the United States Navy. OSD has been involved in the overarching team that is watching this program closely. And we have been, of course, in consultation with our Air Force wingmen. We believe there are more than one solution that will allow us to execute to our $550 million commitment and provide the Air Force Special Operations Command the aircraft that they need when they need it.

WARNER: That's reassuring and Douglas is a very able man, trained here by this commission, and I have a high degree of confidence, as do other members.

Do you want to take a question or I'll...

LEVIN: Just on the V-22 issue. There have been some, another press report relating to testing results on the V-22 which indicates some problems, unacceptable level of down draft or prop wash below the aircraft operating, when it operates at hover. Is there going to be an opportunity during the operational testing to determine whether or not that condition is real.

MAGNUS: Senator, thank you very much for that question. We have been aware -- and I say we in a personal sense -- have been aware of the down wash effect of tilt rotors, not only from our experience with high velocity down wash aircraft such as V-stal , but when I was a major I was on the joint NASA-Army-Navy-Air Force and Industry team that went out to NASA Ames and modeled the aircraft that was then being designed call JVX, which has since become the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor.

We were well aware that the velocity and the footprint, if you will, of the air that is moving down was going to be more than we have in the current medium helicopters, but, quite frankly, comparable to heavy lift helicopters, such as the CH-53 Echo; different, but comparable to it.

In other words, that we knew that people who were operating in the vicinity underneath the aircraft would have a high velocity down wash. And we anticipated this, so this is not a surprise. As a result of that, during our operational tests we have just completed operation test 2B, which focused specifically on this issue. We better understand how ground combat marines, sailors and soldiers will operate under aircraft that are being flown by Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots, and we believe, and I have personally read the comments of marine helicopter support team members, lance corporals who have worked under these aircraft, who basically say it is comparable to their CH-53 Echo experience.

What I can tell you is, just like the CH-53 Echo, which went through it op eval in 1979, and there were words in the report there that described it as dangerous and requiring special equipment that we didn't have in 1979, we will find tactics, techniques and procedures that will allow us to safely and effectively utilize this aircraft. We have anticipated this problem and we are working with our joint wingmen on this as well as the people who will actually be the real customers of the aircraft, and that's the troops that'll be in the back. I'm confident that this will be resolved.

LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

WARNER: This is a question to all three. We'll ask General Eberhart, Admiral McGinn and General Magnus to answer.

WARNER: Over the years, the committee has taken an active interest in airborne. Part of this has been addressed, but the senator and I want to make sure that there is nothing left in this untouched. The committee has taken an active interest in airborne electronic warfare. An initiative by the committee a few years ago was encouraged by the Defense Department to consolidate airborne EW into one program and to adequately fund that program. Today we have an aged EA-6B fleet which -- with much the same capability as in the years past, while the threat expands and becomes more sophisticated. At the same time, the Air Force plans to retire EF-111. What is the importance of airborne electronic warfare to your tactical aviation program? What near-term capabilities do you have to address that threat, General, to the extent you haven't covered it already?

EBERHART: Yes, sir. Obviously, airborne ECM is very important to our program and the survival of our pilots and our effectiveness on the battlefield.

We support the efforts that are ongoing to build the EA-6B fleet up, make improvements to it, to provide for our joint ECM requirements. We're part of the solution there, and not part of the problem. We're committed to it.

However, at the same time, I have to tell you that we have an insurance policy there in that as we draw down the EF-111s, we keep them around till the -- the number's classified -- but sometime in '98. We can an increased crew-to-aircraft ratio, and the airplanes that we do retire we don't take the date as moth them, we leave on the ramp.

So if there is a hiccough or we have a requirement, then we can fall back on it. But we're committed to it. We want it to work. We know it's the right thing to do.

You know, and the committee knows as well as I do, that we have to approach this problem from many different ways. In addition to airborne ECM, if we have better battlespace awareness in terms of increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance so we know where the threats are, we know what the threats can do, we know how to either attack them or avoid them, using Stealth and using PGM.

We also have the nonlethal part of this, and eventually some day we think there will be information warfare ways to get in and help us survive in the battlefield of the future. And we think it's important to work all of these aspects, and that's what we're committed to.

WARNER: Admiral McGinn?

MCGINN: I fully concur with General Eberhart's remarks, Senator, and I'd like to just add a few of my own. The EA-6B is, as mature an airframe and engine combination as it is, still enjoys a great deal of service life that is available to it.

We have an active and ongoing operational safety improvement program that is closely monitored by engineers and air crewmen and maintenance personnel in the field as well as at the various systems commands. It is a truly joint program in that later this month, the three service chiefs will sign a memorandum of agreement that will solidify the progress that we have made in making the EA-6B fleet truly the nation's tactical EW force. I received a report from the wing commander -- the EA-6B wing commander -- two weeks ago as well as one of the EA-6B squadron COs who had just returned from deployment over in the Mediterranean. They are absolutely confident that the program is on track. It is properly resourced in terms of airframes, the equipment upgrades that are going in now and are planned, as well as the air crew upgrades as well. We have Air Force air crews flying in EA-6Bs in training as well as in operations, and they have also coordinated at the EA-6B wing level with all of the services and all of the unified commanders in chiefs and their staffs to make sure that the global coverage exists in terms of forward presence as well as a very responsive reaction capability should that be required in any type of a regional contingency.

WARNER: General.

MAGNUS: Mr. Chairman, I agree with the remarks of General Eberhart and Admiral McGinn. The Marine Corps, as you know, has four squadrons of prowlers in the ICAP-2 configuration. We along with the Navy are operating our aircraft to the Block-89 Alpha configuration.

As I told you earlier in the hearing, Marines are on the ground today in Aviano and earlier last year when there was the need to bring additional tactical aircraft into the theaters to support strikes that were needed on the ground, Marine squadrons deployed within 48 hours and was flying combat missions on the third day from the time that they got the to order from the Joint Chiefs of Staffs.

We were integrated with the Navy in carrier deployments as well as basing out of our base at Iwakuni, Japan. We will support the United States Navy in fulfilling our important responsibilities in the Department of the Navy to provide aircraft not only for our own support requirements but to support the United Sates Air Force and our allies.

Of course, the United States Navy has received a budgetary FYSYP up and some structure to take up the Air Force's EF-111 mission as those aircraft stand down. Nevertheless, and consistent with the tactical aviation integration memorandum of agreement that the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Naval Operations have in general about all of our strike and electronic warfare aircraft, we will support the United States Navy in fulfilling our commitments to the nation.

WARNER: Senator Levin. Gentlemen, I'm going to have to absent myself and my distinguished colleague will wrap up the hearing. Thank you very much.

LEVIN: General, I want to talk to you about F-16s for a minute. We've got a new definition of service life of the F-16s which is now driving us to purchase some additional F-16s. And there's a real question about whether that's the right way to go given our other needs in the Air Force. But let me try to work through this number with you. We have a 20 wing fighter force now and I gather the portion of that force that is made of F-16s is somewhat more than half. Do you know off hand if that's correct?

EBERHART: Sir, that sounds correct. I'll get the number here as you...

LEVIN: OK, well, than maybe I better get these numbers for the record.

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

LEVIN: Let me tell you what I need, because you may not have them at your fingertips. What I need to know is what was the F-16 requirement when we had a 26-wing force, what was the F-16 requirement now, what would it have been had we gone to a 36-wing force, which was the goal during the early '90s?

Those three items I need and how many F-16s would have made up those three different force structures. Then I need you to translate that into both the old definition and the new definition of service life in terms of how many available F-16s we got. And that's something you can provide us for the record.

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

LEVIN: Do you know in general whether or not the number of F-16 fighter wing equivalence has changed over the recent past? Do you know that offhand?

EBERHART: Sir, it is changed, obviously, as we've drawn down some F-16s, and we can think of wings like the 474th at Nellis and other wings that have drawn down. And as airplanes have aged, it's certainly changed, although the other fighter force structure is changed, too.

So I don't have on the tip of my tongue what the relationship in terms of proportion of force is in terms of change, but we'd like to show that to you for the record and the proportion of the different blocks, how they've changed...

LEVIN: All right.

EBERHART: ...because that's what complicates this issue, as you know.

LEVIN: Right. That's fine. Are you familiar with the Coalition Force Enhancement Program? Does that strike a bell?

EBERHART: I think I...no, sir.

LEVIN: OK. This was a program that would have given the F-16s some improved capability, upgraded them, added some service life. And we can find that in a different way.

EBERHART: Yes, sir, I am familiar with that program.

LEVIN: OK. Was it our plan to use that program and sell those upgraded F-16 to our allies?

EBERHART: Sir, our hope was to do just that and then have a device or a procedure where that money is supposed to be returned to the Treasury would be returned to the United States Air Force to buy these attrition reserve airplanes that we've just discussed.

LEVIN: Do you know the cost of adding 4000 hours of service life to a plane under that program?

EBERHART: No, sir, I do not know. One of our big problems right now is that as we've looked around on this and how much we would have to sell those for, I think the brutal facts are there are no buyers.

LEVIN: They want to...

EBERHART: Just as soon have a new airplane.

LEVIN: All right. Now, are you familiar with the JSTARS budget request in the current budget?

EBERHART: Yes, sir.

LEVIN: As I understand it, the budget would cut the JSTARS procurement in half during fiscal years '99, 2000, and 2001, buying one instead of two during those fiscal years?

EBERHART: Sir, my recollection was that we did, in fact, move one airplane right. I wasn't aware that we moved three right. I thought we moved one right. I'll have to provide that for the record.

LEVIN: Can you tell us what the experience with the J-STARS was in the Persian Gulf War, in Bosnia?

LEVIN: Are the CINCs interested in more JSTARS?

EBERHART: Sir, the CINCs are very interested in the JSTARS program as it exists today and the planned improvements as we get on through the production line.

Obviously, as you know, the bird that we have today and the production birds will be much more capable than the bird that we had in the Persian Gulf. And that -- we were all amazed by what it was able to do in such short notice.

I think that in Bosnia today, people are impressed with what it's doing, although it's a different situation because of the topography, we don't have a pool table, if you will, like we had in Desert Storm or like we imagined in the central region of Europe.

But we have tools where we can go and take this and show the CINC that if you bring JSTARS here and you put it in this orbit, this is what you're going to be able to see around Sarajevo. This is what you're not going to be able to see. So that the expectations are there and he fully understands what this tool will bring to him as a CINC. And that's exactly what we did before we deployed JSTARS, so it's living up to the expectations, and it's allowing us to use it in ways in peacekeeping and peace making that we hadn't envisioned using in a major regional contingency. So everybody's very impressed with what they see in terms of JSTARS now. And frankly, the move right was an affordability issue to make sure that everything would fit.

LEVIN: Well, that's what troubles me is that we've got a new technology and a new platform, which is working extremely well from everything we can learn, and we're moving that to the right for affordability reasons.

And then, we're spending money buying F-16s and F-15s for attrition reserves, which are only created by the changing the program life expectancy of planes. And where planes could be upgrades quite easily, as a matter of fact, if necessary in order to extend that program life.

I mean, it just seems to me there's a disconnect here where we've got a real need of a new technology that is proving itself every day in Bosnia and has proven itself in -- over many, many months in the Persian Gulf, and that we're delaying and using money to create a reserve which really, it seems to me, is not a realistic need when you consider the fact that we've reduced the number quite dramatically of how many F-16s we're going to need because of the reduction in fighter wings.

So, to me, it's a priority which is misplaced, but I'm not asking you to agree or disagree with that so much as I need from you for the record the history of the F-16s when we had 26 fighter wings. Now that it's down to 20 what would have been had we -- the requirement -- what the requirement would have been had we gone up to 35? The impact on the -- on that requirement when we changed the service life expectancy of the F-16 and then we can put all that together and reach our own conclusion. But at least that's certainly my tentative conclusion.

EBERHART: Sir, we'll certainly provide that and the chief shares your concerns there. Maybe not necessarily versus the F-16 but the importance of that JSTARS and we are relooking that now as we build the '98 to '03 program.

LEVIN: OK. Thank you. And then my last question, General Magnus, has to do with the C130-J aircraft, and I understand that you'd like to begin buying a tanker version of that aircraft. Is that correct?

MAGNUS: Senator, our current active force has 37 35 year old KC130-Fs and an additional 14 slightly younger KC130-Rs. Based upon what our projection of the service life of those aircraft are, unfortunately the bulk of them are going to come due for block service life retirement just exactly when we need to invest in aircraft like the joint strike fighter and V-22 and the Navy's F/A-18EF. We have been monitoring the United States Air Forces C130-J program. We are enormously impressed with the improvements in the cockpits and the avionics in the performance of the air craft. We believe it would be prudent for us to be able to essentially piggy back on that program. Fiscal resource constraints have not enabled us to do that at this time.

LEVIN: Now you just completed, did you not, the modernization of your tactical tankers a couple of years ago?

MAGNUS: That's correct. We still have some other things that are being modernized in terms of radios, global position, satellite com. So, there is a continuing strain, but essentially that is correct.

LEVIN: And despite that recent completion of that modernization program, you want to start buying some new tankers for reasons that you gave?

MAGNUS: Well, essentially the modernization that we're talking about, that the Senator is referring to, is sub-systems. Our concern is service life, fatigue life of the aircraft. These aircraft are 35 years old. We would have to spend an enormous amount more money to basically do a service life extension on these aircraft when we have aircraft that are being produced for the United States Air Force. They're going to have very low ownership costs, just as ours are spiking.

So, we believe it prudent not to invest in schlepping old aircraft when in fact they're going to be very cost effective in terms of life cycle costs and commonality. Very cost effective -- C130-Js being produced for our wing men in the United States Air Force. So we look forward to being able to take advantage of that program.

LEVIN: Thank you all. Appreciate your testimony. We will stand adjourned.