Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force
MARCH 3, 1999
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you toand discuss the Air Forces aviation modernization program. Our modernization efforts are based on Air Force core competencies and focus on developing and fielding systems that enhance expeditionary capabilities. Our modernization effort will ensure the Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF) is capable of delivering decisive combat power when needed. We appreciate your concern, support, and funding offor our efforts to build the worlds best Air Force.
The U.S. must maintain the ability to project power rapidly, precisely, and globallya job tailor made for the EAF and the global attack and precision engagement assets that it contains. The right balance of platforms is the essence of our ability to provide this power.
As we structure our combat forces for the full spectrum of conflict where we envision using offensive air power in operations ranging from quick, decisive actions such as Eldorado Canyon in Libya to one or two major theater wars similar to Desert Storm, we must have an appropriate mix of aircraft capability to provide our Joint Force Commanders the full range of flexibility and options. The versatility of that mix is an important ingredient in achieving the desired effects of our global attack and precision engagement forces. Clearly its important to have the right mix of forces to attack a range of targets from deep, highly defended strategic targets to enemy troops near our own forces. And, of course, the first priority is to achieve air superiority, a vital requirement to assure the freedom to maneuver for our global attack and precision engagement platforms as they attack targets of significance at will.
Over time, and in consideration of the various scenarios, analysis shows that our force structure requires a balance of air superiority, attack, and multi-role aircraft. Our force structure should be composed of approximately 20 to 25 percent dedicated air-to-air aircraft to ensure air superiority. Additionally we have found that we need approximately 25 to 30 percent dedicated air-to-ground attack aircraft. The bulk of our forces, approximately 45 to 55 percent, should be multi-role capable.
This assessment is based on the need for flexibility required to respond quickly and decisively to the changing complexion of the battlespace. During a conflict, a certain percentage of our force will always be required for dedicated air superiority. In the early stages of a conflict, both air superiority platforms and a portion of the multi-role assets will be employed to achieve air superioritythe critical enabler for all joint attack operations. Conversely, at the later stages of the conflict, multi-role aircraft will concentrate, along with our dedicated air-to-ground aircraft, on attacking strategic and tactical targets.
From analyses in the 1993 Bottom Up Review (BUR) and 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), we require a mix of 20 fighter wing equivalents (FWEs) and 130 combat-coded bomber aircraft. Using the time-proven percentages discussed above yields 4 wings of air superiority aircraft. Aging F-15C aircraft currently fill those wings. Over the next 14 years, these 4 wings will be replaced with only 3 wings of F-22 aircraft. The need for 4 wings of air superiority aircraft remains valid, and the Air Force is studying alternatives to ensure that we maintain the air superiority force structure requirements. The BUR and QDR analyses also yielded 4 wings of dedicated air-to-ground aircraft, currently composed of F-15E, F-117, and A-10 aircraft. The remaining 12 FWEs are composed of multi-role aircraft, primarily the F-16 today and JSF in the future.
This mix of aircraft provides a potent capability for our joint forces. However, to maintain its viability, our fleet needs to be modernized as technology and the threat evolve. The remainder of this statement will address the requested aircraft modernization topics within the context of the Air Forces overall modernization effort. Although aircraft form a significant portion of our force, we must also consider the overall modernization which leads us to an aerospace force. This effort is a time-phased, affordable plan based on the Air Forces core competencies.
Information superiority is defined as the ability to collect, control, exploit, and defend information, while denying the adversary the same. Information superiority is not only an Air Force concern, but also a critical concern of all military services across the entire spectrum of operations. Controlling information is a necessary precondition for success in combat and is the objective of the Air Forces information superiority modernization efforts. In this rapidly growing area, we must modernize our information superiority systems to ensure globally-deployed U.S. forces receive the right information, at the right time and in the right format. To accomplish this, the Air Force deploys a multi-layered system of air and space assets including the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), Rivet Joint, MILSATCOM, Global Positioning System (GPS), Theater Battle Management Core System and others.
A center piece of our information superiority architecture is Joint STARS and its ability to find targets of significance at operational and strategic levels of war and provide the target information to U.S. and coalition forces, both in the air and on the ground. Joint STARS provides commanders an unprecedented awareness of the ground situation, battle management, and targeting capability. Successfully completing deployments to the European, Southwest Asian, and Pacific theaters, Joint STARS continues to demonstrate its benefits as DoDs only fielded real time, long range, wide-area ground surveillance and battle management asset. Joint STARS provided support in Operation DESERT THUNDER to the Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia commander from February to April 1998. During this Iraqi crisis Joint STARS flew 39 sorties over 104 days, monitored ground movement in southern Iraq, and enabled cross-cueing of reconnaissance assets.
We appreciate the Congressional support which brings us closer to the JROC-validated requirement for 19 E-8C aircraft. The FY 1999 Appropriation included an additional $36M for advance procurement of a 14th aircraft and our FY 2000 Presidents Budget submission added the remainder of the funding required for this aircraft.
An essential modernization effort for Joint STARS is the Radar Technology Insertion Program (RTIP), which replaces the current radar antenna with state of the art technology to enhance Joint STARS performance. We have recently awarded an RTIP development contract for pre-EMD efforts to support a September 1999 Milestone II decision. While our current funding is adequate to execute the U.S. RTIP development program, it will extend our EMD program far into the future. We are exploring the potential for a Cooperative Radar Development Program with the United Kingdom to help reduce the costs for the RTIP program and provide the technology to the UK for their use. This cooperative effort would, however, require accelerated funding. We are currently assessing the value of a cooperative program and the quantity and timing of any required funds.
While the Joint STARS is the preeminent ground surveillance platform, the AWACS continues to be the primary system in terms of air surveillance. Our modernization efforts are designed to ensure it remains the premier airborne command and control platform through 2025. The target for completing the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is FY 2000. In addition, the AWACS Extend Sentry program improves the aging fleets reliability, maintainability and availability to meet the warfighting CINCs taskings. These initiatives provide improved capabilities against emerging threats, maximize the use of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) items, open-up the legacy computing system and significantly improve our operators situational awareness, while simultaneously extending AWACS service life well into the next century.
Rapid Global Mobility
The information superiority forces of the EAF provide the national leadership with information to help them make a decision to act. If we are ordered to deploy forces, the Air Force mobility fleet will be called upon to rapidly move the EAF and other joint forces into the theater.
Airlifts fundamental objective is to quickly project and sustain combat, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance forces anywhere in the world during peace and war. Our airlift modernization programs support this objective. The cornerstone of our airlift modernization is continued multi-year procurement of the C-17. Additionally, we are pursuing procurement of new aircraft cargo loaders and a number of reliability and sustainability improvements to our C-5, C-130, KC-10, and KC-135 aircraft. These modifications address primarily engine and avionics enhancements.
If we are to operate in any location, we must first control the aerospace environment. Both the United States and allied forces must be protected from enemy attacks throughout a conflict.
Modernization of our air superiority forces consists of sustaining the F-15C while we are developing and procuring its replacement. The F-15C has been the mainstay of our air superiority fleet for over 20 years. Our modernization efforts are focused on sustaining the aircraft as it ages and improving its combat capability to keep it viable until it is replaced by the F-22. Specific improvements include the -220 engine upgrade, APG-63(V)1 radar modification, and addition of Link 16 capability.
To ensure we maintain air superiority with our mix of fighter aircraft, we are continuing our long-term priority to modernize our aging fighter fleet with the F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Structuring our forces with a "high-end" air superiority fighter and a "low-end" multi-role air-to-ground weapon system has proven effective both operationally and fiscally. The F-22, optimized for the air-to-air role, provides Air Dominance and enables an affordable JSF which is optimized for air-to-ground capability to provide precision engagement.
The ability to dominate the skies over enemy territory provides the freedom of maneuver for all joint forces. That is precisely why we are investing in the revolutionary leap-ahead capabilities embodied in the F-22 Raptor. With the F-22s blend of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, integrated avionics, and payload, we will be able to get to the fight fast and operate with near impunity over the adversarys territory. The F-22 is designed to penetrate enemy airspace and achieve first-look, first-shot, and first-kill against multiple targets--all before being detected. This revolutionary technology will allow the F-22 to gain and maintain air superiority, enabling all other air platforms and theater forces to operate unhampered from enemy air attack, potentially bringing a rapid end to hostilities while minimizing friendly casualties. Additionally, the F-22 will have superb inherent air-to-ground capabilities to make it an extremely versatile asset for our expeditionary aerospace force.
The F-22 flight test program is proceeding extremely well with the first two flight test aircraft having completed over 200 hours of productive flight testing. Flight test results of the engines and aircraft have closely matched predictions giving the program confidence as the flight envelope continues to expand. Additionally, the F-22 program completed all program criteria for 1998 and issued full contract award for two Production Representative Test Vehicles as well as long lead funding for the six aircraft in Lot 1. The Air Force and the F-22 contractors are committed to deliver the F-22 within the Congressionally-mandated cost caps; and funding stability is essential for program stability to ensure the aircraft enters operational service in December 2005.
The Airborne Laser (ABL), a key part of our future air superiority force, is one of our most promising weapon system development programs and has the potential to revolutionize warfare. While flying in friendly airspace, the Airborne Laser will be able to reach hundreds of kilometers into enemy territory to destroy enemy targets at the speed of light. The ABLs high-energy laser system is DoDs only near-term weapon system designed to destroy Theater Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) during their initial stage of flight, i.e., boost phase. This intercept capability will give theater commanders the unique ability to destroy TBMs long before they place American or allied troops at risk. Our enemies will also face the potential of having TBM debris fall on their own territory -- this will provide a high level of deterrence, especially if our enemies are contemplating using weapons of mass destruction.
The ABL program is in the program definition and risk reduction phase and it has enjoyed great success over the last year. ABL has achieved all of its milestones while maintaining the program on-schedule and on-cost. One success included building a laser module with all critical components "flight-weighted." This involved reducing a previous test laser module weighing more than 5500 lbs down to one weighing about 3000 lbs. Most impressively, this same laser module produced 110% of design power, a full 4 years before needed. In addition to these successes, we have recently restructured the program to strengthen risk reduction activities. The restructured ABL program will field three aircraft (Initial Operational Capability) by FY07 and seven aircraft (Full Operational Capability) by FY09. The Air Force is firmly committed to the ABL program and looks forward to introducing this revolutionary warfighting capability to our joint force commanders.
Global Attack / Precision Engagement
Once weve assured aerospace superiority, our global attack forces will take the fight to the enemy with a combination of versatile forces. The backbone of our global attack, precision engagement operations is the bomber force, as you have seen with our recent B-52 and B-1 strikes in Iraq. Our nations bombers combine massive payload with global range and quick reaction time to project America's force in support of the theater CINCs anywhere in the world. Modernization of our bombers will enable them to employ the full range of precision direct attack and standoff weapons in addition to a vast array of conventional weapons. The B-2 and B-52 also retain their vital strategic capability to effectively employ nuclear gravity weapons. With the added benefit of the B-2's low observability characteristics, the bomber force now holds at risk the full range of targets, including even the most heavily defended targets. These capabilities make our combined bomber force uniquely qualified to provide either a deterrent value or massive strike capability in support of United States national security strategy.
The B-1 Lancer is the Air Forces primary long range conventional delivery system. In October 1997, the Air Force suspended the B-1s active nuclear role. The Air Force remains committed to full conventional enhancement of the B-1 under the multi-phased Conventional Mission Upgrade Program (CMUP). Initial operational testing was successfully completed in September 1998 for B-1B Joint Directed Attack Munition (JDAM) capability, communication upgrade, and GPS capability. The Congressionally accelerated B-1B JDAM-capable "seven-pack" aircraft will all deliver by the end of this monthapproximately a year and a half ahead of the original schedule. The ALE-50 Towed Decoy Systems for the accelerated aircraft will be installed shortly thereafter. The kits to install JDAM capability onto the remainder of the B-1 fleet entered Full Rate Production in February of this year. Development efforts for the B-1B computer upgrade and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD), Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) weapons capability are all on-going, with initial aircraft scheduled to be delivered in FY 2002. The computer upgrade will for the first time allow the B-1 to mix weapons types on a single sortie, allowing greater targeting flexibility as the full complement of B-1 CMUP weapons are integrated onto the aircraft. The final phase of B-1 CMUP is an upgrade to the defensive system to counter expected threats through the foreseeable future. The first B-1 aircraft with the defensive upgrade will deliver in FY 2002.
The B-2 Spirit continues to make great strides toward Full Operational Capability later this year. The 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, currently has nine Block 30 B-2 aircraft assigned. The remaining twelve aircraft are in various stages of Block 30 modification at Palmdale, CA. The Block 30 aircraft possess improved low observable signature, as well as expanded weapons and full automatic terrain following capabilities. The B-2 is presently certified for the following conventional weapons: JDAM, GBU-37/B (a 4,700-pound weapon designed to attack hardened and deeply buried targets with near-precision accuracy), various cluster bombs, and a variety of general purpose gravity weapons. The B-2 also represents a major portion of the nation's nuclear deterrence force with its ability to employ the B-83, B-61/7, and B-61/11 nuclear gravity weapons. Near-term future weapons include JSOW and JASSM.
The ability to adequately maintain the aircraft's low observable (LO) signature between sorties is still a challenge. The Long Range Air Power Panel recommended additional FY 1998 funds be applied toward upgrades to improve the B-2's deployability, survivability, and command and control communications. Funded projects are: development of Alternate High Frequency Materials (AHFM); Advanced Topcoat System; Arrowhead Panel Tape Elimination; UHF SATCOM/DAMA/Mission Management Upgrade; LO Repair Verification Tools; and Improved Durability Tiles. For FY 1999, Congress appropriated an additional $50M for the B-2. The Air Force is finalizing plans to focus these dollars on improving the B-2s LO maintainability and supportability.
The Block 30 B-2 has a requirement to operate from deployed locations. To demonstrate its capability to fulfill that requirement, the B-2 performed two operational deployments to Guam in 1998. "ISLAND SPIRIT 98-1" in March and "CORONET RAMBLER 4-9" in September were both highly successful exercises, demonstrating the B-2 can operate effectively while being maintained at a deployed location. A comparison of the two showed significant progress--though deployed for a full month, and operating more B-2s, the 509th Bomb Wing required one-third less airlift support and fewer personnel for CORONET RAMBLER. While clearly demonstrating the B-2 can fulfill its global attack mission, both exercises confirmed the Spirit's need for deployable shelters to support LO maintenance activities in locations where adequate shelter may not be available.
These design and materials improvements, as well as changes in some maintenance processes and supply procedures, will reduce the time required to prepare the B-2 for combat, effectively increasing the sortie generation capability. The net result means more bombs on target. In addition, the B-2's vast mix of weapons, combined with its low observable characteristics and global range, make the Spirit uniquely capable of performing its combat mission anywhere in the world.
The B-52 Stratofortress has been the workhorse of the strategic heavy bomber force for many years. The B-52 has the combat proven capability of dropping or launching a significant array of weapons. It is capable of delivering all of the following precision, standoff weapons: the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile, AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile, AGM-84 HARPOON anti-shipping missile, the AGM-86C Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile, and AGM-142 HAVE NAP missile. Additionally, the B-52 will integrate future standoff and precision munitions to include the JDAM and WCMD by the end of this year, JSOW by FY2000, and JASSM by FY 2002. To prevent avionics obsolescence and ensure future capability, the Air Force will upgrade the B-52s inertial navigation system, avionics computers and data transfer devices via the Avionics Mid-life Improvement (AMI) program.
Complementing the long-range global reach of our bomber aircraft, our fighter aircraft will precisely engage the enemy from in-theater locations. The F-15E is the worlds best air-to-ground aircraft and a major contributor to precision engagement. It fulfills the long range, all weather day/night precision strike role and has under-the-weather navigation and targeting capability with the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared system for Night (LANTIRN). We are aggressively upgrading its armament capabilities with Smart Weapons (JDAM, JSOW, and WCMD) in the FY 2003 time frame. We are adding low frequency coverage (Band 1.5) to the internal ALQ-135 jammer and will integrate a towed decoy to increase aircraft survivability.
The F-16 is the worlds most versatile multi-role fighter. It currently comprises approximately 55 percent of the Air Combat Command fighter inventory and complements the F-15E with LANTIRN day/night under-the-weather precision strike capability. The F-16 is also the primary aircraft that conducts the Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) mission using the HARM Targeting System--used in front line activity during recent engagements with Iraq. Armament upgrades include JDAM, JSOW, WCMD in FY 2000, and JASSM and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System/AIM-9X in the FY 2004 time frame. The Air Force has undertaken a major effort to accommodate the future Air Expeditionary Force requirements and upgrade the capability of our National Guard and Reserve F-16 units. The plan is jump started by the purchase of 30 new Block 50 aircraft between FY 2000 and FY 2003. In addition, we are continuing several major sustainment efforts to include an airframe service life improvement program, and we initiated the purchase of new spare engines for the F-16. Finally, our F-16 survivability enhancements include the addition of the ALE-47 chaff and flare dispenser, the ALE-50 towed decoy, and the ALR-56M radar warning receiver.
Although the F-16 is a superb aircraft, we are reaching the end of our ability to innovate its capabilities and improve its signature characteristics. As we look at threats in the 2010 time frame, the ability to achieve affordable stealth is imperative.
Overcoming this shortfall and providing us with the next generation strike aircraft needed for the 21st century, the JSF will replace the aging Air Force F-16 and A-10 aircraft fleets. It will be capable of carrying a wide array of weapons to include JDAM, JSOW, and AMRAAM internally; and JASSM, AIM-9X, and others externally. With superior precision engagement capability and relatively low cost, the JSF complements the F-22 in the high-low mix. The JSF will be designed as a stealthy multi-role air-to-ground fighter reliant on the enabling force of the air dominant F-22. The JSFs affordable balance of survivability, lethality, and supportability will bring precision engagement to the future battlespace while simultaneously decreasing life cycle costs. The JSF program is on track to supply over 3,000 multi-role strike fighters to the Air Force, Navy, Marines, United Kingdom Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and other allies. Delivery of the first operational JSF is planned for 2008. Maintaining this schedule will ensure optimal balance between affordably replacing aging aircraft and providing the warfighter with the required force structure.
The F-117 plays a key role in the precision employment role as an enabling force and is being modernized to improve sustainability and meet 21st Century threats. Following its DESERT STORM performance, the F-117 has become synonymous with precision engagement. The F-117s strength lies in its ability to leverage its Low Observable capabilities to penetrate dense, high threat environments and deliver laser-guided precision weapons with pinpoint accuracy against heavily defended, time critical, high value targets. Our JDAM, WCMD, and Enhanced GBU-27 armament improvements will give the F-117 adverse-weather, near precision capability in the FY 2004-2005 time frame. The F-117 has been operational since 1983 and is starting a series of sustainment upgrades to its stealth coating and aging avionics systems, including the weapons attack sensor system and the weapons delivery computer.
The bomber and fighter mix must have the appropriate weapons to apply selective force against specific targets and achieve discrete and discriminate effects. The combination of weapons and aerospace platforms must have sufficient precision to achieve the desired effects with a reduced number of sorties and with limited collateral damage in the target area. To meet these stringent requirements we pioneered the development of precision guided munitions (PGMs) with an increasing tempo in the 1980s and on into the 1990s. These new weapons are capable of use in adverse weather, from medium and high altitudes, multiple target attack from a single release point, and employment ranges from 5 miles (JDAM) to hundreds of miles (JASSM). These next generation weapons go a long way toward achieving our goals for precision engagement while minimizing the threat of enemy air defenses to our aircrews. Except for JASSM, all of these next generation precision weapons are now in production. After JASSM starts production in FY 2001, we must turn our attention to areas not covered by this first group of modern PGMs. On-going Analysis of Alternatives will provide an in-depth examination of areas such as hard and deeply buried targets, agent defeat for chemical-biological targets, miniature high powered munitions, and more accurate and effective cluster munitions. These weapons will be employed from a majority of Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft.
To effectively perform our core competencies, the Air Force continues to modernize our aircrew training programs with modern equipment for joint training. The T-6A Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) will replace the aging Air Force T-37 and Navy T-34 aircraft, and provide improved performance, safety, reliability and supportability over its predecessors. Included in the JPATS program is the Training Integration Management System (TIMS), which will revolutionize all Air Force and Navy flight training operations, not just those of the T-6A. The T-38 Avionics Upgrade Program (AUP) will modernize 1960s vintage cockpits and the T-38 Propulsion Modernization Program (PMP) will upgrade the engines and fuselage to improve training, reliability, and supportability. The T-38 AUP begins production in FY 1999 and PMP follows in FY 2000.
Science and Technology
Investment in Science & Technology (S&T) is crucial to maintaining our technology edge and transforming ourselves into a true Expeditionary Aerospace Force. The Air Force is committed to a strong S&T program. It is the technical foundation for implementing our vision of Global Engagement. We are less certain today who our future adversaries will be or the kinds of technologies they will employ. Advances in weapon-related technologies are proliferating at an alarming rate. Information and space technologies have become dramatic force multipliers as well as potential Achilles heels requiring a balanced focus on their use as well as defense against adversarial attack.
Our strategy is to build a focused portfolio of Air Force S&T
investments to ensure warfighters have the technology they need when they need it. We
continuously assess our requirements for S&T funding against competing needs within
the defense budget. As part of the FY 2000 Presidents Budget submission, the Air
Force proposes to maintain its S&T budget at last years level. In FY 1999, we
requested $1,170.7M; for FY 2000, the figure is $1,182.8M. This breaks out to
approximately 18 percent for 6.1 (Basic Research), 43 percent for 6.2 (Exploratory
Development), and 39 percent for 6.3 (Advanced Technology Development). The corresponding
breakout for FY 1999 was 18 percent, 50 percent, and 32 percent. The 6.3 account primarily
reflects our commitment to double our research investment in space-related technology by
FY 2005. This reflects the Air Forces move to a fully integrated aerospace force
which relies on space-based information-gathering and communications technologies to
enable global attack, precision engagement forces to find, fix, target, track, engage, and
assess any potential target on the planet. Our investment in aviation S&T includes
improvements in global mobility with the Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine
Technology programs, improvements in precision attack with miniaturized munitions, and
improvements in information superiority with advanced avionics and data fusion. We are
also continuing our work on truly revolution technologies such as Directed Energy for
systems including the Airborne Laser and Space Based Laser. The sooner we act in building
the technological underpinnings of a truly Expeditionary Aerospace Force, the faster our
transformation into a force capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century will
In conclusion, the Air Forces aviation modernization program is only a part of our overall efforts to build the worlds best Aerospace Force. We are enhancing our expeditionary capabilities by balancing investments across the core competencies. Additionally, our strategy sustains existing systems, keeping them viable until they reach the end of their service lives. Our focus is improving the Air Forces ability to project power rapidly, precisely, and globally. The Air Forces unique global attack, precision engagement capability, supported by information superiority, rapid global mobility, aerospace superiority, and agile combat support, produce a force capable of delivering decisive combat power when needed.