Next, the end of the Cold War and Navy budget restrictions wiped out ADVCAP
The program would seek to embed the ADVCAP
architecture and software in new hardware at about half the weight and one third the volume.
Planned upgrades, including the EA-6B ADVCAP
, have been terminated.
program, which included the RPG from Litton Amecom and the ALQ-149 communications jammer from Lockheed Sanders, had intended to improve the EA-6B's performance in dense signal environments as well as provide it with a communications jamming ability.
While sources indicate that some SIP money would be transfered to the ADVCAP
Lite effort should the Raven be mothballed, many question the wisdom of placing all the escort jamming eggs in the EA-6B basket.
EW systems that have already crossed the range include the ALQ-165 Advanced Self-Protection Jammer, AN/ALQ-126B ECM system, AN/APR-66 and -67 RWRs, EA-6B ICAP and ADVCAP
systems and the Advanced Airbome Expendable Decoy.
In addition to the EW system overhaul, ADVCAP
would have provided extensive avionics (new GPS receiver, radar, radios, head-up displays and dual AYK-14 computers), structural and aerodynamics improvements.
But if the product improvement sets the agenda for future EW activity, what do recent setbacks in some of the biggest upgrade efforts on the table -- the cancellation (a setback to put it mildly) of the EA-6B ADVCAP
, the funding stretchout of the EF-111 SIP, the evaporation of the A-6E (SWIP) and the disturbingly sudden postponement of the B-1B ALQ-161 RFP -- foretell for the budgetary health of the military electronics industry as a whole?
Thus, several EW simulator firms shared Grumman's disappointment when the Navy scuttled the EA-6B ADVCAP
Senior Navy officials at the meeting -- while sealing the fate of the EA-6B ADVCAP
program by stating that the current ICAP II version was good enough to meet future threats -- suggested that a study was needed to determine just what stand-off jamming capabilities would be needed in the future.
In fact, the service's commanders in chief and the chief of naval operations voiced support for ADVCAP
in the budgetary debate.
Users will have to content themselves with upgrades to current systems -- which, as indicated by the clouds hanging over the EA-6B ADVCAP
, are no sure thing, either.