The mission of JSECST is to provide go/no go testing and diagnostics on RF-based EW systems - radar warning receivers and jammers - carried mainly by fighter aircraft.
According to USAF Maj Alan Brookshire, the program manager for JSECST, the critical design review held this summer revealed an "open item," an RF modulator awarded to a company that's no longer in business, that could delay the program six months to a year, slipping the planned production start in 1999.
When it does emerge from the production line, JSECST will embody profound capability in a very demure package.
In basic terms, JSECST feeds RF stimulus into an aircraft's RWR antennas and reads the measurement output of the jammer to ensure the EC systems are operating up to par.
In fact, even with the JSECST program underway, the -406 production lines remain busy; Sanders recently received a $12.
The JSECST draft RFP release data has drifted from November to February to March, principally, say insiders, because of a lack of a signed operational requirements document (ORD).
With the caveat that they hadn't seen the draft RFP yet, most of the contractors likely to pursue the JSECST program were quite willing to describe their image of what the Navy and Air Force will want when the competition finally starts.
According to Robert Dixon, who heads the JSECST effort at GDE Systems, the team will rely on the EW system expertise of Litton and the test equipment savvy of GDE Systems in formulating its JSECST proposal.
A test program generator that will aid the services, in-house capability to develop test program sets (TPSs) to use with the JSECST also will be part of program.
The JSECST program managers are taking a close look at the potential applicability of commercial and nondevelopmental item (NDI) equipment, particularly in light of Secretary of Defense William Perry's recent memo endorsing such technology.
Representatives from several of these companies emphasized that the large number of systems expected to fall under the JSECST mandate will require extensive expertise in both EW systems as well as automatic test equipment.
As noted, the list of EW systems the JSECST will have to test represents quite a challenge.