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Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program

In October 2003, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics approved Milestone B for the program and authorized entry into System Development and Demonstration with the provision that the Air Force would fund the program to the Cost Analysis Improvement Group estimate that would be revised in 2004.

In a 2008 assessment, the Government Accountability Office listed 7 of MP-RTIP's 8 critical technologies for the Global Hawk radar as mature, and the design as stable. In 2006, the MP-RTIP program completed 3 Global Hawk MP-RTIP development units and several software builds, and also commenced system-level testing. A Global Hawk MP-RTIP radar unit was installed on a surrogate testbed aircraft (Proteus) and flight testing began in September 2006. Expected completion of Proteus flight testing was delayed from September 2007 to summer of 2008 because software necessary for this testing had taken longer to develop than planned. However, program officials stated that the revised testing time-frame would not affect Global Hawk's ability to integrate the radar in FY09 for developmental and operational testing.

The remaining technology, software modes necessary to operate the radar, was approaching maturity. According to program officials, this technology was being matured during ongoing flight testing and was expected to be fully mature by summer 2008.

The program had completed 100 percent of its planned drawings, a measure of design stability, as of August 2007. The total number of drawings had decreased by about 8 percent since design review because some of the previously completed drawings were not part of what was then the current MP-RTIP Global Hawk radar configuration as of the March 2008 GAO report. Going forward, the potential for design changes remained until the maturity of the remaining critical technology was demonstrated in an operational environment.

The GAO report noted that while originally the MP-RTIP program had included the development of the Wide Area Surveillance radar for integration into a wide-body aircraft, specifically the E-10A aircraft, the fiscal year 2008 President's budget eliminated funding for the Wide Area Surveillance radar. The E-10A Technology Development Program was terminated by the Air Force in February 2007. The Senate Committee on Armed Services noted that the MP-RTIP radar should be on platforms larger than the Global Hawk in its report on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY08. The committee recommended an increase in funding of about $275 million so that MP-RTIP radar technology could be retrofitted into the E-8 JSTARS aircraft. In Conference Report number 110-477 accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for FY08, the conferees authorized approximately $178 million in supplemental funding for the E-10A program. This funding was requested primarily to further the development of MP-RTIP, including possibly investigating the use of MP-RTIP radar technology on platforms other than the Global Hawk.

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