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Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System [EPAWSS]

The F-15 is an all-weather, day and night, tactical fighter aircraft designed to gain and maintain control over the battlefield. The F-15C aircraft perform air-to-air missions and are part of the Air Superiority portfolio. The purpose of the Air Superiority portfolio is to gain and maintain air dominance across all military operations and threat environments. The Air Force executes air superiority missions in offensive and defensive environments. The F-15E aircraft is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions and is part of the Global Precision Attack portfolio. The purpose of the Global Precision Attack portfolio is to deliver worldwide global support through air interdiction, strategic attack, and close air support.

The legacy F-15 electronic warfare system used 1970s technology which has limited capability to detect, locate, deny, degrade, and disrupt modern and advanced enemy threats. Using the F-15C aircraft without Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System [EPAWSS] will limit the warfighters ability to detect and identify air and ground threats, employ counter-measures, and jam enemy radar signals.

The EPAWSS Program Manager is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The EPAWSS Program Manager reports to the F-15 System Program Manager under the Program Executive Office for Fighters and Bombers, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The Air Combat Command (ACC) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, developed the EPAWSS program capability requirements. The ACC organizes, trains, equips, and maintains combat ready forces needed for peacetime and wartime air defense.

The Air Forces EPAWSS program is an acquisition category IC major defense program with estimated program costs of $876 million in research, development, test, and evaluation, and $3.4 billion in procurement. EPAWSS upgrades F-15C and F-15E aircraft electronic warfare capabilities to detect and identify air and ground threats, employ counter-measures, and jam enemy radar signals.

In September 2014, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) validated the EPAWSS capability requirements and EPAWSS production quantities for F-15C and F-15E aircraft. JROC manages and prioritizes warfighter needs within and across the capability requirement portfolios. The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition and Logistics) is the milestone decision authority (MDA), the final decision maker for program reviews.

BAE Systems was selected by Boeing on 01 October 2015 to develop and manufacture a new, all-digital electronic warfare system for the U.S. Air Forces (USAF) fleet of F-15 fighter aircraft. The new electronic warfare system is part of a multi-billion dollar program to develop the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS), an integrated system that will provide advanced aircraft protection, significantly improved situational awareness, and support future USAF F-15 mission requirements.

This selection builds on our extensive electronic warfare legacy, a history we were able to leverage to develop an executable, affordable, and low-risk solution for the F-15 fleet, said Brian Walters, vice president and general manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems. By upgrading to an enhanced all-digital system, the Air Force, in conjunction with the platform prime, Boeing, will provide next-generation electronic warfare capability to F-15C and F-15E aircraft to help keep the platform capable and mission-ready against current and future threats.

The F-15 EPAWSS system will replace the current F-15 Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite (TEWS), which has been in use since the 1980s. Updating the electronic warfare system is critical to the F-15, which is scheduled to be in service through 2040.

In September 2016, the Air Force fully funded the EPAWSS program through production to satisfy an urgent need for modernized F-15 electronic warfare capabilities. However, in February 2017, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Strategic Plans and Requirements (DCS AF/A5/8) cancelled the upgrade of 196 F-15C aircraft with EPAWSS and removed funding from F-15C EPAWSS procurement funds, which resulted in a 47 percent decrease of the total program production quantity.

In November 2016, the Principal Deputy approved the Milestone B review for the EPAWSS program to begin the EMD phase of the acquisition process. DoD Instruction 5000.02 states that Milestone B is a critical decision point in an acquisition program because resources are committed for system development in the EMD phase.3 The Instruction also states that the purpose of the EMD phase is to develop, build, and test a product to verify that capability requirements have been met and support production decisions.

In November 2016, EPAWSS program officials started the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the acquisition cycle and began to develop, build, and test EPAWSS prototypes to verify that capability requirements have been met and to support production decisions. In August 2019, EPAWSS program officials planned to begin production and installation of EPAWSS on F-15 aircraft. The Air Force planned to upgrade 196 F-15C and 217 F-15E aircraft with EPAWSS during the production phase.

Before the EPAWSS program entered the EMD phase, Air Force and DoD test officials evaluated the EPAWSS draft Test and Evaluation Master Plan [TEMP] and concluded that the TEMP did not include sufficient test details, test activities, and test aircraft to evaluate EPAWSS during the EMD phase. The Director, Air Force Test and Evaluation, stated that EPAWSS program officials had not scheduled enough developmental tests to support the Milestone C review and begin initial production. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Developmental Test and Evaluation stated that the number of test aircraft was insufficient to evaluate the F-15 EPAWSS before the Milestone C review and approval to begin initial production.

EPAWSS program officials added details and identified resources in the updated TEMP to show that sufficient developmental ground and flight tests will occur before initial production. Program officials also added detailed descriptions of developmental ground test events, two F-15 aircraft to support operational tests, and an adequate schedule to support tests. For these reasons, on October 2, 2017, EPAWSS program officials obtained final TEMP approval from all Air Force and DoD test officials.

EPAWSS program officials developed an EPAWSS design that can meet capability requirements. At the end of March 2017, the EPAWSS Program Manager briefed the MDA that the EPAWSS critical design review was completed, the system design was mature, and the program was ready to begin developmental test prototype production. EPAWSS program officials completed the critical design review 37 days ahead of schedule.

In February 2017, the DCS AF/A5/8 cancelled the upgrade of 196 F-15C aircraft with EPAWSS and removed money from F-15C EPAWSS procurement funds. The F-15C EPAWSS quantity was 47 percent of the total program production quantity. The quantity decrease of the F-15C EPAWSS production units and the removal of funds occurred because the DCS AF/A5/8 decided to use F-15C EPAWSS procurement funds to develop a higher priority air superiority program. However, DCS AF/A5/8 officials did not request Joint Requirements Oversight Council revalidation to verify whether the quantity decrease that was over 10 percent would adversely impact the warfighters capability

A hearing titled The Current State of the U.S. Air Force was held before the Subcommittee on Readiness of the House Committee on Armed Services in March 2017. During the hearing, Air Force officials testified that they would deliberate whether to retire the F-15C during FY 2019 budget planning. The House Committee on Armed Services directed Air Force officials to provide a briefing on options and plans for the F-15C aircraft retirement.

The Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System provides the U.S. Air Force F-15 fleet with advanced electronic warfare technology to maximize mission effectiveness and survivability. With more than 60 years of electronic warfare experience and 10,000 tactical systems produced, BAE Systems remains unsurpassed across the electromagnetic spectrum. Currently flying systems on more than a dozen platforms worldwide, it is the world leader in electronic warfare, providing the warfighter with end-to-end capabilities to counter current and emerging threats.

BAE Systems EPAWSS builds on this historic heritage, modernizing the F-15 with an advanced electronic warfare solution for the U.S. Air Force, protecting the aircraft by maximizing mission effectiveness and survivability.

Providing both offensive and defensive electronic warfare options for the pilot and aircraft, EPAWSS offers fully integrated radar warning, geo-location, situational awareness, and self-protection solutions to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats in signal-dense contested and highly contested environments. Equipped with advanced electronic countermeasures, it enables deeper penetration against modern integrated air defense systems, providing rapid response capabilities to protect the aircrew.

An all-digital system, it requires a smaller footprint than previous systems, allowing it to seamlessly integrate new capabilities and remain current. A platform-level solution, it provides the F-15 with improved reliability and maintainability, helping reduce long term life cycle costs to keep the aircraft fielded now and into the future.

EPAWSS continues BAE Systems effort to provide the F-15 fleets of U.S. and allied nations with the most advanced aviation capabilities on the market. The foundation for that effort was set in 2008, when its Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) became the first new U.S.-developed electronic warfare system to be installed on the platform in several decades. Since then, BAE Systems has agreed to supply DEWS for new advanced and modified F-15 aircraft.

The Air Force initially planned to install EPAWSS on 196 F-15C and 217 F-15E aircraft, but cut all 196 EPAWSS units meant for the C models in its FY18 budget request. As of early 2019, plans for retiring the F-15C remained unsettled.






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