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Title: The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Acquisition and Combat Capability

Subject: The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) is being procured to meet interim national mission model spacelift requirements. This paper attempts to predict (based upon system requirements and the acquisition process) how well the EELV will be able to support the needs of the combatant commander.

Author(s): Samuel A. Greaves; Edward F. Greer (Faculty Advisor)

DTIC Keywords: AIR TO SPACE, LAUNCH VEHICLES, LAUNCHERS, LAUNCHING, LAUNCHING SITES, MANNED SPACECRAFT, ROCKET LAUNCHING, SPACE CREWS, SPACE FLIGHT, SPACE LAUNCHED, SPACE MISSIONS, SPACE SHUTTLES, SPACE SYSTEMS, SPACE TECHNOLOGY, SPACE TRANSPORTATION, SPACECRAFT, UNMANNED, UNMANNED SPACECRAFT, WINGED LAUNCH VEHICLES

Abstract: This project studies the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) acquisition program. The purpose is to find out how the EELV proposes to deliver assured access to space with significant savings. This is being done in order to understand whether the delivered system will significantly enhance spacelift's contribution to the combatant commander's mission.

This paper accomplishes five tasks. First, it describes the top-level policy guiding the EELV program. Second, it examines a number of applicable lessons learned from a similar acquisition program. Third, it outlines the proposed EELV solution by examining the contractually binding system performance document. Fourth, it assesses the ability of the EELV solution to meet warfighter requirements. Finally, it provides recommendations aimed at modifying the acquisition program to meet the warfighter's needs, and educating the warfighter on what the EELV will most likely deliver.

One of the significant findings is that the EELV is a conservative, interim access to space solution that will not revolutionize spacelift. This means that if space assets fail during deliberate and crisis action planning, the combatant commander cannot assume that a replacement will be readily available because the EELV system is not being optimized to provide such service. It is only being optimized to reliably place assets into space at some reduced cost. This shortfall in responsiveness and timeliness may preclude the full application of space power because space assets may not be available when needed by the combatant commander. Also, the requirements flowed down to the contractually binding system performance document reflect a cautious, conservative tone, and not the high operations tempo of the joint warfighting environment. Additionally, acquisition streamlining principles must be properly applied throughout all aspects of the program in order to deliver a program that has any hope of meeting the 25 to 50 percent cost reduction goals.

Finally, if space superiority is truly a core competency the Air Force intends to incorporate into the combatant commander's toolkit, then there is a bonifide need for the acquisition of a rapid, responsive spacelift system. The EELV will not be able to meet these requirements unless its system performance documents are modified to identify these capabilities as key performance parameters on the EELV contract.



Last updated 1997 Oct 08



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