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• The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center
(AFOTEC) completed the IOT&E for the E-3 Airborne
Warning and Control System (AWACS) Block 40/45
Modification during 2010. DOT&E and AFOTEC evaluated
the system as operationally effective but not operationally
suitable. Key deficiency areas included reliability and
training. In addition, the Block 40/45 ground-based and
deployable support systems were not available and operational
testing of these elements was deferred to the FOT&E.
• The E-3 Block 40/45, designated E-3G, modifications include
incremental updates to the business-grade commercial mission
computing systems in the aircraft, ground support systems,
and application software to address diminishing manufacturing
resources, correction to deficiencies identified through testing
and operational use, and to add enhancements. AFOTEC used
E-3G hardware version l.0 for IOT&E and version 3.0 for
some FOT&E events. The Air Force has fielded both versions.
Production of the E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 aircraft, also known as the E-3G, will be delayed by another two years. The delay was announced in the U.S. Director, Operational Test and Evaluation report for FY16. The E-3G completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in 2010.
The E-3G began its follow-on operational test and evaluation (FOT&E) in 4Q FY15, in accordance with the Test and Evaluation Master Plan as approved by the DOT&E. Cold weather operational testing began in 2Q FY16, and a cybersecurity Cooperative Vulnerability and Penetration Assessment began in 3Q FY16.
The report says that the testing revealed “deficiencies related to multi-source track integration, maritime tracking, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and software reliability.”
According to the report, the E-3G “has difficulty in combining various on- and off-board sensor data into a coherent single track on a consistent basis.” It adds that “the E-3G version 3.0 and supporting Block 40/45 ground systems are highly vulnerable to cyber threats and not survivable.”