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E-3G Block 40/45 suffering significant problems

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posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 12:19 AM
It's coming to light that the latest upgrade for the E-3, which brings it up to the G standard, has serious problems. The upgrade to the Block40/45 replaced the mission computer on the older E-3s, with an open architecture COTS system. The problems began when there was no developmental testing for the new system. Cold weather testing in Alaska was cancelled due to non-Block 40/45 radar and aircraft problems resulting in the flight being cancelled, so the required measurements couldn't be taken. During testing against a Block 30/35 E-3 in the Caribbean, the Block 40/45 system had trouble tracking maritime targets compared to the Block 30/35. Neither one was great at tracking ships, but the older system performed better. During the cybersecurity testing, the aircraft and ground system were determined to be "non-survivable" against cyber attacks. The list goes on.

The aircraft was deemed not ready for FOT&E, and a 2 year delay was put on to develop resolutions to these problems. A few of them are showing improvement, such as the ground station overheating. During operations at Red Flag, the ground station only had to be rebooted once. There were a number of recommended milestones to be completed during the FY16 period, but it's not clear how many of those have been met.

Executive Summary
• 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.”
edit on 3/7/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 01:13 AM
Hey I'm sorry I said you knew that lightning hole was the size of a quarter because you tig welded a quarter in it to repair it... that was a low blow.

I'm no professional but today's trend seems to be making a common platform more versatile, These honking big spheres are great and if you say the older architecture performs better than the new... why not have both ... but reasoning aside I still think you could fit that pancake inside the aircraft especially having a bunch of smaller ones in the already specifically designed to be multi role aircraft say like an F-35. get a bunch of those flying close would catch something and the more you had the better it would be... and bam, some break off to intercept.
Because I was inverted.

posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 04:08 AM
a reply to: BeneGesseritWitch

What did any of your last post have to do with the thread and what did most of it mean? I have no idea what you were talking about, does anyone else?
edit on 7-3-2017 by thebozeian because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 02:08 AM
a reply to: thebozeian

The E-3 is a plane from the 196o's right and it always had a Pulse-Doppler radar, but paired with other types because the electronics weren't there yet. The pulse-doppler radar is just super sensitive and you don't understand it yet that's cool, and my bad for not being super smart about radar technology.
I'm just saying it would be cool if you could somehow retrofit a bunch of small pulse doppler radars on a bunch of f35s get em to sync up like somebodys shark week, and that would be it they would all signal off at the same time and just wait for it to bounce back... and the more of them the less noise there would be... Hell you could even have some flying at different altitudes for different wavelengths... Seriously why are we not funding this?

posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:08 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

In this modern cybersecurity climate, I'm shocked that anyone is stupid enough to put anything more advanced than simple 80's electronics on a mission-critical strategic asset.

Didn't anyone at the DOD watch NuBSG? That whole "Cylons hacked and neutralized all the modern networked ships in the navy and the only one to survive the initial electronic attack was the ship with ancient outdated electronic systems" part of the plot is getting closer and closer to reality.

posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:12 AM
a reply to: Barnalby

Yeah it is. I get the whole COTS open architecture thing. It makes things a lot cheaper and more flexible, but there's a damn good reason that our missile fleet uses floppy disks.

posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:25 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

That's why I hope they hold on to the Ohios for as long as they can.

The original boats with their command line, vector graphic computer systems that look like they came straight off the Nostromo from Alien are EXACTLY what I want to be carrying the USA's premiere first strike assets.

Stuxnet should have been the moment that the USA abandoned any sort of networked critical systems on our airplanes and ships. The recent wikileaks disclosures on the full extent of what the US can infiltrate and control electronically (stuff like self-propogating, evolving malware) should have us all running screaming back to discrete, air-gapped computer systems that are hand-programmed for anything even close to a strategic asset.

They can keep the networked datalinks and fire control systems, but they need to be discrete units separate from anything truly mission-critical, like a Garmin GPS unit velcroed to the steam gauge instrument panel of a 1960's Cessna.

"Sensor fusion" in this day in age seems like it only serves to give an enemy that many more potential vectors through which to initiate a self-propagating electronic attack, and we should assume that our networked assets can be stuxnet-ified given what we've seen of the Russian and Chinese hacking capabilities.

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