JED - March 2010 - (Page 37)

USAF EW Sustainment By Elaine Richardson The Journal of Electronic Defense | March 2010 The 542d Combat Sustainment Group Keeps up with Demand and Leverages New Technology to Maintain and Improve Legacy Systems I n recent years, a key factor in the sustainment of US Air Force electronic warfare (EW) systems has become the sheer numbers. With retirement dates for many of the service’s aging aircraft pushing out indefi nitely, the challenge for the 542d Combat Sustainment Group, which handles a large portion of legacy system EW sustainment from its primary location at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA, has been maintaining the more than 70 products – representing 90 ongoing upgrade or sustainment programs and more than 30 types of software code – on every model of US Air Force aircraft. In addition to sustainment, the 542d has both procurement and ops support functions, including efforts for rapid reprogramming for ongoing operations. “Why are there 500 people at Robins Air Force Base doing EW?” asked Col Stan VanderWerf, commander of the 542d CBSG. “Because we do all three.” When JED did its last major feature on US Air Force EW sustainment in 2008, the 542d was celebrating the successful use of new technology – specifically the integration of advanced technology from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s ASQ-239 Barracuda EW system into the B-52’s ALQ-155 system, resulting in both reduced costs and increased reliability. The group was also looking toward full start up of the EW Life Cycle Management Group (LCMG), a new concept bringing together cross-service expertise at different levels – from a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) at the O6 level from every USAF major command (MAJCOM) to a senior Advisory Group (SAG) at the 2-star level – to focus the USAF’s EW goals and budget requests and to better allow for prioritization of projects. Now, two years into the EW LCMG, Colonel VanderWerf said this level approach to USAF EW “has absolutely made a difference.” “We collaborate. We find out who has investment money to upgrade their platform. Hey, could that be useful on another airplane? We try to find out better ways to use those dollars,” VanderWerf said. “The voice of the SAG and the TAG speaks to the corporate process in the Air Force about what the best investment strategy is for electronic warfare. And the SAG is listened to by the investment structure within the Pentagon. Because what happens is when we come out of our SAG meetings all of the MAJCOMs are speaking with one voice. There’s no bickering. It goes in as a single voice and it really has power.” As a part of this process, the MAJCOMs have been willing to delay or modify their investment strategies for the good of the Air Force overall because they see what others need and are working on, VanderWerf noted.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - March 2010

JED - March 2010
The View From Here
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Modernizing EW Ranges
Shooting Down the Good Guys
USAF EW Sustainment
Technology Survey: TWTs and MPMs
EW 101
AOC News
Industry/Institute/University Members
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - March 2010