Air Forces asks Textron to upgrade military AN/USM-670 JSECST flightline test equipment

Oct. 14, 2014
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., 14 Oct. 2014. Flightline test experts at Textron Systems Corp. will upgrade the U.S. military AN/USM-670A Joint Service Electronic Combat Systems Tester (JSECST) to resolve severe component obsolescence issues, Air Force officials say.
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., 14 Oct. 2014.Flightline test experts at Textron Systems Corp. will upgrade the U.S. military AN/USM-670A Joint Service Electronic Combat Systems Tester (JSECST) to resolve severe component obsolescence issues, Air Force officials say.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., awarded a potential $43.6 million contract to the Textron Electronic Systems segment in Hunt Valley, Md. (formerly AAI Test & Training), to upgrade Air Force JSECT equipment, as well as provide new field and laboratory test equipment. Textron acquired AAI in 2007.

The AN/USM-670 JSECST is an end-to-end (ETE) test & measurement system for use on the F/A-18 fighter-bomber, F-15 and F-16 jet fighters, AV-8B jump jet, CV-22 tiltrotor, and the A-10 close air support aircraft. It performs tests to determine the status of an electronic combat (EC) system with minimal technician interaction, Textron officials say.

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The contract calls for Textron to deliver 410 AN/USM-670A JSECST retrofit kits; 50 new AN/USM-670A JSECST systems; 13 Laboratory JSECST; and 20 laboratory JSECST retrofit kits. The contract has options for additional equipment purchases.

The retrofit kits will bring currently fielded AN/USM-670 JSECST and Laboratory JSECST equipment up to the AN/USM-670A configuration. The contract was awarded sole-source, as Textron is considered to be the only reliable source of the necessary test equipment and system upgrades, Air Force officials say.

Over the next four years Textron officials say they expect to upgrade most of more than 500 JSECST systems currently fielded with the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and 22 foreign military sale customers. The advanced-performance JSECST upgrade kit will add 20 years of useful life, plus the capability to test a range of new mission-critical aircraft systems for greater performance, Textron officials say.

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The next-generation JSECST was selected by the Air Force, Army, and Navy. The upgrade kit and core test set are backward-compatible with existing JSECST components, test programs, and accessories. The contract with Textron was announced on 30 Sept. 2014.

U.S. military procurement specialists had a substantial sense of urgency in awarding the JSECST upgrade contract. The AN/USM-670 tester was in severe need of modifications due to severe obsolescence and emergent technologies and capabilities requirements, Air Force officials say.

Emergent technologies and capabilities already have presented themselves and without quick improvements, another upgrade would have been needed before this one is complete, officials say. Some components of the systems were no longer available from their manufacturers, which necessitated the system upgrade.

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The AN/USM-670A refreshes and enhances the technology, restarting the product’s life cycle to extend service life beyond 2030, company officials say.

The AN/USM-670A JSECST tests and fault-isolates electronic combat and avionics systems military combat aircraft. The original JSECST configuration has been in the field for more than 10 years. The system is designed to test aircraft electronic warfare (EW), radio frequency (RF), microwave, and avionics systems.

The test equipment enables realistic emitter simulations and multiple-threat scenario environments; off-line test program development using commercial PCs; in-depth engineering troubleshooting in manual operating mode; flexible architecture to handle additional, non-flight line applications; expandable hardware and software to meet future test requirements; configurability to support new platforms; simple operator interfaces such as user inputs and test set outputs; and all-weather performance, regardless of surrounding interference; MIL-PRF-28800 Class 1.

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The AN/USM-670A JSECST has two RF stimulus channels from 10 MHz to 18.5 GHz, with as many as eight simultaneous pulse emitters per channel; is programmable for complex waveforms, including random variations; provides jammer response testing; and many other features.

On this contract Textron Systems will do the work in Hunt Valley, Md., and should be finished September 2018. For more information contact Textron Systems online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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