March 26, 1998

JSOW to come with 20-year bumper-to-bumper warranty

By John Romer


When it comes to warranties, PMA-201 Conventional Strike Weapons Program Office has gone that extra mile to obtain a "20-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty" for the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) when it goes into production later this year.

Behind the leadership of Priscilla Plautz, PMA-201 will be the first to have a 20-year warranty on a complete All-Up-Round weapon system.

Plautz, branch head for Air-to-Ground Tactical Weapon Logistics and the integrated product team lead for PMA-201 in-service programs, worked with Raytheon, the prime contractor, for one year to establish the warranty framework. "When we shifted configuration management responsibility to the contractor, we needed a vehicle to provide incentive to the contractor to maintain high reliability," Plautz said. The JSOW 20-year warranty provides that incentive. If the contractor is successful in maintaining high reliability over the 20-year performance period, it will reduce the warranty returns, thus boosting profit. The government benefits by maintaining high operational availability and weapon reliability. The warranty basically is "what we wanted," and we feel strongly that it can be a win-win situation for Raytheon, PMA-201, the Fleet, and the taxpayer," she said.

The warranty, Plautz said, covers all labor and materials and includes all failures related to hardware and software. The only warranty exclusions are government mishandling and acts of God. "If it fails, we send it back to the contractor and they repair it," Plautz added, "there also are provisions for major redesign and retrofit as a result of systemic failures." Follow-on efforts include working out the execution details. That responsibility belongs to Gardo Olea, JSOW assistant program manager, logistics. He is continuing the work with the Raytheon team to finalize the contracting method, outline the warranty assessment board responsibilities and to establish the method for collection and analysis of warranty test and failure data.

Gardo is also leading the team that is establishing the weapon surveillance program, in which the weapon stockpile will be electronically tested each year using the Common Munition Bit and Reprogramming (CMBRE) equipment. The CMBRE is a portable test set that resembles a laptop computer in a steel suitcase. Testing will be performed at shore based activities and aboard ship (at mess level). Plautz confirmed that the surveillance plan will replace the scheduled maintenance concept used by many other weapon programs.

PMA-201 has been one of the leaders in weapon acquisition reform efforts as demonstrated in its unique support strategies with respect to long-term warranties, and use of surveillance testing rather than cyclic scheduled maintenance built around serviceable-in-service-times. Both the JSOW and the Joint Direct Attack Munitions programs will be using these concepts.

Last updated: 3.26.98