Report | Jan. 22, 2021

Evaluation of the Aircraft Monitor and Control System’s Nuclear Certification (DODIG-2021-046)

Evaluation

Publicly Released: January 26, 2021
 

Objective

Our objective was to determine whether testing conducted on the Aircraft Monitor and Control (AMAC) system for DoD nuclear weapon capable delivery aircraft met the DoD and the Department of Energy (DOE) AMAC nuclear certification requirements.

This evaluation was a coordinated effort between the DoD and DOE Offices of Inspector General (OIG). The DOE OIG objective was to determine the extent to which the DOE provided oversight of the AMAC system testing requirements for nuclear weapons delivery. The DOE OIG issued its report to the DOE on December 9, 2020.

 

Background

The AMAC system is equipment installed in DoD aircraft to perform inflight monitoring and control of nuclear weapons, such as nuclear weapons safing, arming, enabling, disabling, and fuzing functions. These functions ensure that the nuclear weapon is safe in both ground and air environments, is delivered to its intended target, and is detonated at the correct point in space and time to achieve the desired goal.

The DoD and the DOE agreed on the division of responsibilities for AMAC compatibility testing through memorandums of understanding dating back to 1962, when the DOE was the Atomic Energy Commission. The current memorandum of understanding, signed in 2001, delineates the responsibilities of the stakeholders regarding the design requirements, test requirements, and documentation of aircraft monitor and control systems used with aircraft‑delivered nuclear weapons.

According to Titles 10 and 50 of the United States Code, nuclear weapon development and modification is governed by the DOE, whereas aircraft development and modification is governed by the DoD. Testing the compatibility of the nuclear weapon with the aircraft is a joint DoD and DOE activity. The DoD conducts its nuclear weapon testing and certification mission primarily through the Air Force Nuclear Weapon Center and the aircraft system program offices for the aircraft. The DOE conducts its nuclear weapon testing and certification mission primarily through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its national laboratories, such as Sandia National Laboratories.

 

This report is the result of Proj. No. D2020-DEV0SN-0027.000.