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Lifetime procurement - Look deep for dependability

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It is difficult to avoid using commercial off-the-shelf hardware in military systems. You need to have plans in place to make sure the components will suit long lifetimes and high-reliability environments. The military and aerospace communities now regard the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment as commonplace. The shift to use ready-made hardware and software encompasses not just individual components but, sometimes, entire sub-assemblies. The impact of this change is already evident, particularly in terms of obsolescence: projects with development phases that last up to 20 years and in-service lifetimes of 40 years are being built using components with lifecycles that are, in some cases, measured in months. The scale of the problem is illustrated by recent estimates suggesting that electronic components are now going obsolete at a rate of more than 13,000 per month. The effects in terms of reliability, although important, are less clear, simply because insufficient in-service data currently exists to assess real failure rates and lifetimes. Against this background, military and aerospace engineers need to ensure the reliability safety integrity and lifetime of their designs. In particular, whole-life component management planning is essential to ensure adequate supplies of fit-for-purpose components and subassemblies throughout the lifecycle, from concept, assessment, development, manufacture and in-service life through to disposal

Published in:

Electronics Systems and Software  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 6 )