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Since all weapons and ammunitions operate as one system, the reliability of one affects the reliability of the entire system. Deficiencies in new ammunition design and development can severely reduce a weapon's reliability by sho rtening weapon part life or decreasing the Mean Rounds Between Stoppages (MRBS). The reliability of a system is directly related to the life cycle cost of a system. A highly reliable system requires less maintenance and less spare parts. Sustainment cost would be reduced with less need for maintenance action and less spare parts. Since historically, sustainment cost constitutes more than 50% of the life cycle cost of any system, changes in the sustainment cost affect the life cycle cost. The amount of increase in the overall life cycle cost can help determine whether the cost is beneficial to pursue further failure analysis and corrective action implementation. Aside from cost, other factors affect the decision to perform further fixes on a system to increase reliability. A highly reliable system also increases soldier moral and soldier safety, increases the mission success rate and possibly shortens the mission completion time. A new ammunition that causes shortened barrel and bolt life, decreased reliability and increased sustainment cost of its host weapon system may be acceptable depending on other benefits this new ammunition may provide. A thorough reliability and life cycle cost analysis can help determine the advantages and disadvantages of a new ammunition from a statistical perspective.
Date of Conference: 24-27 Jan. 2011