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Reliability Improvement facts

November 19, 2012

In the defense industry, the ILS manager’s objective is to launch new systems that are reliable and supportable from day one.  In my experience in the industry, the challenge I observed is that all world class systems demonstrated poor reliability when fielded and full operational capability could not be observed.

The predicted reliability (MTBF, or failure rate) is usually done and presented at CDR (Critical Design Review) assuming that all future failures are random failures, but unfortunately more than 95% of the real  failures  are due to marginal design! These for some reason did not appear in various lab tests, but pop up after the system fielded.

I exercised RI (Reliability Improvement) tasks including FRACAS (Failure Reporting, Analysis and Corrective Action System) on various systems (JHMCS, IAF F16 mission computer, C&C for Missile Patrol Ships and more..) and reached improved reliability for new systems at least  20 times within 2 to 3 years.  After +30 years in Defense Electronics Industry, I wish to share my experience. (Better reliability performance could be demonstrated down the road via future technology upgrades).

The key for world class systems is the ability to reach the system’s actual reliability and capability as soon as possible, and to make it happen there is a need for both user cooperation and the supplier’s full commitment.

The user will cooperate if the user loves the new system due to improved operational capability when the new system launches, and better support relative to systems in use. The user is not one of the parties on contract! If the user will feel uncomfortable with the new fielded system it will be almost impossible for the supplier to improve the system reliability and capabilities and it may push the new fielded system out of service I know of a few projects that failed because their main objectives were to create a second source or option to reduce cost to the customer without addressing user direct benefit. The supplier objective is always to address this when planning to field a new system at the very beginning, while establishing requirements for the  system.

The  primary objective of the new system is to improve operational capability, but logistic footprint must also be addressed by the supplier.

The supplier Integrated Logistics Support needs to drive the user to love the new fielded system on day one, by implementing the following objectives:

  1. Excellent training for operators and maintainers. (the goal is to build system that require as little  training as possible)
  2. Excellent documentation for operators and maintainers. ( the goal is to build systems that require “light” documentation)
  3. Minimal logistics footprint relative to systems already in use.
  4. Excellent R&R (repair and return) process with full visibility to the users and the customer (include FRACAS).

These design objectives should be addressed as early as possible while the new system requirements are being developed.

Eitan Yakoobinsky


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  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. Jim permalink

    You are spot on – good comments!

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