While examples abound in each military service, we are particularly concerned with Navy shipbuilding. We believe there is a better way to develop new first-of-class ships to meet expectations.
Initial cost estimates were required to construct these ships, each lead ship experienced cost growth of at least 10 percent, and three lead ships exceeded their initial budgets by 80 percent or more. Further, each lead ship was delivered to the fleet at least six months late—five were more than two years late—and most lead ships had dozens of uncorrected deficiencies when the Navy accepted them.
A key step in successful shipbuilding programs is technology development—the maturation of key technologies into subsystem prototypes and demonstration of those subsystem prototypes in a realistic environment prior to the detailed design of the lead ship.
Navy must take a methodical, knowledge-based, subsystem-focused approach to guide industry to execute programs by focusing on maturing subsystems based on the mantra of “Build a Little, Test a Little, Learn a Lot.” The Aegis Combat System and SPY radar have been incrementally upgraded ever since and continue to serve as the backbone of the Navy and multiple allied surface combatant fleets.
Achieving the aims of the National Defense Strategy is a long game, so we must take the long view, and with a number of new ship classes on the horizon, now is the time to return to the methodical, knowledge-based, subsystem-focused approach that worked in the past for fielding first-of-class ships.
Defense leaders have called for developing and procuring the first Large Surface Combatant, Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle, Future Small Auxiliary, Future Large Auxiliary, and Light Amphibious Warship in the coming years. In addition, large and extra-large unmanned undersea vehicles will transition from research and development to procurement in the next decade.
Congress believes this is a critical juncture and opportunity for all of us to do better on lead ships—and with this year’s National Defense Authorization Act— are signaling their intent return to an Aegis-type development model in which critical subsystems are matured before the Navy procures the lead ship of a new class.
Department of Defense and Navy leaders should lead on defining the future force architecture and, just as important, personally sign off on realistic system- and subsystem-level plans. Concept development and wargaming too often ignore the technical difficulty of new capabilities and platforms, including ships.
Future force planning must detail requirements and notional acquisition strategies constrained by conditions-based technical development roadmaps for developing new critical subsystems and for modifying existing critical subsystems. If a subsystem is essential to the mission or mechanical or electrical performance of a platform, then we consider it critical.
New critical subsystems should be proven before building a full-scale platform. If a critical subsystem has not been demonstrated in the envisioned form, fit, and function, it needs to be prototyped on land or at sea as a subsystem and proven to meet at least minimum requirements.
Then, it needs to be prototyped with other critical subsystems with which it will interface in vessel-representative form to ensure sufficient technical and technological maturity of the system of systems. This type of process has worked in the past and is working today.
Some recent examples of successful DoD- and contractor-led critical subsystem prototypes that continue to provide significant benefits to both DoD and industry include: the land-based engineering site for key electrical and propulsion subsystems including control software, the land-based engineering site for the Aegis Weapons System at a contractor facility, and the full-scale prototype testing of the SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar at a contractor facility.
Contracting for a full-scale platform prototype should occur only after all critical subsystems have been proven and should focus on system integration. Having prototyped critical subsystems and demonstrated they are fully developed and technically sound, the Navy can focus full-scale platform prototypes on subsystem integration, rather than technology development.
As platform integration issues arise, having subsystem prototyping already completed should enable faster root-cause analyses and corrective actions. If a critical subsystem cannot meet minimum requirements, the Navy should not proceed to prototyping a full-scale platform.
Keep the focus on proving all critical subsystems first. For example, until the vessel-representative engine and generator including ancillary equipment have run continuously for 30 days on a test stand, the Navy should not contract for a large unmanned surface vehicle full-scale prototype, the minimum requirement for which is operating unattended for 30 days. Without an engine that meets the minimum specifications, the ship cannot meet the minimum requirements.
The objective of subsystem and full-scale platform prototyping is to close DoD technical knowledge gaps. Some observers believe DoD involvement in technology development slows down innovation. Rather than slowing down innovation, the DoD technical community is key to speeding up the adoption of innovative capabilities and, just as critically, sustaining these systems once fielded.
In areas where DoD expertise strains to keep up with industry advances, leaders must ensure DoD technical experts receive adequate resources to keep pace. The standard must be for DoD to maintain a cadre of technical experts as knowledgeable as any outside expert in the application of a given technology to a DoD weapon system, particularly critical subsystems. The technical support community for Navy submarines exemplifies this standard of expertise.
In creating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, Congress contained provisions that would support this alternative approach, including: requiring the results of test programs of subsystem prototypes, as well as design changes identified during the operational test periods of the first Arleigh Burke–class destroyer in the Flight III configuration, be incorporated prior to program initiation of the next new class of Navy large surface combatants.
The NDAA also established a Senior Technical Authority (STA) for each class of naval vessels. Each STA is responsible for establishing, monitoring, and approving technical standards, tools, and processes for the class of naval vessels. The STA must certify the systems engineering and subsystem prototyping plans prior to program initiation of a lead ship in a new class.
Congress is now requiring the qualification of main engines and electrical generators capable of meeting requirements prior to program initiation for medium and large unmanned surface vessels; and a certification from senior leaders on subsystem prototyping and maturity prior to the DoD contracting with industry for certain unmanned vessels.
The case is clear and compelling that successful prototyping of individual critical subsystems is essential to achieving a solid technical foundation for new platforms, particularly in shipbuilding. Rather than delaying new programs, we believe this approach will enable the delivery of capable, reliable, and sustainable platforms that meet the needs of military commanders faster than would otherwise occur.
Leaders in the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, and industry must recognize that speeding up innovative research and development, acquiring new capabilities faster, and transforming the way the U.S. military fights will require the disciplined demonstration of critical subsystems first.
The stakes are real, and we have no time to waste.
To 10 Impacts of Reliability Criteria Influence Warfigthers Time to Field System is Available to Execute Mission
1. Reliability can significantly influence a weapon system’s operating and support costs, accounting for approximately 70 percent of a weapon system’s total life-cycle cost
2. Operating and support costs are a reflection of how programs achieve operational availability for weapon systems.
3. Programs can achieve operational availability by building highly reliable weapon systems
4. Support with an extensive logistics system that can ensure spare parts and other support items are available when needed.
5. Deficiencies weapon systems—such as high failure rates and an inability to make significant improvements in reliability— limiting program performance and increased operating and support costs.
6. Manufacturer carries most of the risks that would result from developing a product with poor reliability.
7. More reliable products cost less because they do not have to dedicate as many resources to fixing systems that fail
8. Instead of addressing the design risk during development effectively, a standard cycle test was done to prove or disprove the risk but did not apply the stress necessary to cause the failure.
9. Product was released to the market based on inadequate test.
10. In the field, the components failed, and had to remove product from the market. This damaged the company’s reputation and sales.
Top 10 Design Tools Meet Development Requirements Increase Reliability Prior to Testing Identify How Long Part/Component will Function
1. Identify design flaws and enable predictions of reliability under normal use conditions
2. Use principles of statistics to plan, conduct, and analyze reliability tests in order to get the most information out of each test event
3. Use information to optimize reliability and identify a robust design well suited for a range of use environments
4. Failure modes and effects analysis Identifies potential failures and impact on system reliability to prioritize failures
5. Take actions based on how serious the consequences are, how frequently they occur, and how easily they can be detected
6. Identifies and captures information about failures, which can be used to prioritize corrective and preventative actions
7. Avoid recurrence of failures in future designs, and provide a centralized location for failure data that can be used for reliability analysis
8. Design reliability into product, perform reliability assessments, and focus reliability tests where they will be most effective
9. Use reliability blocks to represent individual items to identify critical components and how the failure of a component or subsystem can impact reliability of the overall system
10. Reliability growth curves depicts strategy to increase reliability, useful to determine appropriate test time and number of test units for reliability targets
Top 10 Policy Recommendations Emphasizing Reliability Practices for Plan/Execute Acquisition Programs
1. Leveraging reliability engineers early and often
2. Establishing realistic reliability requirements
3. Employ reliability activities to improve system’s design throughout development
4. Deferred key reliability engineering activities until later in development
5. Initially pursued unrealistic operational requirements for reliability
6. Did not effectively emphasize reliability with suppliers
7. Reliability requirements must be realistic
8. Actions based on proven technologies
9. Reflect customer usage and the operating environment
10. Cost/Schedule Constraints Negatively Influence Reliability Testing
Top 10 Plans Identify Constraints Decide on Requirements Change Criteria Return to Reliability Planning System
1. Design Strategy must obtain economies of scale in customised productions so standard components of products have become very popular in manufacturing industry
2. In mixed prototyping concept standard parts must normally be real components since they can be found easily in stocks.
3. For some fixed designs that do not need to be changed much, can use real components through conventional rapid prototype technologies.
4. Customised parts must be evaluated and revised many times, virtual prototypes are used since flexible for modification.
5. During an assembly process impossible to connect two real components using a virtual component to obtain realistic feedback-- cannot stack a real component on a virtual component.
6. Using the largest component of an assembly as a virtual part is not ideal if several other real and virtual parts are connected to it.
7. Parts where several components are to be assembled, such as the base part, would serve better if they are real.
8. Some workspace and assembly parts cannot be completely defined and simulation is so must use real components as much as possible.
9. If prototyping cost of some components is very high, try to use virtual prototypes even though designs are already fixed.
10. Users can obtain more realistic assembly parts sensory feedback based on real components as compared to virtual component
Top 10 Mission to Deliver Combat Power to Fleet with Enterprise Digital Capabilities/Infrastructure for Secure Work/Innovation to Enhance Users Experience
1. Avoid business disruption and take a proactive approach to promote solid digital enterprise design
2. Implement digital certificates used to the benefit of network users and the security of their communications
3. Promote workforce skills set continuity and keeping core network systems function
4. Find approaches to maximize resilience, combine across sources, locations to deliver agile response and recovery
5. Build block capabilities designed to accelerate growth/innovation and sustain multiple digital enterprises
6. Ensure integrity, security, quality and resilience of supply chain products/services
7. Identify systems/components most vulnerable with potential for greatest organizational impact if compromised
8. Support digital transformation bring about change, agility, speed, connectivity, real-time economy, customer expectations
9. Enable Practitioner to make decisions so enterprise can handle, analyze, and securely store all types of data
10. Develop digital engineering architecture using computer modeling, programming and imaging to create both virtual forms and physical structures