IEEE Trans. on Components and Packaging Technologies, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 734-738, December 2003

Optimum Technology Insertion into Systems Based on the Assessment of Viability

P. Sandborn and P. Singh
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

T. Herald and J. Houston
Lockheed Martin


Product sustainment means keeping an existing system operational and maintaining the ability to continue to manufacture and field versions of the system that satisfy the original requirements. Sustainment also includes manufacturing and fielding revised versions of the system that satisfy evolving requirements, which often requires the replacement of technologies used to construct the original system with newer technologies. Technology insertion involves determining which technologies to replace during a design refresh, i.e., deciding the design refresh content, and deciding when that design refresh should take place. Technology replacement decisions are driven by a broad range of issues including performance, reliability, environmental impact, cost, and logistics, and when, or if other design refreshes will take place.

Traditional "value" metrics go part of the way toward providing a coupled view of performance, reliability and cost, but are generally ignorant of how product sustainment may be impacted. A metric that measures both the value of the technology refreshment and insertion, and its ability to support both the system's current and future affordability and capability needs including hardware, software, information and intellectual property is required.

This paper discusses a concept called viability. Viability is a measure of the producibility, supportability, and evolvability of a system and can serve as a metric for assessing technology insertion opportunities.

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