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Demonstrating through-life and NEC requirements for defence systems

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conference contribution
posted on 2009-11-11, 12:21 authored by Michael Henshaw, Esmond N. Urwin
There are two major transformations currently occurring that significantly impact acquisition and management of military systems. Network Enabled Capability (NEC) demands careful consideration of interoperability for delivered systems; new systems must be introduced such that they are interoperable with current systems and legacy systems must be managed (upgraded, modified etc.) such that interoperability is maintained and, preferably, enhanced. Eventually, NEC considerations should become ‘business as usual’, but for the time being special consideration is needed. The second transformation is the introduction of the concept of Through Life Capability Management (TLCM). Although new systems have always been planned with consideration of their maintenance etc., TLCM has a wider scope. It requires consideration not only of the individual systems’ life cycles, but of the management of the super system in which new systems will operate. The whole life costs, risks, and development must be considered by systems designers and owners. These transformations are linked; interoperability is a key requirement of TLCM. Through a concept mapping of TLCM, Yue & Henshaw (1) have shown that TLCM implies a need for new approaches (new thinking) in defence systems design and acquisition. Also TLCM requires the defence supply chain (industry) to have a changed engagement in the delivery and management of systems. This, in turn, requires changes to the industry-customer relationship, such that new approaches to collaboration are a vital ingredient necessary for adherence to TLCM principles. The NECTISE (Network Enabled Capability Through Innovative Systems Engineering: www.nectise.com) programme was a large academic-industry research programme (part sponsored by industry) to investigate the implications for systems engineering arising from NEC and TLCM considerations. The programme included ten UK universities, and industry technologists and systems engineers from land, sea, air, and C4I domains. NECTISE considered systems processes and approaches from all parts of the capability management process (planning, design, change, and realisation in military operations). A number of new tools and processes were developed and an important part of the programme was to demonstrate these in context and together. This demonstration was achieved through development of a scenario that considered the full systems acquisition and management process. By linking a set of vignettes with different timeframes it was possible to track an exemplar system through the planning to realisation and use stages. The scenario development drew heavily on the TTCP GUIDEx approach to defence experimentation; this enabled effective multi-disciplinary collaboration and integration of many different research threads. This paper will describe the scenario planning activity and outcome and illustrate the manner in which linked research outputs were integrated into a systems engineering demonstration. The importance of systems architecting, both to the demonstration and (more importantly) as a key underpinning skill for TLCM and NEC will be emphasised. The approach taken in this demonstration of research has implications for the approaches that should be taken for defence procurement decision making in a TLCM and NEC characterised acquisition environment. These are described and the implications of TLCM for decision making is also highlighted.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


HENSHAW, M.J.D. and URWIN, E.N., 2009. Demonstrating through-life and NEC requirements for defence systems. NATO Symposium on Decision Support Methodologies for Acquisition of Military Equipment 2009 (SAS-080), RTO-MP-SAS-80-11-HENSHAW, pp.11-1 - 11-10.


The NATO Research & Technology Organisation (RTO)


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This report was presented at the NATO Symposium on Decision Support Methodologies for Acquisition of Military Equipment 2009 (SAS-080): http://www.rta.nato.int/Detail.asp?ID=3490


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