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This report advocates an approach to reducing the reliability and maintainability (R&M) burden associated with advanced weapon systems such as the Apache helicopter and the M1A1 tank. Maturation development seeks improvements in detecting, reporting, isolating, and removing component faults; it also identifies and implements changes to component design that improve R&M. Maturation development is a dedicated period of intense operation, data collection, and analysis immediately upon fielding a weapon system. The purpose is to detect and isolate design deficiencies by intensively operating the components in a fixed configuration within the normal operating environment. Another key element is a well-developed management information system linked to an integrated R&M database to facilitate efficient and effective resolution of the R&M problems associated with high-tech components. Maturation development can be applied both to new systems and to major modifications of fielded systems. The potential benefits of maturation development are the achievement of full designed system performance and a reduction in lifecycle support costs.

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