Consideration of a reliability problem in which a complex mechanism (e.g., a missile) is built up from a number of different types of components, where the reliability of each of the components has been estimated by means of separate tests on each of the components. This paper gives a method for combining such data to determine approximate confidence limits for the reliability of the complete mechanism. More precisely, a method of determining approximate confidence limits for the reliability of "series," "parallel," and "series-parallel" systems is given, based on observed failures of the individual components. It is assumed that the failures are independent, and that failures of a given component follow a binomial distribution with unknown parameter, the component reliability. The large-sample properties of the likelihood-ratio test are then used to construct the appropriate confidence limits for the system reliability.
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