A Strategy for Reforming Avionics Acquisition and Support

by Jean R. Gebman, Hyman L. Shulman, C. L. Batten

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During combat, high-performance avionics equipment must deliver the full extent of its designed capabilities. Failure to meet this standard is most often caused by a hard-to-find performance-degrading fault. Persistence of such faults results from weaknesses in the processes for acquisition and support of avionics. This report offers a strategy of six proposals to correct these weaknesses: (1) accelerate repair-and-maintenance-related avionics technologies, (2) improve the ability to test avionics equipment, (3) provide more complete feedback on equipment performance, (4) adopt a maintainability indicator, (5) institute maturational development, and (6) reorganize the Air Force's avionics engineering resources. Maturational development calls for government funding and direction of a special development effort aimed exclusively at repair and maintenance of the most complex avionics subsystems. Results from exploratory applications of the concept to the fire control radars on the F-15 C/D and the F-16 A/B indicate that the Air Force most needs to improve the efficient removal of performance-degrading faults.

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