Built-in test equipment for integrated weapon systems achieving utility and user acceptance
Previsich, Nicholas P.
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The objective of this work was to determine whether a direct statistical or stochastic relationship between the following systemic characteristics of dedicated built-in test equipment (BITE) could be derived and quantified: annual maintenance costs, user acceptance, operational availability, and "complexity" (defined as total number of sensor interfaces per system). Three systems of ascending degrees of complexity from the USAF F-15A/BC/D, O/A-10A, and C-5A/B/C were analyzed, and based upon raw data acquired from field operating units and fleet-wide maintenance data collection a model was constructed to derive constraints on a postulated "best-fit" interdependence between these four characteristics. The chief finding was that BITE reliability and minimal intrinsic system maintenance burden were the prime determinants of user acceptance and therefore system success. A corollary finding was that the number of data interfaces (or sensors) was mathematically irrelevant to user acceptance, suggesting that conditionbased monitoring schemas are feasible provided that BITE system-level reliability is maximized with a minimal maintenance burden placed on the user community. Sensor redundancy to achieve this goal was the suggested method. This model may be used as an objective criterion for evaluating future BITE system procurement proposals, a critical concern for the emerging predictive/condition-based maintenance paradigms currently favored by the Department of Defense, NASA, and other Federal and commercial agencies.