AP6. Appendix 6
Levels And Their Definitions
AP6.1. TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVELS
The following matrix lists the various technology readiness
levels and descriptions from a systems approach for both HARDWARE and
SOFTWARE. DoD Components may provide additional clarifications for Software.
Supplemental definitions follow the table.
Technology Readiness Level
1. Basic principles observed and reported.
Lowest level of technology readiness. Scientific research
begins to be translated into applied research and development. Examples
might include paper studies of a technology's basic
2. Technology concept and/or application
Invention begins. Once basic principles are observed,
practical applications can be invented.Applications are speculative and
there may be no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumptions.
Examples are limited to analytic studies.
3. Analytical and experimental critical function and/or
characteristic proof of concept.
Active research and development is initiated. This
includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically
validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology.
Examples include components that are not yet integrated or
4. Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory
Basic technological components are integrated to establish
that they will work together. This is relatively "low fidelity" compared
to the eventual system. Examples include integration of "ad hoc"
hardware in the laboratory.
5. Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant
Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly.
The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably
realistic supporting elements so it can be tested in a simulated
environment. Examples include "high fidelity" laboratory integration of
6. System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a
Representative model or prototype system, which is well
beyond that of TRL 5, is tested in a relevant environment. Represents a
major step up in a technology.s demonstrated readiness. Examples include
testing a prototype in a high-fidelity laboratory environment or in
simulated operational environment.
7. System prototype demonstration in an operational
Prototype near, or at, planned operational system.
Represents a major step up from TRL 6 requiring demonstration of an
actual system prototype in an operational environment such as an
aircraft, vehicle, or space. Examples include testing the prototype in a
test bed aircraft.
8. Actual system completed and qualified through test and
Technology has been proven to work in its final form and
under expected conditions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the
end of true system development. Examples include developmental test and
evaluation of the system in its intended weapon system to determine if
it meets design specifications.
9. Actual system proven through successful mission
Actual application of the technology in its final form and
under mission conditions, such as those encountered in operational test
and evaluation. Examples include using the system under operational
BREADBOARD: Integrated components that provide a representation
of a system/subsystem and which can be used to determine concept feasibility
and to develop technical data. Typically configured for laboratory use to
demonstrate the technical principles of immediate interest. May resemble final
system/subsystem in function only.
"HIGH FIDELITY": Addresses form, fit and function. High-fidelity
laboratory environment would involve testing with equipment that can simulate
and validate all system specifications within a laboratory setting.
"LOW FIDELITY": A representative of the component or system that
has limited ability to provide anything but first order information about the
end product. Low-fidelity assessments are used to provide trend analysis.
MODEL: A functional form of a system, generally reduced in
scale, near or at operational specification. Models will be sufficiently
hardened to allow demonstration of the technical and operational capabilities
required of the final system.
OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT: Environment that addresses all of the
operational requirements and specifications required of the final system to
PROTOTYPE: A physical or virtual model used to evaluate the
technical or manufacturing feasibility or military utility of a particular
technology or process, concept, end item or system.
RELEVANT ENVIRONMENT: Testing environment that simulates the key
aspects of the operational environment.
SIMULATED OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL: Either 1) a real
environment that can simulate all of the operational requirements and
specifications required of the final system, or 2) a simulated environment
that allows for testing of a virtual prototype; used in either case to
determine whether a developmental system meets the operational requirements
and specifications of the final system.