During FSD, a variety of tests are performed to assess progress in meeting design requirements. The results of each test are presented individually and an assessment is made concerning the achievement of the objectives of the particular test under review. Normally, the format used to present these results at the project management level does not provide an indication of progress being made toward achieving overall reliability program requirements. These results presented only indicate the success or failure in passing a particular test.
To provide reliability trend analysis for management visibility, it is essential that all test data be analyzed and displayed in a consistent manner. Therefore, a key function to be specified by contract is a reporting format which will drive the collection of life and reliability data during all subsequent testing, including DT&E/OT&E testing. The inclusion of reliability development (TAAF) tests and other life measuring tests in the project is essential to project risk reduction. Critical subcontractor equipment should be included and test results should be reported to project management.
All test data must be collected in the specified format and analyzed to determine reliability growth. This is difficult is some cases due to widely varying environments, but trend data will be valuable at transition, particularly when compared to prior programs. As better techniques of data analysis are developed, steady reliability growth (or a lack of it) can be assessed.
High confidence in the transition readiness of the system will be aided by an adequate data collection system to measure performance and current reliability levels. The contractor's Failure Reporting and Corrective Action System (FRACAS) is important, but a field data collection system designed for measurement of reliability as well as performance is also necessary. Consideration of this need during the planning stages will ensure that an adequate system is ready during field evaluation tests. Continuous measurement of reliability growth will add to confidence in fielding a system with low transition risk.
Improved management visibility will be provided when all test results are reported using a TAAF-type format. The plotted results can be used to assess reliability design maturity and readiness for transition from development to production. An example format is show in Figure 1.