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Platform ModernizationA Cost-Effective Strategy for Evolving Mission RequirementsThe traditional way to modernize a platform for military, being solely reliant on OEMs. Platform modernizationdefense, and civilian agencies is to replace the old one follows a four-step engineering process to: 1) understandwith a new and improved version. Under the current fiscal what to change and why, 2) develop a design, 3) prototypeenvironment, approval of new platforms is so rare that the design, and 4) provide a Technical Data Package toagencies must often make do with existing platforms and the government for specifying the acquisition. With thiscoax continued service from these assets—way beyond their information, an agency can steer engineering requirements,original intended lifespans. control the acquisition process, and avoid monopoly deals. The agency can do this by executing modernizationAchieving economies across a platform lifecycle is a internally with organic resources, or by leveraging marketworthy objective, but it continues to be an elusive goal competition for better results at a lower cost.for planners. For example, maintenance of obsoleteplatform capabilities or technologies often proves to be tooexpensive or infeasible to implement because components How Reliance on Legacy Platformsmay be out of production. As a result, agencies must modify Poses Challenges for Maintenance andand maintain the capabilities of existing platforms in order New Capabilitiesto meet evolving mission requirements. These agencies The specter of perpetual large national budgettypically go back to the original equipment manufacturers deficits has throttled approval for new platforms(OEMs) to perform upgrades and modernization because across military, intelligence, and civilian agencies. Forthe government does not own the technical data rights example, within the Department of Defense, only thefor its own platforms. Historically, acquiring from a single US Army has a new platform under development. Insource supplier is a near certain path to higher costs due this fiscal climate, agencies are expected to manageto the glaring lack of competitive incentives. budgets, often with declining growth rates or direct cuts to appropriations. Given that critical servicesPlatform modernization is a new strategy that is designed must continue, agencies are now resorting to theto help US federal agencies meet the operational fallback strategy of maintaining legacy platformschallenges of today’s fiscal environment. It allows and incrementally modifying them to meet theirthem to extend the service life of existing platforms missions. As a result, many mature platforms willwhile adding new capabilities for an array of evolving continue in service for years to come. The figure belowmission requirements. The essence of this strategy is provides examples of vital military platforms servingto independently furnish agencies with the necessary overextended periods of time.technical information for modernizing platforms without Platform Year Put In Service Projected Retirement ~ In Service Years M1 Abrams 1980 2050 70 M113 1960 2017 57 HUMVEE 1984 2040 56 B-52 1955 2040 85 C-130 1957 2025 68 F-16 1974 2025 51 1
There are significant challenges to keeping legacy Technical Data Package, which effectively decouples platforms like these running 20 to 50 years past the historical process of always having to work their original intended lifespans. Despite high hopes with designated OEMs to modernize their particular that the fallback strategy will aid budgeting, platform platforms. With platform modernization, agencies lifecycle costs are even harder to control in the new will independently discover the best way to update environment. The culprit is high maintenance costs a particular platform with an engineering partner like due to obsolescence of equipment requiring service on Booz Allen Hamilton. outdated sub-systems and parts that are no longer By steering engineering requirements and owning the in production. Technical Data Package that governs manufacturing, an As for meeting evolving mission requirements, the agency can control the acquisition process, minimize absence of new replacement platforms requires risk, and avoid monopoly deals. agencies to modify the capabilities of existing platforms. Typically, agencies have OEMs perform Methodology for Platform Modernization upgrades and modernization because the government The methodology for platform modernization entails does not own the technical data rights for its four phases, which are applied according to an platforms. Not having these data rights makes it agency’s requirements for a program or project. significantly riskier for government agencies to modify or redesign aspects of the modernization 1. Deciding What to Change package that—using aviation as an example—will Modernization must work with an existing platform’s affect airworthiness or impact critical components characteristics such as size, weight, and power for flight safety. Agencies that acquire upgrades and requirements. To optimize modernization and avoid modernization from a single source supplier usually unintended consequences, the agency must first pay more, given the lack of competitive bidding for decide what to change and why. This is largely platform changes. A single source also limits the range accomplished through the conduct of trade studies of technology that may be considered for integration. and analyses to determine the most beneficial trade- offs available. Desired capabilities might include To provide the government with more flexibility and incremental improvements such as faster airspeed, control and minimize risk in meeting these challenges, communicating at higher data rates, providing more agencies are turning to use of a new strategy called detailed sensor data, or shooting a weapon with more platform modernization. accuracy. Other capabilities might be entirely new, such as providing line-of-sight communications, Platform Modernization Helps Agencies engaging satellite links, or adding armament to Meet New Operational Challenges unarmed platforms. Platform modernization is a proactive strategy that allows agencies to cost-effectively extend existing As changes like these are made over extended lifecycle platforms with new capabilities for evolving mission timeframes, it’s important for agencies to consider requirements. The essence of this strategy is to top-level system performance when deciding what independently furnish agencies with the necessary to change. The new functionality must not adversely technical information for modernizing platforms without impact existing functionality. Improving the architecture being solely reliant on OEMs. to decrease integration burdens will result in smoother modernization efforts—both for meeting the immediate Platform modernization follows a four-step systemic objective and for subsequent changes in the future. engineering process culminating in the delivery of a2
Case Study: US Air ForceProblem The US Air Force needed to modernize its missile launch range systems and enable data-driven decisions for range infrastructure.Solution Booz Allen Hamilton established a technical baseline for the Launch Test Range System’s aging infrastructure of sensors and command capabilities. We engineered an integrated architecture with requirements for 11 subsystem specifications. For the ER Telemetry Subsystem Roadmap, we performed dozens of trade studies weighing requirements against current capabilities and risks to assess future architectural options.Result Booz Allen developed project-level architecture, requirements, and CONOPS for multiple projects and acquisition efforts including separate US$100 million and US$150 million network modernization projects, and a US$40 million Command Destruct project. We are helping the Air Force achieve a more cost-effective, disciplined battle rhythm for program management of its launch ranges.Strategic Impact of a Trade Study—US Army AviationTrade studies for platform modernization can profoundly fleet age is over 30 years, not the 21 years used by the Armyaffect the government’s strategy and investment policy. For and Department of Defense for planning and budgeting. Thisexample, Booz Allen conducted a trade study for the US Army accelerated airframe and fleet aging impacts milestone decisionon factors affecting the age of its rotary wing fleet. A decade points in the aviation investment strategy. The calculationof warfare in severe wind, sand, water, altitude, and hostile for total ownership cost of a platform must consider “aging”combat environments had dramatically increased maintenance, factors for efficient lifecycle and fleet management. Longerstructural, and modification work on all rotary aircraft. The goal term, the age of the fleet is a greater risk than an aircraftwas to learn if increased operational tempo (OPTEMPO) had shortfall. Cumulative effects of increased usage and airframeprematurely aged the fleet and, if so, by how much time. fatigue have a direct impact on when the Army must invest in recapitalization and/or procurement of new aircraft to maintainMethodology and Analysis for the Trade Study. The trade study aviation capability.addressed activity and structural analysis for Utility (UH-60),Attack (AH-64), Cargo (CH-47), and Scout (OH-58) rotary wing Strategic Impact on the Armyfleets. Fleet data covered years 2002-10, during which rotary • Avoided about US$1 billion in proposed cuts to itsaircraft had flown more than 6.7 million hours. The methodology aviation budgetincluded a process of: a) secondary and primary data collection,b) definition of key independent and dependent variables, c) • Will apply this “aging” methodology to all commodities andanalysis and modeling, and d) interpretation of results. Trade- calculate the impacts of war on all Army equipmentoffs accounted for structural wear on maintenance engineercalls and cumulative OPTEMPO impacts on airframe service life. • Will apply this methodology to the Army fixed-wing fleetThe key result was to directly compare three measures of age: • Advanced key acquisition milestones and decision pointsactual age, activity fatigue age, and structural fatigue age. by 3 to 5 years for next-generation rotary aircraft, andTrade Study Findings. Results revealed that higher OPTEMPOs increased Science and Technology funding for Army aviationand structural damage had aged the rotary-wing fleet by • Initiated better data collection for ongoing aging analysisan average of 9 additional years. While airframe modelupgrades officially reset the clock to “zero-time” for calculating • Advanced understanding and use of total ownership cost formaintenance, they retain an irreversible, cumulative aging budgetingof the original structural airframe. As a result, the average 3
Exhibit 1 | Determining the Real Age of the Rotary Fleet Source: Army Aviation Service Life Analysis Phase II developed by Booz Allen Hamilton 2. Developing a Design 3D laser scanning provides millions of data points Making an adaptable, cost-efficient blueprint to for generating technical drawings, which increases modernize a platform may require additional trade accuracy and decreases the time required to develop studies. For example, will the modernized platform usable computer-aided design data for replacement re-specify old parts that might be obsolete or no longer parts. In addition to physical measurement, reverse manufactured, or can it use existing commercial off- engineering may entail evaluation of other aspects the-shelf sub-systems? Understanding these trade-offs including mechanical, electrical, software, and often entails reverse engineering, a process used interfaces. This phase may also employ physics-based by Booz Allen to generate the technical data used engineering analysis that uses science to validate the for designing new sub-systems and systems, and potential for platform designs. integrating those with the platform. Reverse engineering provides several benefits To accomplish reverse engineering, Booz Allen for platform modernization. First, it eliminates a conducts precise measurement and analysis of requirement to redesign entire systems to replace the existing relevant system components. Use of a a single “obsolete” component. The agency gets portable coordinate measurement system that employs continuous use of original systems without an increase4
in complexity or future cost. The only requirementCase Study: US Army is a small expenditure of labor for measurement and electronic data development. Second, reverseProblem The US Army needed to add protective engineering allows an agency to quickly integrate new armor to Heavy Tactical Vehicles to mitigate hardware onto existing systems with a high degree of against new threats, while also allowing for safe and expedient ingress and egress by accuracy, without having to obtain detailed technical the driver and co-driver. data from OEMs. Third, reverse engineering also supports analysis and development of existing systemsSolution The Booz Allen Engineering Services team used reverse engineering to integrate an (see Case Study: US Army), and exploitation and expedient armor package onto the M915A3 analysis of threat systems. Finally, the most significant Line Haul Tractor. The integration kit allows benefit is that the government can obtain complete the armor package to swing out of the rights to detailed technical data without the additional way of cab doors. Analysis was performed costs associated with purchasing Technical Data to ensure that the additional weight Packages and related documentation from OEMs. was evenly distributed and the vehicle performance would not be impacted. Having the technical data is a fundamental requirement The hinged armor boxes were manually for platform modernization, and reverse engineering operated using pneumatic linear actuators may be the only way to obtain these data. For with an electronic control system. example, an agency may have possessed the data inResult Supply chain drivers can now safely the past but lost it. For older platforms, it’s possible enter and leave the modernized tractor that an OEM is no longer in business, which is another cab with automated deployment and retraction of protective armor. This roadblock for obtaining technical specifications. solution used commercial off-the-shelf Reverse engineering is a vital capability for putting an (COTS) components and was successfully agency in control of modernization efforts. completed without having to rely on the OEM for technical data, which allowed for a large cost savings.Practical Uses of Reverse EngineeringReverse engineering can provide many practical uses for Analysis Modeling. A product improvement program mayacceleration of platform modernization, including: require modeling existing hardware as a baseline for analysis. An example is creating 3D solid models of an armor system inMechanical Data Generation. When data is unavailable for order to conduct survivability/vulnerability analyses, and thenmechanical components, reverse engineering produces the data modify the baseline design to correct observed deficiencies.electronically for 3D solid models, 2D drawings, and electronictechnical documentation. This is valuable when OEMs may Technical Data Generation. An agency may need to removeno longer exist for manufacturing replacement parts for software copy protection or circumvent single sources of supply.antiquated components. Reverse engineering enables development of technical data packages based on existing prototype equipment. The reverseIntegration Modeling. Reverse engineering can model existing engineered package allows the agency to own and use technicalhardware for integration of new components. A common data for obtaining cost-effective suppliers of equipment.example is measurement of physical dimensions for developingcomponent attachment interfaces or pathways for cable routing. Exploit Foreign Material. Reverse engineering is used to exploit analysis of a captured enemy vehicle or weapon system. 5
3. Prototyping a Design Developing a prototype is mandatory for platform Case Study: US Defense Intelligence Agency modernization. The prototype provides a model that Problem The US Defense Intelligence Agency needed allows an agency to test and prove that the new a highly sensitive, special purpose radio design works before proceeding with production. The frequency (RF) measurement and signal prototype is used for matching form and fit, and to intelligence (MASINT) sensor system. gauge achievement of desired new functionality for the Solution Booz Allen designed, developed, integrated, modernized platform. It can apply to many deliverables and operationally tested a prototype such as a physical part or hardware system, an system that reduces space, weight, and electrical design, or a software application. A prototype power, nearly by a factor of 10, and enables may focus on form or design, aim to provide a user automatic, near real-time processing. The experience, or demonstrate working functionality custom RF front-end was designed and built ranging from partial- to full-featured. The ultimate goal for detecting very low power, low phase- noise signals over wide RF bandwidths. of a prototype is to derive working specifications for The full system was constructed in fulfilling platform modernization. our laboratory facilities. It extensively uses COTS components in a modular For example, a project conducted by Booz Allen for architecture. Custom software supports the Defense Intelligence Agency produced a working real-world operations. prototype of a radio frequency (RF) measurement and signal intelligence (MASINT) system (see Case Result All project activities were within time and budget. Lab testing was completed within Study: US Defense Intelligency Agency). In addition to 4 months, integration onto the aircraft inventing the new RF sensor, we created a modular within 5 months, and demonstration of a COTS-focused architecture to simplify assembly and fully mission-capable system in theater-like prevent a single component failure from impacting environments within 7 months of the start other components. Prototype testing entailed multiple of contract. phases that allowed our system engineers to fine tune custom hardware and software for effective performance at relevant operational altitudes in a from the printer. A soluble support structure material theater-like environment. The prototype allowed the makes post-processing parts much easier. Software client to know exactly what the solution would provide enables advanced editing of the final build envelope after manufacturing and fielding. and full control of support structure generation for For physical prototypes, Booz Allen often uses a manufacturing the physical part. process employing additive manufacturing with 4. Providing the Agency with a Technical a 3D printer, which provides the ability to build Data Package models quickly to validate concepts. High resolution With results from the first three steps of platform printing (also called fused deposition modeling) modernization, we are able to create a Technical enables variable layer thicknesses as thin as .007” Data Package (TDP) for the agency. The TDP is the for highly detailed models. Parts are made of rigid foundational documentation to support acquisition acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, which of the modernized platform. It contains the technical in many cases allows pieces to be usable directly data for engineering and production lifecycle such as6
performance requirements; engineering drawings for modernization approach using independent processform, fit, and function; specifications for parts and for acquiring the necessary technical informationprocesses; quality assurance; and packaging. to modernize a platform without an overreliance on OEMs. Using an independent partner like Booz AllenBooz Allen follows standard data item description to conduct the essential trade studies and analysis,guidelines for a TDP that were established by the develop a design, prototype the design, and provideDefense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement a Technical Data Package will provide governmentand Procedures, Guidance, and Information.1 agencies more flexibility in the acquisition of neededThe information in a TDP is critical for exercising platform improvements, thereby saving significant timecontrol of the platform modernization acquisition and money while preparing our nation’s vital equipmentlifecycle. Data in the TDP allow the agency to to meet the demands of an uncertain world.determine whether it should perform modernizationinternally with organic assets, acquire the modernizedplatform directly from an OEM, or conduct acompetitive procurement. Note that the governmentalways retains unlimited ownership rights for alltechnical data related to form, fit, and functionand may use that data for purposes of competitiveprocurement.2However, for most current platforms, federal agenciesdo not own the TDP, which is retained by the OEM.In nearly all cases, the agency must pay the OEMto obtain the technical data. This leads to a circularprocess that limits flexibility by the agency andconcentrates risk in one provider. With platformmodernization engineered by Booz Allen, the endproduct is a TDP that provides the agency with thetechnical data it needs to cost-effectively drive theacquisition process and minimize risk.Capturing the Benefits ofPlatform ModernizationExtending the service life and capabilities of existingplatforms is the de facto strategy for fulfilling missionrequirements in today’s budget-conscious environment.In that the traditional execution of this strategyrequired close reliance on OEMs, the ability of anagency to achieve the necessary flexibility, efficiency,and fiscal economy is a matter of record. Alternatively,an agency can elect to implement a platform1 efense Procurement and Acquisition Policy; see www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfarspgi/ D current/index.html2 ee DFARS 252.227-7013 at www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfars/pdf/ S r20120906/252227.pdf 7
About the Authors Lee Wilbur is a Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Vice Robert Smith is a Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Vice President where he brings more than 25 years of President who specializes in the delivery of acquisition executive management, program management, and sustainment support services to US government and systems engineering experience with missile clients. He currently leads the firm’s support to the defense, space, aircraft, and ground combat systems. Army Materiel Command (AMC), Aviation and Missile His background includes extensive experience in Command (AMCOM), Program Executive Office complex system development and supporting system for Aviation, and Aviation and Missile Research, engineering technologies. Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) organizations, all based in Huntsville, Alabama. Contact Information: Lee Wilbur Robert Smith Senior Vice President Senior Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 8
About Booz AllenBooz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of resources, and deliver enduring results. By combiningstrategy and technology consulting for nearly a a consultant’s problem-solving orientation with deepcentury. Today, Booz Allen is a leading provider of technical knowledge and strong execution, Booz Allenmanagement and technology consulting services helps clients achieve success in their most criticalto the US government in defense, intelligence, and missions—as evidenced by the firm’s many clientcivil markets, and to major corporations, institutions, relationships that span decades. Booz Allen helpsand not-for-profit organizations. In the commercial shape thinking and prepare for future developmentssector, the firm focuses on leveraging its existing in areas of national importance, includingexpertise for clients in the financial services, cybersecurity, homeland security, healthcare,healthcare, and energy markets, and to international and information technology.clients in the Middle East. Booz Allen offers clients Booz Allen is headquartered in McLean, Virginia,deep functional knowledge spanning strategy and employs approximately 25,000 people, and hadorganization, engineering and operations, technology, revenue of $5.86 billion for the 12 months endedand analytics—which it combines with specialized March 31, 2012. Fortune has named Booz Allen oneexpertise in clients’ mission and domain areas to of its “100 Best Companies to Work For” for eighthelp solve their toughest problems. consecutive years. Working Mother has ranked theThe firm’s management consulting heritage is firm among its “100 Best Companies for Workingthe basis for its unique collaborative culture and Mothers” annually since 1999. More information isoperating model, enabling Booz Allen to anticipate available at www.boozallen.com. (NYSE: BAH)needs and opportunities, rapidly deploy talent andTo learn more about the firm and to download digital versions of this article and other Booz Allen Hamiltonpublications, visit www.boozallen.com. 9