Military Product Testing – Verifying Reliability

Military product testing is performed at various stages of a products development and service initiation.  The earliest phase of this testing is known as Developmental Test and Evaluation.  This phase is conducted by the product developer and includes a detailed regime of climatic, dynamic, EMI/EMC, and electrical compatibility test procedures.

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has consistently had issues with the quality of testing provided by its vendors.  Defense systems that fail to meet their required level of reliability are less capable of fulfilling their intended missions and endanger the lives of personnel operating and depending on them.  Additionally these reliability issues can delay project implementation, involve costly redesign, and result in higher costs of operation.

As stated in Reliability Growth – Enhancing Defense System Reliability, issues exist with the quality of both operational and developmental test and evaluation currently being performed.  By adequately engaging in the preparation, execution, and analysis of developmental test and evaluation, designers of defense materiel can achieve higher levels of reliability, avoid redesign issues, and learn important lessons for future product design specifications.

military product testing

Elements of a Viable Product Test Program

Knowledge of Applicable Standards

For defense product developers a wide range of defense test standards are applicable.  These military standards include:

  • MIL-STD-810
  • MIL-STD-461
  • MIL-STD-1275
  • MIL-STD-1399-300
  • MIL-STD-704
  • MIL-STD-202
  • MIL-DTL-901

The test program manager should have a good working knowledge of these standards and understand their interrelation in terms of product development.  This knowledge should then be applied to the development of a test program that addresses perceived component vulnerabilities and prioritizes design verification testing of those concerns.  Ultimately, a test program must be created that addresses all requirements and returns important data for analysis.

Life Cycle Analysis

For environmental testing (climatic and dynamic) MIL-STD-810 “Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests” requires a thorough examination of the stresses likely to be encountered by the product during its service life, including logistical transit, tactical transit, maintenance, and operation.  This is accomplished by conducting a Life Cycle Environmental Profile (LCEP).  The LCEP along with customer requirements and any measured data provide data for the Environmental Issues/Criteria List.

From these documents a tailored list or Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) of required test methods with appropriate levels of stress can be created that will establish a basis for required testing.

Test Plan Preparation

Test plans must be developed that inform all personnel involved in testing, including the testing laboratory, of exactly how the test is to be performed, and what data is to be captured.  As most testing should be performed with the test item in an operational mode representative of expected service, the plan must include information as how these modes should be executed, monitored and recorded.  Additionally procedures for verifying the test items functionality before, during and post testing should be included.

Management of Complex Programs

Military product testing for military equipment involves a large number of mil-std tests.  Often these tests will be run concurrently.  Some tests can be performed in a few hours, others may require months for completion.  Staying abreast of test program activities, addressing failures, troubleshooting and providing root failure analysis are but a few of the responsibilities of a test program manager.

The manager must also coordinate all activities with product development engineers, laboratories, and shipping services.  Additionally interim and final reporting of the test program must be created.

CVG Strategy Product Test Consultants

CVG Strategy Test Management experts have extensive experience in military product testing as well as, commercial, aerospace, defense, and automotive product test and evaluation.  They have worked with numerous standards that apply to environmental and EMI/EMC testing.  They are adept at coordinating with product development teams to provide value added test programs that provide confidence in a products capabilities and reliability.

We can tailor a statement of work to include any number of tasks that might be required.  This can include:

  • Test Standards Technical Support for proposals and customer inquiries
  • Defining Test Requirements
  • Design of Simulation and Monitoring Equipment
  • Development of Required Test Fixtures
  • Development of Required Documentation
  • Test Scheduling
  • Onsite support
  • Laboratory Test Witnessing
  • Company representative and advocate at Test Lab
  • Subject Matter Expertise

Jamie Hamilton

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