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TABLE 20-1 Proposed Manufacturing Descriptors to Be Added to Technology Readiness Levels


Manufacturing Maturity Expectation


Analyses identify process needs for breadboard system, including development targets for new subprocesses.


Key subprocesses demonstrated in lab. Cost as an independent variable targets established.


Trade studies and lab experiments define a manufacturing concept and sigma levels needed to meet CAIV targets.


Critical manufacturing processes prototyped; targets for improved yield established.


Prototype system built on soft tooling; initial sigma levels established.


Critical subprocesses demonstrate acceptable yield for pilot line.


Pilot line operating at desired initial sigma level.

quantities required to meet fielding goals and timeliness. This approach has also required that the research and development and product engineering communities merge.


To validate the identification of the most critical areas of investment, the DASA(R&T)/Army Chief Scientist, A. Michael Andrews II, commissioned a blue-ribbon Independent Assessment Panel through the National Center for Advanced Technologies. The panel identified and evaluated the manufacturing technologies necessary for affordable manufacturing and fielding of the Army’s Future Combat Systems and other components to the Objective Force. Herm M. Reininga, Vice President of Operations, Rockwell Collins, Inc., chaired the panel. The panel made the following suggestions:

  • Incorporate manufacturing and affordability issues in advanced concept technology demonstrations (ACTDs), advanced technology demonstrations (ATDs), and other technology development programs;

  • Exploit Integrated Product and Process Development in Army and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) technology development programs; and

  • Use manufacturing readiness level descriptors, similar to the currently employed technology readiness levels.

The panel also identified the following issues specific to the FCS program:

  • Advanced technologies likely to be critical to the FCS program,

  • Capability gaps in the Army’s MANTECH Program with regard to those critical technologies,

  • An estimate of the funding needed to close the MANTECH capability gaps in a time frame that was likely to meet the current schedule for FCS development (structured within specific technologies and technology areas), and

  • Recognition of the strong relationship between overall FCS Program risk and manufacturing technology resources needed for the FCS Program.

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