system is the key element enabling these parties to interact in a highly integrated and collaborative manner.

These concepts are explored further in the following sections, beginning first with a more detailed discussion of the use of SBA.


The life-cycle phases of a system may be specified progressively as follows:

  • Requirements definition,

  • Concept exploration—different concepts to meet the requirements are explored at a high level, and one option is chosen,

  • Engineering design—the chosen high-level design is converted into a detailed design suitable for production,

  • Manufacture,

  • Test and evaluation—both developmental and operational, and

  • Operation and maintenance—includes training necessary for operation.

System upgrade proceeds through these same phases, too, although the first five might not be as extensive compared to the case for a new system.

SBA relates to these phases in two ways. First, the concerns across the life cycle can be explored early in the life cycle. For example,

  • The high-level virtual prototypes developed during concept exploration can be examined by the operators and maintainers to see how well the proposed concepts will meet their needs, with suggestions for improvement being fed back into the concept exploration. This assessment can be accomplished by visual examination of physical configurations depicted by virtual prototypes and by exercising the virtual prototypes in combat simulations.

  • The engineering designers can comment on aspects of the high-level design that would be particularly expensive to realize, and discussion initiated with the requirements developers to see if less costly tradeoffs can be made.

  • The detailed engineering designs can be examined by the manufacturers for production feasibility and suggested changes in design to simplify production processes.

Second, because of the integration afforded by SBA, design and other products developed during a life-cycle phase can be passed on to the next phase, thereby ensuring greater continuity and allowing cost reduction through reuse. For example:

  • Engineering design can begin as a natural extension of the high-level design.

  • The detailed engineering design can automatically be used to calibrate manufacturing processes.

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