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Proceedings Paper

Performance specifications: the nearly impossible versus the merely difficult
Author(s): Darrel G. Hopper
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Paper Abstract

Affordability is the objective of acquisition reform. The institution of 'performance' specifications in lieu of 'design' specifications is a key strategy. Design of a cockpit display, for example, is left to the prime contractor based on a performance requirement stated by the government. The prime delegates to the integrator. The integrator develops the display and bill of materials provided by vendors. There is no feedback loop from the vendors to the ultimate customer, the government. As a result of this situation a communication gap exists: the government, primes, and integrators have concluded that they should pay commodity prices for custom displays. One step in the closing of this gap is the establishment of cross- cutting common reference performance specifications for aerospace and defense displays. The performance specification for cockpit displays is nearly impossible to achieve -- the last ounce of technology and more is required. Commodity markets, such as consumer notebook computers, are based on but a fraction of currently available technology -- companies 'bank' technology and roll it out across several 18-month product generations. Ruggedized consumer displays can be used in aerospace and defense applications other than the cockpit, such as mission crew stations. The performance specification for non-cockpit aerospace and defense applications is merely difficult. Acquisition reform has been defined by the Secretary of Defense to mean DoD should leverage the commercial market to the maximal extent possible. For the achievement of this end, an entirely different approach is wanted for cockpit displays versus large platform mission displays. That is, the nearly impossible requires a different design and business approach from the merely difficult.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 2000
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4022, Cockpit Displays VII: Displays for Defense Applications, (28 August 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.397742
Show Author Affiliations
Darrel G. Hopper, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4022:
Cockpit Displays VII: Displays for Defense Applications
Darrel G. Hopper, Editor(s)

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