Sustaining Engineering spans those technical tasks (engineering and logistics investigations and analyses) to ensure continued operation and maintenance of a system with managed (i.e., known) risk. This includes: [1,2]

  • Collection and triage of all service use and maintenance data
  • Analysis of safety hazards, failure causes and effects, reliability and maintainability trends, and operational usage profiles changes
  • Root cause analysis of in-service problems (including operational hazards, deficiency reports, parts obsolescence, corrosion effects, and reliability degradation)
  • The development of required design changes to resolve operational issues
  • Other activities necessary to ensure cost-effective support to achieve peacetime and wartime readiness and performance requirements over a system’s life-cycle

Technical surveillance of critical safety items, approved sources for these items, and the oversight of the design configuration baselines (basic design engineering responsibility for the overall configuration including design packages, maintenance procedures, and usage profiles) for the fielded system to ensure continued certification compliance are also part of the sustaining engineering effort. Periodic technical review of the in-service system performance against baseline requirements, analysis of trends, and development of management options and resource requirements for resolution of operational issues should be part of the sustaining effort. [1]

Sustaining engineering consists of a combination of Systems Engineering and product support life-cycle management strategies to achieve the desired sustainment metric outcomes for the program. These metrics include the DoD required Key Performance Parameter (KPP) of Availability, the Key System Attributes (KSAs) of Reliability and Total Ownership Cost (TOC), the recommended metric, Mean Down Time, plus other subordinate program metrics. The focus is on understanding the cost and logistics infrastructure and footprint associated with meeting the Warfighter requirements and the process to track, control and/or reduce metric results over the life cycle of the weapon system. [1]

Historically, Sustaining Engineering activities were the primary responsibility of engineering and product development, with Sustaining Engineering activities conducted during Operations & Support being planned and implemented often under separate contract line items and separate management. The current view of integrated product support requires that the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) include and implement an integrated strategy, inclusive of all the Product Support Elements and Program functional areas, that is reviewed and reported on throughout the acquisition life cycle. [1]

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/19/2017

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