Logistics & Supply Management


Maintainability is the ease with which a product can be maintained in order to isolate defects or their cause, correct defects or their cause, meet new requirements, make future maintenance easier, or cope with a changing environment. The design emphasis on maintainability is to reduce the maintenance burden and Supply Chain by reducing the time, personnel, tools, test equipment, training, facilities, and cost to maintain the system. Maintainability and Reliability work together in developing design solutions for a system. One of the exit criteria of the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) phase is demonstrating reliability, availability, maintainability, and sustainment features are included in the design of a system. [1,2]

Maintainability engineering includes the activities, methods, and practices used to design minimal system maintenance requirements (designing out unnecessary and inefficient processes) and associated costs for preventive and corrective maintenance as well as servicing or calibration activities. [1]

Template: Contract Maintainability Requirement Template

Guide: DoD Reliability Availability and Maintainability (RAM) Guide

In DoD acquisitions, the primary objective of developing maintainability and reliability requirements for a system is to reduce the time it takes for a properly trained maintainer to detect and isolate failures and affect a repair. Maintainability requirements are included in the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) and Capabilities Development Document (CDD) and flowed down to the system specification. Intrinsic factors contributing to maintainability are: [1]

  • Modularity: Packaging of components such that they can be repaired via remove and replace action vs. on-board repair. Care should be taken not to “over modularize” and trade-offs to evaluate replacement, transportation, and repair costs should be accomplished to determine the most cost-effective approach.
  • Interoperability: The compatibility of components with standard interface protocols to facilitate the rapid repair and enhancement/upgrade through black box technology using common interfaces. Physical interfaces should be designed so that mating between components can only happen correctly.
  • Physical accessibility: The designed-in structural assurance that components requiring more frequent monitoring, checkout, and maintenance can be easily accessed. This is especially important in Low Observable platforms. Maintenance points should be directly visible and accessible to maintainers, including access for corrosion inspection and mitigation.
  • Designs that require minimum preventative maintenance including corrosion prevention and mitigation. Emphasis should be on balancing the maintenance requirement over the life cycle with minimal user workload.
  • Embedded training and testing, with a preference for approved DoD Automatic Test Systems (ATS) Families when it is determined to be the optimal solution from a Total Cost and Materiel Availability perspective.
  • Human Systems Integration (HSI) to optimize total system performance and minimize life-cycle costs. This includes all HSI domains (Manpower, Personnel, Training, Human Factors Engineering, Environment, Safety, Occupational Health, Survivability, and Habitability) to design systems and incorporate technologies that require minimal manpower, provide effective training, can be operated and maintained by users, are suitable (habitable and safe with minimal environmental and occupational health hazards), and survivable (for both the crew and the equipment).

Main Guides


  • Maintainability should be a designed-in capability and not an add on option because good maintenance procedures cannot overcome poor system and equipment maintainability design. [1]

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/9/2021

Leave a Reply