Test & Evaluation

Nuclear Hardness and Survivability Testing

Nuclear Hardness and Survivability (NH&S) is a quantitative description of the physical attributes and capability of a system or component that will allow it to survive in a given nuclear environment and continue to accomplish its mission. DoD policy requires the incorporation of NH&S features in the design, acquisition, and operation of major and nonmajor systems that must perform critical missions in nuclear conflicts. Nuclear hardness levels must be quantified and validated.

The Technology Development Strategy (TDS) should discuss the activities planned to address NH&S and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) mission-critical system’s survivability requirements and assess its survivability during the Technology Development (TD) Phase. NH&S is required to be addressed at each milestone in accordance with DoD Instruction 3150.09 “The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Survivability” 17 Aug 2009. [2]

The T&E techniques used to assess nuclear hardness and survivability include nuclear testing, physical testing in a simulated environment, modeling, simulation, and analysis. Although nuclear tests provide a high degree of fidelity and valid results for survivability evaluation, they are not practical for most systems due to cost, long lead times, and international treaty constraints. [1]

Underground testing is available only on a prioritized basis for critical equipment and components, and is subject to a frequently changing test schedule. Physical testing provides an opportunity to observe personnel and equipment in a simulated nuclear environment. Modeling, simulation, and analysis are particularly useful in the early stages of development to provide early projections before system hardware is available. These methods are also used to furnish assessments in an area that, because of safety or testing limitations, cannot be directly observed through nuclear or physical testing. [1]

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Updated: 6/5/2018

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