Products used in defence are built for usage over decades. However commercial products have reduced the average life of an electronics product from 10s of years to a couple of years. This is because of quick changing technology in the semi-conductor industry.
Most dated equipments used by the military either use custom built systems or have used part of the hardware that are no more supported by the manufacturers. The ability to maintain and increase the life of products used in the defence industry has become critical.
Obsolescence has the following challenges for the armed forces:
- End-of-Life (EOL) notices from OEM has a negative impact on program sustainability
- Last Time Buy (LTB) notices trigger expensive and risky overstocking
- Component sourcing and reverse engineering risk critical downtime and drain resources
- Redesign is time consuming and expensive
The reasons for obsolescence could be:
- Change in technology
- Change in user requirement
- Non-availability of operational and maintenance expertise
- Discontinuity notice by OEM
- Missing component/parts
MELSS works with customers to understand challenges and needs. A detailed evaluation is done based on which the form–fit-functional requirements are worked out and available options are considered for suitable solution to the given obsolescence.
MELSS has worked with various Indian Defence establishments to provide obsolescence management support. Many products that have not been in service due to obsolescence have been repaired, revamped and put into service. Commercially Off-the Shelf (COTS) product induction into defence with customisation to meet MIL grades and specs is a major advantage is avoiding obsolescence and dependence on single OEM.
MELSS has successfully implemented projects where obsolete system has been updated and upgraded to the current technology. The typical scope of work is listed below:
- Training simulators – Repair and upgrade – Control system, software, instruments, connectivity etc.
- Operational simulators – Repair and upgrade – Control system, hydraulics, electrical, instrumentation etc.
- Control systems – Replacement of relay control logic with embedded systems for on-board firing related system
- Recorders – Replacement of old generation recorder to semiconductor based digital recorder (DVR) system
- Russian electronics: Replacement of Russian system for tanks by redesigning a standard system with COTS components
- Software – Re-hosting of programs on current hardware platform with industry standard software coding