Analysis of Rollover-Plus. An Acquisition Strategy Undefined
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The Defense Department, under former Secretary of Defense Les Aspin began transitioning to a new strategy for weapons system acquisition. One pillar of the new approach, termed Rollover-Plus, places heavy emphasis on the development and testing of high-fidelity prototypes-at times in lieu of production. Under Roller-Plus it is envisioned that a small lot of prototypes would be produced and flown. In theory, this will allow operators the chance to conduct operational testing and would provide developers insights into complex manufacturing producibility issues. After testing, the prototype, and associated technology gains, would not likely be rolled-over or shelved for incorporation into the next variant of the prototype. It is envisioned that perhaps only every third generation of a particular system might actually be fielded. This approach appears an affordable alternative to the frequent production runs of the past. Closer examination however will show that the overall philosophy of Roller-Plus is flawed, offering more benefits than it can deliver. Furthermore, Rollover-Plus, if implemented in its current form, will drive length development of expensive, overly-sophisticated prototypes, which will be impossible to put on the shelf-for political, economic, and military reasons. The solution is to implement a scaled-down version of rollover, based on the more traditional uses of prototypes as research and development tools, and NOT require them to be designed to withstand the rigors of operational testing.
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