Making commercial products acceptable for the military domain

August 28, 2020 // By Pete Dorey, TÜV SÜD
Commercial product developments offer advantage to military systems
Economic constraints have driven national defence programmes to the realisation that they can no longer afford to invest in monolithic, bespoke systems. Instead they must focus on value for money through the use of COTS components and final products that will deliver interoperability between different battlefield systems, as well as “more from less” through Defence Line of Development (DLoD) optimisation.

The commercial marketplace, driven by consumer demand for increasingly smart gadgets and lifestyle applications, has created an environment where funding for innovation within this sector vastly outstrips budgets available to all but the most well-funded military research programmes. There are therefore obvious technological and cost benefits from integrating COTS components and final products into military systems.

Operationally, there are many commercial product developments which can create a significant advantage to military systems, be that by utilising the latest wireless technologies, increased high speed data transfer, better power consumption, smaller more portable devices, and even compatibility with other systems, the possible benefits are clear.

This pace of technological development creates substantial opportunities for the smart acquisition of capability, when military and civilian requirements are found to be compatible. This approach has great potential to reduce the time needed for the transfer of leading edge technologies into useful military products which provide substantial benefits to the end-user.

In the commercial world, there are some 25 European directives that require CE marking, with some specifying exclusions for military equipment and some not. For example, the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive (2014/30/EU) has no exclusions for military equipment.

There are technological and cost benefits from integrating COTS components and products into military systems.

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