Reliability, maintainability, quality, supportability and interoperability are inherent product and system design attributes that are as critical to mission success and customer satisfaction as functional performance. For over 35 years, the Reliability Information Analysis Center (formerly named the Reliability Analysis Center, or RAC) has served as the U.S. Department of Defense Center of Excellence for the identification, collection, analysis and dissemination of reliability data for components, up through weapons systems.
Mission and Scope: The mission of the Reliability Information Analysis Center (RIAC) is to serve as the DoD Center of Excellence, and provide technical support to the military, industry and academia, in the areas of reliability, maintainability, quality, supportability and interoperability (RMQSI). The technical expertise and wealth of experience of the RIAC team allows us to support our customers in the identification and implementation of cost-effective solutions for their qualitative and quantitative needs and challenges. The scope of the RIAC mission covers the areas outlined below.
History: On June 21, 2005, the DoD-funded, DTIC-sponsored RIAC (formerly the RAC) contract was awarded to a Wyle Laboratories-led team that includes Quanterion Solutions Incorporated, the Center for Risk and Reliability at the University of Maryland, the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University, and the State University of New York Institute of Technology. The RIAC operation builds on the 35-plus years of experience of the “old” RAC in RMQS and enhances its capabilities. Despite being under a new contractor, the RIAC includes many of the same personnel who have been instrumental in RAC’s success over the years. The “new” RIAC adds Interoperability to its charter (the “I” in RMQSI), and provides a greater emphasis on overall system RMQSI by virtue of its concentration on the combined elements of hardware, software and human factors at the system level.
Publications and Training: The RIAC continues to be one of DTIC’s most successful IACs in its development and dissemination of relevant products (more than 80) and training courses (more than 20) that directly support the needs of the RMQSI community. The “Journal of the Reliability Information Analysis Center” is published quarterly and addresses a variety of topics ranging from general-interest overviews of traditional RMQSI topics for managers and new practitioners in the field, to detailed discussions of state-of-the-art advances in technology and processes for skilled and highly technical engineers and practitioners.
The RIAC recently released its 217Plus™ System Reliability Assessment software tool (and its companion document, the “Handbook of 217Plus™ Reliability Prediction Models”) as a more current and accurate replacement for the increasingly outdated MIL-HDBK-217F, Notice 2 reliability prediction techniques. The 217Plus™ methodology can help reduce overall life cycle cost by avoiding potential over design of systems and equipment based on pessimistic failure rates obtained from the military handbook. The RIAC is working with the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute (AVSI) Reliability Assessment committee in its evaluation of reliability assessment efforts and has provided the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA-51) committee with the 217Plus™ methodology to support its reliability prediction assessment efforts.
As its Center of Excellence in RMQSI, the DoD funds the RIAC to collect, analyze and disseminate scientific technical information (STI), including quantitative data, related to its charter. As a result, the RIAC has developed one of the largest failure rate and failure mode/mechanism databases in the world. The RIAC Nonelectronic Parts Reliability Data (NPRD) databook has, for years, been used as a de facto standard for component/equipment failure rates that are not modeled by MIL-HDBK-217, “Reliability Prediction of Electronic Equipment”. The RIAC “Failure Mode/Mechanism Distribution” databook contains the data needed to support the development of modal failure rates for Failure Modes and Effects and Fault Tree Analyses.
The RIAC’s flagship products include its Toolkit Series, evolving from the “RADC Reliability Engineer’s Toolkit” developed by the US Air Force Rome Air Development Center (RADC) in 1988 into its current incarnation as the RIAC’s “System Reliability Toolkit”, published in 2006. The 850 pages of this latest Toolkit cover all critical aspects of hardware, software and human reliability required to improve and enhance overall system reliability.
The RIAC has been presenting training courses in reliability and related disciplines for more than 35 years, using both open-course and on-site training formats. At the same time, the RIAC performs engineering and consulting services for hundreds of government and industry organizations annually. The RIAC’s training programs give students a firm understanding of the tools and techniques needed to develop and maintain reliable systems and equipment. RIAC instructors have years of diverse practical reliability problem solving experience. Future expansion of the training program is intended to cover synchronous and asynchronous web-based training.
Technical Support and Success Stories: The RIAC has an extensive professional staff and database of subject matter experts (SMEs) that can be applied to any area within the RMQSI scope of the RIAC charter, as outlined in the sidebars of this article. RIAC scientists and engineers have helped solve problems for hundreds of DoD and industrial customers over its 35-year existence, as highlighted below in two typical examples.
In 1998, the Taiwan Air Force (TAF) asked the U.S. Navy (USN) to assist in developing several advanced Weapons System Operator (WSO) combat scenarios to incorporate into the 15F8 trainer for use by TAF students. In December 2005, the USN contacted the Reliability Information Analysis Center (RIAC) and asked them to program five scenarios into the 15F8 trainers. The trainer was used to assess the interoperability of the WSO and pilots with the new NP2000 propeller system. RIAC instructors provided TAF pilots with the most current training techniques available for the NP2000. The successful completion of this training signaled the continued resolve of both Taiwan and the U.S., in conjunction with the RIAC instructor team, to make safety a top priority.
In a second study, reliability analysis and review by the RIAC at each of the three levels of Naval Aviation Maintenance resulted in three recommendations that could improve on-aircraft performance and reduce Fleet Maintenance costs for the F/A-18 A/D Attitude Reference Indicator. The items noted were (1) requirements to bring the Depot-Level Maintenance Manual in line with best available commercial practices, (2) provide training to Depot Artisans in accordance with these revised procedures and, arguably most important, (3) that Depot Artisans perform all maintenance requirements called out in the current Maintenance Manual, including rotor balancing. The problem had manifested itself as a significant reason-for-removal at the Organizational Level. Based on expected conformance to these recommendations, and the projected workload, the savings predicted for the Indicator was $182,287 in direct labor cost avoidance over the next seven years. The RIAC team has more than 15 years’ experience in performing similar types of analyses on a wide range of aircraft/systems/subsystems/components, including C-130, P-3, E-6, E-2, EA-6B, F-15, and B-52 aircraft; engines; landing gear; structural components; refueling systems; mechanical systems; and avionics systems. Analyses completed on these systems has resulted in total cost avoidance that exceeds $42 million.
RIAC Support Services
Up to four hours of free technical or bibliographic support
Failure Rate and Failure Mode/Mechanism Data Analysis
For extended inquiries, support is provided on a cost-recovery basis
Litearture Search and Summary
Technology Review and Analysis
Data Collection, Compilation and Analysis
Technical Area Task:
Long-term funded projects focused on providing comprehensive technical solutions
Depth of Coverage
- Components and Materials
- Assemblies and Equipments
- Systems (Simple and Complex)
Breadth of Coverage
- Human Factors
Life Cycle Coverage
- Concept Definition through Life Extension and Disposal
Examples of Services Offered:
- Acquisition Support
- Requirements Development and Implementation
- Risk Assessment and Management
- Source Selection, Evaluation and Control
- Program Planning, Development, Implementation, Management and Assessment
- Critical Item Identification, Assessment, Management and Control
- Design and Process Support
- Development/Assesment of Design and Process Guidelines
- Modeling, Simulation, Estimation and Prediction
- Design/Process Robustness (FMECA, FTA, Derating, Worst Case Analysis)
- Parts Control and Qualification
- Obsolescence and Diminishing Source Planning, Implementation and Control
- Six Sigma Design and Process Monitoring
- Materials and Component Aging
- Testing and Screening Support
- Accelerated Testing and Life Modeling
- Experimental Design
- Data Collection and Analysis
- Planning, Development, Implementation, Control & Evaluation
- Logistic Support
- Condition-Based Monitoring and Prognostics
- Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)
- Spare Parts Analysis
- Lifetime Extension Analysis
- Supply Chain Management
For additional information, products and services, please contact RIAC:
Reliability Information Analysis Center
6000 Flanagan Rd. Suite 3
Utica, NY 13502-1348
Phone: 866.363.RIAC (7422) – Toll free