The Best Defense is a Good Offense

With systems life cycles ranging from 20 to 50 years, component obsolescence – or Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) – has been a fact of life for military equipment and avionics manufacturers since the first electronic device made its way onto a military/aerospace bill of materials (BOM). In recent years, however, the obsolescence issue has reached a fevered pitch as the number of suppliers offering long-term support for high reliability components has dwindled, while at the same time the disconnect between the life cycles of typical commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and the life expectancy of most standard military/aerospace systems using these components has grown exponentially. These realities combined with the recent spate of end-of-life (EOL) notices resulting from the wide-spread RoHS conversion has put pressure on military/aerospace OEMs to rethink their reactive approach to obsolescence management. Aided by invaluable market intelligence and broad resources of authorized component distribution partners, military/aerospace OEMs have adopted a more proactive BOM management practices that mitigate the negative impact of an EOL event on sustainment-dominated long field life (LFL) systems.