TTCP: Technology Demonstrators Definitions
Whilst an increase in Technology Demonstration activities with TTCP Group activities is a laudable objective, in order for this action to be executed, clear definitions of the scope and intent of Technology Demonstration within the context of TTCP is required. Certainly, experience with some of the Groups has revealed that there is no common, accepted definition of what constitutes a Technology Demonstrator (TD). In some cases, Groups have requested clarification of the scope and definition of a TD. Each TTCP participating nation has its own scoping definition.
The Australian approach is to use the terminology "Capability and Technology Demonstrator - CTD", with the objective of providing opportunities to demonstrate whether advanced technology can provide significant enhancement in priority capability areas. One objective is to conduct limited exploration of higher risk approaches to determine if a means exists by which advanced technology may enhance the military capability. However, a CTD would only be undertaken when (successful) incorporation is likely. Recognition of an industrial technology capability is an issue as is the issue of government and industry risk sharing.
Succinctly, the CTD may be defined as:
"A project that demonstrates how technology may be operationally exploited to enhance Defence capability in a previously unexplained manner."
The focus is on a technology-driven capability. Technical risk assessment is a key area for CTDs to explore.
The Canadian R&D Branch has a Technology Demonstration Programme targeted at demonstrating and/or validating technological solutions to new or emerging forces operational and/or systems concepts. Proof-of concept investigations based upon new or emerging technologies are conducted, in addition to narrower risk reduction initiatives for equipment acquisitions under advanced development.
Support from the Canadian Forces operational community and industrial participation are key factors in project selection. With respect to scope of technical maturity, the Canadian programme spans the US ACTD and ATD programmes, covering technologies primarily in the 6.2 and 6.3 definitions, although occasionally it can go beyond 6.3 with increased stakeholder participation.
US Definition - ACTD
The US has selected the title "Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations - ACTDs" in this context and the programme aims to achieve capability demonstrations and evaluation. The primary objective is the development and employment of technology and innovative operational concepts by the military user. Some constraints and characteristics are:
- Technology can come from any source.
- The objective is to assess the utility of near-term deployable solutions which respond to an endorsed military need.
- An interim capability must result directly from the ACTD to facilitate evaluation and refinement of solutions.
- The ACTD is structured to support rapid transition into formal acquisition. It is understood that the US also has a separate Advanced Technology Demonstrator Programme.
US Definition - ATD
The Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) programme of the three Services aims to accelerate the maturation of advanced technologies to upgrade existing systems and enable the development of next and future generation systems. In US funding and programming parlance, this equates to part of the 6.3 programme. In essence the key objective is to bring together the Service requirements staff and industry to explore the technical feasibility, affordability and potential of technologies to support current and emerging warfighting concepts.
Risk assessment and risk reduction are included as implicit objectives, through ATDs permitting the exploration of technical options and the elimination of unattainable technologies in the early stages of a programme. An Integrated Product/Process Development (IPPD) team is mandatory for all ATDs.
Characteristics for and requirements of ATDs include:
- Potential for new or enhanced military operational capability not covered by another programme.
- A programme with a duration of no more than three to four years, endorsed by the materiel developer. Costs may be typically between $2M and $100M.
- Agreement by the User community that the stated minimum performance is militarily significant.
- Participation by the Director of Combat Development, Battle Lab. etc. in test and demonstration.
- A reasonable chance of the transition of the technology after completion of the ATD.