Tweaking COTS Products To Become MOTS Products

Jun 07

A Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) product employed in a weapon system for economic or acquisition cycle time reasons, may not meet some of the more demanding requirements of the traditional military Developmental Item. Military Off The Shelf (MOTS) products are COTS products that meet the rigors of a Development Item. There are opportunities in which COTS products can become MOTS products as discussed below by Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, Commander of the Marine Corps System Command (PEO for MRAP) during a NDIA conference.

“Acceleration is the most significant casualty-producing mechanism in our combat vehicles when hitting IEDs. Vehicles caught in a bomb blast experience two acceleration events: one is in an upward direction after the blast goes off. Its duration is between 40 to 50 milliseconds. The second event, when the vehicle returns to the ground and stops abruptly, is analogous to an automobile accident and last roughly 200 milliseconds.

That first 40-millisecond event is causing the majority of the casualties. People say automotive airbags can’t do that because they operate in that second event, that 200-millisecond event. Does it, or is that the way we’ve done that? In our litigious society, have we dumbed-down our airbags, have we slowed their speed of deployment to prevent the vehicle occupant from having his nose broken or glasses broken? Could we tune these up to get closer to that 40-millisecond event, recognizing that we would be accepting of minor injury to prevent much more serious injuries.”

The question is how many COTS products could be tweaked to become MOTS products….and can our enemies figure that out before we can…and as a result cause our warfighters harm?

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