Beyond Integration Readiness Level (IRL): A Multidimensional Framework to Facilitate the Integration of System of Systems Open Access

Integration Readiness Level (IRL) can be an effective systems engineering tool to facilitate integration of System of Systems (SoS). Further research in systems integration, analysis of major SoS integration data, and analysis of expert survey inputs to SoS integration can enhance the current IRL principles for systems integration use. The enhanced IRL assessment can help address Department of Defense’s (DoD) uncontrollable cost growth of space systems as well as deliver systems in short timelines in support of DoD’s goal to expedite the deployment of capabilities. IRL was developed to complement Technology Readiness Level (TRL), but DoD never implemented IRL. This research explains how IRL can be a separate tool to assess integration of systems as opposed to just integration of technologies. To enhance IRL evaluation, data of past DoD space systems’ major integration issues were collected, aligned with integration variables, and then grouped into attributes. The resulting attributes and their refined definitions are the basis to calculate an enhanced IRL through a systems integration assessment framework. The IRL assessment identifies integration areas of emphasis that need to be addressed throughout the system development effort before the system becomes operational.

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