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AOF Requirements and Acceptance

Policy, information and guidance on the Requirements and Acceptance aspects of UK MOD Defence Acquisition

version 1.0.3 - October 2010


Requirements and Acceptance Glossary

Acceptance. A process, under the control of the Sponsor as the Acceptance Authority, confirming that the user's needs for military capability have been met by the systems supplied.

Analysis. The deriving of the effectiveness, cost, time, and achievability attributes of a solution.

Asset Transfer . Asset transfer between organisation asset registers to align with the transfer of beneficial use.

Capability. An operational outcome or effect that users of equipment need to achieve.

Capability Area Plan (CAP). The plan is prepared by the Sponsor for the appropriate capability area. It takes account of affordability and whole life costs and records:

  • The analysis of the military need.
  • How the military need is currently met.
  • The resulting capability gap.
  • How it is proposed to be closed (or not) by appropriate research, revised processes and new [equipment] systems acquisition.

Capability Working Group (CWG). A non-executive advisory stakeholder group responsible to a Sponsor for:

  • Advice on the development of strategy in their area.
  • The consideration of options in the annual planning process.
  • The consideration of specific equipment options to meet capability gaps.

Change. (Trade-off) An alteration to the definition of a solution. A Change should initially be a proposal, incorporated (or rejected) only after impact analysis.

Confidence. (Trade-off) A Confidence, expressed as a %, defines the probability of achieving a particular outcome, or better. It is derived from quantitative modelling and represents a limit. The MOD Approvals process places specific importance on 10%, 50% and 90% Confidence limits for Time and Cost. See the Risk Management Topic.

Customer. The five principal participants within the Unified Customer are:

  • The Equipment Capability Customer (ECC) – the Sponsor for the Unified Customer (Decider)
  • The User
  • Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) (Provider)
  • Defence Science and Technology (DST)
  • The Centre Representative.

Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA). An agreement between the Customer and Supplier setting out the working relationship between them and recording other key project information such as outputs required against given inputs, and performance measures and targets. Such agreements will exist between:

  • The Equipment Capability Customer and each IPT or Customer 2, for the procurement stages of a project.
  • The IPT and Customer 2, for the in-service phase of the project.

Defence Lines of Development (DLoD). The constituent elements of a Military Capability (MC). The DLoDs as defined in AOF are:

  • Training
  • Equipment and Technology
  • Personnel
  • Information
  • Concepts and Doctrine
  • Organisation
  • Infrastructure
  • Logistics
  • Interoperability.

Note - In the event of any variations of this model across the three Services, ensure that all key stakeholders within any one acquisition project agree on a common definition to be used across and throughout the project. Take special care when planning acceptance activity that crosses Service boundaries, to seek out and accommodate any mismatches.

Entry Criteria. (Trade-off) Conditions that must be met before optimisation can start.

Equipment Capability. The capability derived from equipment.

Equipment Capability (Central) Customer (ECC) . The principal customer and Acceptance Authority prior to a system’s In-Service Date (ISD) and for upgrades to in-service equipment that affect capability.

Equipment Release. The formal certification that an item of equipment meets the criteria for Safety and Airworthiness. This applies to airborne equipment having its own project sponsored separately from individual aircraft types. The Equipment Release for a Guided Weapons (GW) project is a more complex special case and is known as a GW Release. Normally supported by a Certificate of Design for Component / Equipment / System.

Evaluation. (Trade-off) The action of determining the overall worth of the solution and how that worth might be increased, on balance, across the properties of effectiveness, cost, time and achievability.

Exit Criteria. (Trade-off) Conditions that must be met to permit optimisation to stop.

FE@Rs. Force Elements at Readiness.

Guided Weapons (GW) Release. The formal certification that an [air-launched] GW meets the criteria for Safety and Airworthiness. This:

  • Applies over the weapon lifecycle from manufacture to target / disposal.
  • Is applicable to [airborne] weapons which are specifically guided in flight during the whole or part of their trajectory.
  • Is a special case of the Equipment Release.
  • Is subordinate to the appropriate Military Aircraft (MA) Release, whilst the weapon is being carried on an aircraft.
  • Is normally supported by a Certificate of Design for GW.

Impact Analysis. The process of discovering what effect a proposed change to a solution will have on the solution’s effectiveness, cost, time, and achievability properties, and other characteristics.

Incorporation. Implementing a Change to make it permanent.

Incremental Acceptance. Synonymous with Incremental Acquisition - Acceptance conducted as a pre-planned series of discrete step-increases in capability. ( Do not use the term ' progressive acceptance')

Initial Operating Capability (IOC). The state achieved when Military Capability is available in its minimum usefully deployable form. The date of achievement is the ISD.

In-Service Date (ISD). In-Service Date is declared when the military capability provided by the system is assessed as available for operational use in its minimum usefully deployable form (IOC).

Integrated Test, Evaluation and Acceptance Plan (ITEAP). The ITEA Plan is a structured narrative record and explanation of how acceptance of a capability will be realised. It is an integral part of the project TLMP, and typically caps a set of detailed test plans.

Integration. As a Systems Engineering Term - The progressive assembly and verification of delivered configurations of components / subsystems.

Internal Agreements – Agreements that detail the routes for provision, responsibilities and advice to the DEC on elements of Military Capability other than equipment. Excludes Customer Supplier Agreements.

Introduction to Service. The point of equipment transfer (including formal asset transfer) from the DEC to the Front Line Command(s) for the integration of all elements which will lead to full Military Capability.

Iterate. Repeat an optimisation cycle, with the output of one cycle informing the input to the next cycle.

Key User Requirements (KURs). Capability requirements or constraints that are assessed as being:

  • key to the achievement of the mission, or
  • of particular interest to management.

KURs characterise the whole User Requirements Document and are used to measure project performance.

Military Aircraft (MA) Release. The MA Release is the statement on behalf of CDM to the Project Sponsor that an acceptable Safety Case has been prepared for the aircraft and its equipment. This forms the basis for the Release to Service (RTS) of the aircraft weapon system.

The MA Release also describes parameters within which the Safety Case has been established, including:

  • The operating envelope.
  • Conditions and limitations.
  • Design standards.
  • Standard of operational software.
  • Safety related engineering maintenance requirements.
  • Procedures.

These parameters describe the conditions in which the aircraft or equipment is authorised to be flown in Service regulated flying with the support of CDM. Also included are the approved Operational Emergency Clearances (OEC) and advice on their application.

Military Capability. The combination of equipment and other lines of development, integrated and made available in quantities and at standards prescribed in User Requirements.

Objectives. (Trade-off) Measurable reasons for applying the ST-OP process to a specific solution at a particular point in the acquisition lifecycle.

Optimise. (Trade-off) Establish, via trade-off, an equitable convergence of need and solution, and balance across the effectiveness / cost / time / achievability properties of a solution. Optimisation requires objectives, judgement, compromise and consensus.

Option. (Trade-off) Depending on context, either - one possible solution, in competition with other mutually exclusive solutions, or - a possible variation within a solution, to be judged on its merits relative to the basic solution and other options, i.e. a ‘Change’ “Alternative solutions” “Competing designs”. ‘APM Body of Knowledge’ 5th Edition ISO 15288

Procurement [Acquisition] Strategy. Sets out how a defence requirement is to be met taking whole life considerations into account. It includes an assessment of all of the procurement and support options, of the risks involved, and it proposes a specific acquisition route. The preparation of the strategy is the responsibility of the IPT Leader; for Category C projects and above it has to be approved by the Equipment Approvals Committee.

Product. The required output of the acquisition, for example a support contract, a new airfield or a piece of equipment.

Programme Responsibility Matrix (PRM). The Programme Responsibility Matrix provides a complete record of the resources available to a particular project and who is responsible for them. The matrix tracks and manages who contributes to the delivery of the IPT’s output, both in terms of work and sources of funding. The PRM provides definitions of which costs should be tracked by an IPT and which should not, so that whole life costings can be constructed on a consistent basis across MOD.

Proviso. A formal record and definition of a shortfall against a requirement, which the AA requires to be resolved, but not necessarily before System Acceptance or ISD is declared.

Release To Service (RTS). The release of a system as safe and suitable for In-Service use. The formal use of this term presently applies principally to air systems, although the term is preferred by the MOD Contracts Organisation instead of 'Acceptance', 'Service Acceptance' and similar terms.

The air systems RTS is promulgated by the IPT leader, and under one cover consists of:

  • The current Controller Aircraft (CA) Release(s) (when accepted by DEC staff from the standpoint of operational capability content).
  • A complete and current set of Service Deviations, duly authorised by the appropriate Service agency and issued by the DEC.

The limitations of RTS are:

  • The definitive limits for the aircraft in Service-controlled flying.
  • To allow for peacetime training, exercise, contingency, threat, and war conditions.
  • To be reflected in aircrew manuals, flight reference cards, and operating data manuals.
  • To be used in the formulation of contingency and war plans, and flying and operating orders.

Sensitivity Analysis. The process of discovering at what rate of variation in the solution’s characteristics (effectiveness, cost, time, achievability properties, etc.) as a result of incremental changes in one particular solution characteristic.

Solution. All that is proposed to completely satisfy a need defined in a URD in combination with associated Approval Limits. A single solution might comprise a managed service, a system, or combinations thereof. More than one solution may be proposed and optimised as a precursor to down-selection. A solution embraces all DLoD, and includes both the operational solution and its support component.

Stakeholder. As a Systems Engineering Term - A party which has an interest in the system throughout its life; includes operators, users, suppliers and enabling system stakeholders.

System. As a Systems Engineering Term - A human-made entity with a distinguishing and defined purpose that draws on integrated, constituent parts, each of which does not individually possess the required overall characteristics or purpose.

System Acceptance. A formal stage of Acceptance, in which the DEC, as Acceptance Authority, assesses:

  • (Through verification criteria) whether the system acquired by the IPT satisfies the SRD.
  • (Through validation criteria) the capability of the URD, including the KURs.

System Acquisition. As a Systems Engineering Term - The set of processes that define user requirements and result in the supply of a system in accordance with those user requirements.

System Architecture Design. "… synthesises a solution that satisfies system requirements, expressed as a set of separate problems of manageable, conceptual and, ultimately, realizable proportions." 'Synthesis' includes 'evaluating the system characteristics' to enable 'trade-off decisions' to lead to an 'optimised design' that is 'realisable'. ISO 15288

Through Life Management Plan (TLMP)

Trade-off. As a Systems Engineering Term: A decision-making activity that selects from alternative solutions on the basis of overall benefit to the MOD.

Transition. The Transition Process installs the verified system in its operational locations according to an agreed schedule, together with the associated enabling systems: e.g. operating system, support system, operator training system, user training system, as defined in agreements; to provide the system services specified by the stakeholder needs.

User Requirements Document (URD). An all-embracing, structural expression of the user needs for a bounded operational capability. It is generated from the single statement of need identified through the [equipment] capability strategy process. The URD is owned by the Sponsor and consists of a complete set of individual user requirements supported by other documents.

Uncertainty. A condition where the outcome can only be estimated. NOTE: the term Uncertainties is also specifically used to describe uncertain occurrences that are considered insignificant in terms of impact on objectives. See the Risk Management Topic.

Value Engineering. Concerned with optimising the conceptual, technical and operational aspects of a project’s deliverables. Value engineering utilises a series of proven techniques during the implementation stage of a project. ‘APM Body of Knowledge’ 5th Edition

Value for Money. The relationship between capability and (predicted) cost.

Validation. The Validation process is conducted to provide objective evidence that the services (capability), provided by the system when in use, comply with the needs of the stakeholders as defined in the URD, and contained in the agreement to acquire the system. Where variances are identified, these are recorded and guide corrective actions. Since validation is a comparative assessment against needs, it also results in confirmation that the stakeholders’, and in particular the users’, needs were correctly identified and requested; again variances lead to corrective actions.

Verification As a Systems Engineering Term - The processes which provide assurance that an integrated system satisfies its (SRD) requirements.

Through assessment of the system product, verification demonstrates that its behaviour and characteristics comply with its specified design requirements. Verification provides the information required to effect the remedial actions that correct failings in the realised system or the processes that act on it.

The Verification Process (part of the Integrated Test, Evaluation and Acceptance Plan (ITEA Plan)) informs design actions of the practical constraints and limitations of verification facilities (resources identified in the ITEA Plan). Temporary or accepted shortcomings against the requirement, identified during verification, can be recorded as provisos.

Change History

Change History

1 July 2010
Minor amendment to reflect organisational change.