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What are EMRLs?

Engineering Manufacturing Readiness Levels
(EMRL)


BACKGROUND


As the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) acquisition process has more closely aligned with the DoD 5000.02 acquisition framework, increased emphasis must be placed on assessing the maturity of the sub-components, components and elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) as they progress through the acquisition cycle from material solution to production and deployment. MDA recognizes that successful products require the capture of design and manufacturing knowledge early in product development. EMRLs provide the framework, with specific criteria and metrics, to capture the design knowledge, manufacturing knowledge and other key product development knowledge necessary for successful product development and transition to production and deployment.


In 2003 MDA Director established EMRLs as a management tool for assessing the maturity of BMDS components. Since that time EMRLs have provided a concise and effective capability for assessing MDA component and Element maturity and readiness to transition from one acquisition phase to the next during development and transition to production. In 2009 the MDA Director approved enhancements to EMRLs designated as EMRL and the publication of a Directive and Instruction detailing EMRL and its application within updated MDA acquisition process.


EMRL DEFINITION


EMRLs are a means of concisely and effectively assessing and communicating the degree to which a product is producible, reliable and affordable. EMRLs measure product or program maturity and progress during design, development, and production phases.

  • EMRLs capture the knowledge required to successfully transition from material solution analysis and technology development to engineering manufacturing development and into production with minimal risk.
  • EMRLs consist of six levels (0-5) and twenty criteria and metrics including technology, engineering, manufacturing, quality, reliability, test, logistics, safety, contracts, funding and cost.
  • Each EMRL is matched to an established product development milestone or gate and provides a concise, easy to use, measure of product maturity measured against the maturity required for the desired milestone.


EMRL SUMMARY DESCRIPTIONS


The following paragraphs provide a summary description of each EMRL including the type of activities /capabilities characterizing each EMRL. The detailed criteria and metrics for each EMRL can be found in the MDA EMRL Instruction.
The twenty criteria and corresponding metrics for each EMRL encompass key aspects of product or program development and management and include technology, design, engineering, manufacturing, quality, reliability, test, logistics, safety, contracts and funding. Each of the criteria have sub-factors which are intended as guidance, representative of the type of activities or metrics that should be accomplished at the EMRL being assessed. Sub-factors can be tailored in the sense that if other equivalent metrics are desired, these can be utilized in addition to the sub-factors provided since the sub-factors are not independently assessed and scored.
Two of the EMRL criteria are Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL). These two functional metrics are included since TRLs and MRLs are often independently assessed and those assessments may be utilized as part of the EMRL assessment. However, independent TRL and MRL assessments can be resource intensive so each of these EMRL criteria have sub-factors that provide a streamlined method for determining the TRL and MRL as part of an EMRL assessment without the need for a more in-depth functional review.


EMRL 0


EMRL 0 criteria are utilized during the “Material Solution Analysis” phase to assess progress toward milestone A or readiness to transition to the “Technology Development” phase (Technology Development Decision). Exit metrics include: base-lining design requirements; minimum set of Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) established and approved; Technology Development Strategy (TDS) or equivalent complete; Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) complete; Product or System Requirements Review (SRR) complete; and product cost strategy complete.


EMRL 1


EMRL 1 criteria are utilized during the “Technology Development” phase to assess progress toward milestone B or readiness to transition to the “Engineering and Manufacturing Development” phase (Product Development Decision). Exit metrics include: Engineering design requirements defined and at least 50% validated; 90% of product KPPs verified; Preliminary Design Review (PDR) complete; Developmental Test & Evaluation (DT&E) and Initial Operational T&E (IOT&E) plans initiated; Acquisition and Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) plans initiated; and product cost goals established.


EMRL 2


EMRL 2 criteria are utilized during the “Engineering and Manufacturing Development” phase to assess progress toward completing the product design (CDR) and readiness to begin product prototype build and demonstration. Exit metrics include: all product design and engineering requirements verified and 90% validated; All KPPs verified; Critical Design Review (CDR) complete; major subsystems ready or near ready for production; developmental tests for subsystems complete; DT&E and IOT&E plans complete; ILS plans complete; product cost goals verified and validated.


EMRL 3


EMRL 3 criteria are utilized during the “Engineering and Manufacturing Development” phase to assess progress toward completing product prototype build and demonstration and readiness to begin Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) (milestone C or Manufacturing Decision). In some instances, especially for low quantity product builds, this transition will signify readiness to enter into the production phase without reference to low-rate or full-rate production. Exit metrics include: all design and engineering requirements verified and validated; minimal engineering changes; all manufacturing processes in control for production; LRIP Production Readiness Review (PRR) complete; all quality and reliability targets met; all KPPs met; developmental tests complete for all subsystems; most DT&E complete and IOT&E underway; ILS plans and schedules met; funding and contracts in place to meet production needs; product cost goals met for LRIP.


EMRL 4


EMRL 4 criteria are utilized during LRIP to assess progress toward the ramp-up for Full Rate Production (FRP). As mentioned previously for EMRL 3, in the case of low quantity builds, EMRL 4 criteria should be achieved as early as possible in production to achieve optimum cost, schedule and performance. Exit metrics include: all design and engineering requirements met; essentially no engineering changes; all quality and reliability targets met; all KPPs met; FRP PRR complete; all subsystems and lower level components meet cost, quality and reliability targets; developmental tests complete for all subsystems and lower level components; DT&E and IOT&E complete; safety assessment complete; ILS plans and schedules met; funding and contracts in place for FRP; product cost goals met for FRP.


EMRL 5


EMRL 5 criteria are used during production, whether FRP or low quantity, to assess progress toward achieving continuous process improvement objectives or to begin efforts toward product improvements. Exit metrics include: engineering changes for process or product improvements; manufacturing process improvements; quality and reliability target improvements beyond 3 sigma; subsystems and lower level components assessed for cost, quality and reliability improvements; ILS plans identified for block upgrades; product cost goals met or exceeded. EMRL 5 criteria are only utilized in instances where the product has been successfully transitioned to FRP, the product meets all cost, schedule and performance goals and the next step is continuous improvement.


SUMMARY


Since the initial implementation in 2003 by MDA, EMRLs have proven to be effective and efficient in measuring product maturity and readiness for integration and transition from one phase to the next in MDA acquisition. EMRL assessments have aided Program Managers in identifying potential risk areas in their program as it progresses through development and into production.