As the equipment ages, parts will no longer be supported, the performance will become marginal as we enhance the mission software and attempt to run it on old operating systems, and after years of usage we expect to experience increases in failure rates. To avoid these potential problems and to avoid future capability shortfalls, NAPMO approved the introduction of the Continuous Engineering process.
The concept of Continuous Engineering is not new. The idea of being able to manage in-house change requests, integrate components into legacy systems and address problems on emerging capabilities is an outstanding capability to possess in a continuing program to enhance the technical evaluation and review process.
With this background and the need to accomplish the continuous sustainment of the fielded mission systems our Board of Directors approved the Continuous Engineering Lab (CE-Lab) project as part of an overall Mission System Continuous Engineering Integration Facility to be established at the NE-3A Component in Geilenkirchen.
The project began in January 2009, with NAPMA, for the first time, as the system integrator. The contract was awarded in March 2009, to an Integrated Project Team consisting of Boeing as the design authority, and fully supported by Cassidian (formerly known as EADS Ulm), General Dynamics Canada and Thales Communications of Belgium.
With the key engineering, manufacturing, installation and testing resources provided by this Integrated Project Team, the government team delivered this project on time and under budget. In early 2010, with the completion of the infrastructure preparations by the NE-3A Component, the system was ready for delivery, installation, testing and acceptance. By August of this year, the training of the user group was completed and after finalization of the documentation, the CE-Lab was handed over on 6 December 2010 to NAEW&C Force Command and further transferred to the NE-3A Component for CE work to be performed.