Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Software in Defence Systems
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The use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) has become a new strategy in defence industries to reduce system life-cycle cost. The notion that system components had to be specially certified for use in a harsh environment has been overtaken by the advantage of leveraging of commercially developed state-of-the-art technology. In fact, the use of COTS, where appropriate, is now mandated by many defence procurement agencies around the world. To facilitate the incorporation of COTS products, the environment is adapted to the usually less stringent required, such us reducing vibration, electromagnetic shielding, cooling, etc. Some COTS items, such as commercial software, may be modified to suit the defence requirements, so called Modified-Off-The-Shelf (MOTS). A particular concern in the use of COTS is the mismatch between the relative short life-cycle of a COTS product to that of an overall defence system. The obsolescence of COTS items has to be managed. This paper discusses a number of issues associated with the incorporation of COTS components, particularly software, in defence systems, their support and obsolescence management.
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