E. Technology Transition
The number of major weapon systems new starts will decrease substantially the rest of this decade, while increased reliance will be placed upon technology insertion into existing systems via such upgrading mechanisms as engineering change proposals (ECPs), product improvement proposals (PIPs), pre-planned product improvements (P3I), and block improvement and multi-stage improvement programs (MSIP). These upgrade efforts may be intended to achieve one or a combination of the following objectives: improve performance, extend useful life, reduce operating and support costs, improve safety/survivability, or create a new major/revolutionary combat capability.
Technology demonstrations facilitate technology transition. They are performed to demonstrate that a technology is sufficiently mature and its contribution to military capability sufficiently understood to be ready for transition to the next acquisition stage, development. Because these are S&T efforts, no formal user-operator approved operational requirement document is needed. In fact, a technology demonstration should assist the user/operator to better understand the technology and to formulate a better statement of the requirement prior to entering development. Tech demos are usually funded with 6.3 funds, but may include 6.2. A major goal of the Army S&T program is now, where possible, to provide sufficient maturation to enter directly into Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD). A "Fast Track" initiative is underway for selected programs to facilitate this process. There are two types of technology demonstrations that greatly improve technology transition/insertion--ACTDs and ATDs.