News & Events-Mission system safety: emergent risks in complex systems

Assessing equipment and systems for physical safety and functional integrity is a vital task within defence. Featured in Defence Contracts Bulletin (DCB), Geraint Evans, business manager at Frazer-Nash, looks at whether emerging risks associated with complex combat and mission systems are truly being identified and managed.

It is widely recognised that interactions between different equipments within a newly created system may create additional risks, as systems grow in size and complexity so do the risks.

This article looks at the benefits of a top-down approach of reviewing an entire system compared to the aggregate of individual safety cases for each component, known as a bottom-up approach. 

Aggregating safety cases can result in a significant increase in risk, while a system wide top-down approach reduces this risk and can reduce costs when undertaken as part of the concept phase of the programme lifecycle.

Having a top-down approach which considers overarching combat system safety within the operational context of a platform is the best approach to take in terms of safely managing complex combat systems.

Frazer-Nash recently applied the top-down approach to the Sea Viper weapon system on behalf of the MOD, which improved the understanding of the safety of the system at sea.

The full article is available in March's edition of the DCB Magazine.