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Readiness Level Definitions

Technology Readiness Level

Technology Readiness Level Description
1. Basic principles observed and reported Lowest level of technology readiness. Scientific research begins with to be translated into applied research and development. Example might include paper studies of a technology's basic properties.
2. Technology concept and/or application formulated Invention begins. Once basic principles are observed, practical applications can be invented. The application is speculative and there is no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumption. Examples are still limited to paper studies.
3. Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic Active research and development is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative.
4. Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together. This is relatively "low fidelity" compared to the eventual system. Examples include integration of 'ad hoc' hardware in a laboratory.
5. Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly. The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so that the technology can be tested in a simulated environment. Examples include 'high fidelity' laboratory integration of components.
6. System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment Representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond the breadboard tested for TRL 5, is tested in a relevant environment. Represents a major step up in a technology's demonstrated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype in a high fidelity laboratory environment or in simulated operational environment.
7. System prototype demonstration in a operational environment Prototype near or at planned operational system. Represents a major step up from TRL 6, requiring the demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment, such as in an aircraft, vehicle or space. Examples include testing the prototype in a test bed aircraft.
8. Actual system completed and 'flight qualified' through test and demonstration Technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the end of true system development. Examples include developmental test and evaluation of the system in its intended weapon system to determine if it meets design specifications.
9. Actual system 'flight proven' through successful mission operations Actual application of the technology in its final form and under mission conditions, such as those encountered in operational test and evaluation. In almost all cases, this is the end of the last "bug fixing" aspects of true system development. Examples include using the system under operational mission conditions.

Manufacturing Readiness Levels

MRL 1Basic Manufacturing Implications Identified
MRL 2Manufacturing Concepts Identified
MRL 3Manufacturing Proof of Concept Developed
MRL 4Capability to produce the technology in a laboratory environment
MRL 5Capability to produce prototype components in a production relevant environment
MRL 6Capability to produce a prototype system or subsystem in a production relevant environment
MRL 7Capability to produce systems, subsystems, or components in a production representative environment
MRL 8Pilot line capability demonstrated; Ready to begin Low Rate Initial Production
MRL 9Low rate production demonstrated; Capability in place to begin Full Rate Production
MRL 10Full Rate Production demonstrated and lean production practices in place

Integration Readiness Levels

7 The integration of technologies has been verified and validated with sufficient detail to be actionable.
6The integrating technologies can accept, translate, and structure information for its intended application.
5There is sufficient control between technologies necessary to establish, manage, and terminate the integration.
4 There is sufficient detail in the quality and assurance of the integration between technologies.
3There is compatibility (i.e. common language) between technologies to orderly and efficiently integrate and interact.
2There is some level of specificity to characterize the interaction (i.e. ability to influence) between technologies through their interface.
1 An interface (i.e. physical connection) between technologies has been identified with sufficient detail to allow characterization of the relationship.

System Readiness Levels

5Operations & Support Execute a support program that meets operational support performance requirements and sustains the system in the most cost-effective manor over its total life cycle.
4Production & Development Achieve operational capability that satisfies mission needs.
3System Development & Demonstration Develop a system or increment of capability; reduce integration and manufacturing risk; ensure operational supportability; reduce logistics footprint; implement human systems integration; design for producibility; ensure affordability and protection of critical program information; and demonstrate system integration, interoperability, safety, and utility.
2 Technology Development Reduce technology risks and determine appropriate set of technologies to integrate into a full system.
1 Concept Refinement Refine initial concept. Develop system/technology development strategy

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