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Penn State RPG Countermeasure Engineering Project Kickoff October 14, 2003. Kickoff Agenda. Introduction to the Project Overview of project steps Modeling and Simulation Requirements Development Concept Generation Concept Development Concept Presentation Summary

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Penn State

RPG Countermeasure

Engineering Project Kickoff

October 14, 2003

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Kickoff Agenda

  • Introduction to the Project

  • Overview of project steps

    • Modeling and Simulation

    • Requirements Development

    • Concept Generation

    • Concept Development

    • Concept Presentation

  • Summary

  • Appendices & Back-up material

  • Questions and Discussion

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Project Statement

  • Objective: Develop a countermeasures system concept to defend a vehicle (large SUV) against an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) attack

  • Background

    • Your team is employed by a specialty engineering firm

    • The firm has been contracted to develop RPG countermeasures concepts for diplomatic protection

    • The customer has awarded many such contracts and will ultimately select the best concept for a lucrative development, production, and fielding contract

  • This is a real problem with real impact in today’s world

    • Solving it literally makes the world a safer place

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Project Approach

  • This project will lead you through a disciplined systems engineering approach to engineering concept development

    • Understand the problem via modeling and simulation

    • Develop the requirements for your system concept

    • Generate ideas for a countermeasures concept

    • Refine the ideas through concept development

    • Select your best concept and develop it in detail

    • Assess its strengths and weaknesses

    • Sell your final idea to the customer

  • Tools you will use: Mathematics, physics, spreadsheets, brainstorming, trade studies, CAD, presentation SW

    • The tools support your creative process


*Additional Information of Project Approach is provided in Appendix

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RPG History



  • RPG  Rocket Propelled Grenade (Unguided)

    • Origin  German, WW II, produced as Panzerfaust Anti-Tank weapon

  • Highly prolific, mass produced by Warsaw pact nations

    • E.g., Turkey received 4,997 RPG-7 Launchers and 197,000 rockets from former East German Army stocks

    • Numerous round / warhead types

    • Adapted to other roles

      • Primarily Anti-Armor

      • Anti-Personnel

      • Anti Helicopter

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RPG Technology


350m Range


200m Range


1000m Range

  • Basic configuration consists of a launch tube and a rocket propelled grenade (warhead)

    • Shoulder fired, single person portable

    • Re-loads immediately supporting moderate rate of fire

  • Unguided, low velocity round

    • Primarily used against stationary targets

      • Some capability reported against moving targets but at significantly reduced range and accuracy.

    • Unguided  ballistic trajectory

    • Warheads mostly impact fused but some barometric and timer based available


*Additional samples of RPG are provided in Appendix

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Project Schedule










Modeling and Simulation

Requirements development

Concept Generation

Concept Analysis/Selection

Concept Presentation

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Modeling and Simulation










Modeling and Simulation

  • Outputs

  • Parametric planar ballistic model

  • Physical understanding of problem

Requirements development

Concept Generation

  • Inputs

  • RPG Background Info

  • Modeling approach

  • Modeling equations

  • Model inputs (constants)

  • Self-check tools

Concept Development

Concept Presentation

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Modeling and Simulation Approach

Actual RPG Trajectory


Note: The SUV can be

oriented at any angle

relative to the RPG.


Range vector to target



RPG Impact point


RPG Launch point


  • Apply Newtonian physics to develop a mathematical, parametric model of the RPG flyout

    • Kinematics is the general class of physics that will be applied

  • Modeling Objectives:

    • Determine range of flyout times for various conditions (parameters)

      • Flyout time will provide minimum reaction time for countermeasures concept

    • Gain a physical understanding of the engagement itself

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Mathematical modeling

  • Develop model using kinematics equations,constants, variables, and desired outputs


  • Values that will not change for the model

    • Acceleration of gravity, drag force, density of air, etc.

  • Provided in Appendix


  • Values that you will determine via the model

    • Flyout time, max range, etc.

  • Will be determined as a function of the input variables

    • i.e. Flyout time vs. launch velocity, Flyout time vs. range, etc.



  • Kinematics equations provided in Appendix



  • Values that you will vary over a range to determine flyout times

    • Range to target, launch angle, launch velocity, etc.

  • Provided in Appendix


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Model development

  • Step 1: Work the problem a few times by hand

    • Treat it like a homework assignment

    • i.e. How far (and for what duration) does a 1kg round fly when launched at 100 m/s and at an angle of 45o? How far (and for what duration) does it fly when launched at 10o, 65o?

    • Make sure that the relationships make sense

  • Step 2: Put the equations into a computer tool so you can vary the inputs over a range and plot relationships

    • Tools: Custom computer program, Excel, MatLab, MathCad, etc.

    • Now the variables become ranges of values

    • The “answer” is the plotted relationships and a physical understanding of the engagement dynamics


*Additional suggestions to Model development are provided in Appendix

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Sample model output

  • The equations provided were programmed using FORTRAN and the program checked against the closed form ballistic flight.

    • Launch parameters:

      • VB0 = 328.1 ft/sec (100 m/s)

      • Launch inclination = 45º (0.7854 rad)

      • RPG Mass = 0.3106 slugs (4.5317 kg)

      • Air density = 0.002378 slug/ft3 (0.001226 gm/cm3)

      • CD0 = 1.3101

      • Reference Area = 0.0135 ft2 (0.00125m2)

      • RPG Initial height = 0.0 ft (0.0 m)

  • The solution was exact when compared to closed form to the first 4 decimal places

    • Using a refined step size improves accuracy at the expense of time and file size.


*Additional information on sample model outputs are provided in Appendix


*Tips on model/simulation are provided in Appendix

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Requirements Development










Modeling and Simulation

  • Outputs

  • Tables/graphs

  • Range of response time for given threat scenario

Requirements Development

Concept Generation

  • Inputs

  • Ballistic model

  • RPG threat scenarios

Concept Development

Concept Presentation

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The customer is primarily concerned with 4 major RPG types and a series of engagement ranges

These are the threats that your countermeasure must defeat

Developing the timeline requirements means filling in this table using your model

Development Process

  • Outputs:

    • Show Range of Times to Respond by using Table/Graph


*Tips on development process (e.g. establishing countermeasures timeline) are provided in Appendix

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Concept Generation and a series of engagement ranges










Modeling and Simulation

  • Outputs

  • Complete list of brainstormed defense concepts (25+ items)

  • Initial refinement of list (~5 items)

Requirements development

Concept Generation

  • Inputs

  • Response-time/range requirements for countermeasure

  • Brainstorming technique resources

  • Detection Cueing equipment and timelines

Concept Development

Concept Presentation

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Your Job! and a series of engagement ranges

  • Detect & Issue Warning

  • Develop Ballistic Track

  • Calculate Intercept

  • Point / Cue Countermeasure

  • Deploy Countermeasure

  • Intercept RPG

  • Assess Next Action

Options for this are provided by customer

Not part of your Timeline

  • Customer has specified a variety of Detect/Intercept sensors for your use

    • Can be used in any quantity and configuration at the expense of cost, size, weight and power

    • See Appendix for details of cueing sensor selection process

    • See Appendix for details of cueing sensor table

  • Your job is to come up with the actual countermeasure approach

    • Some of your timeline is already consumed by the detect/cueing system

  • Basic countermeasures model is applicable to all types of engagements



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Engineering Creativity and a series of engagement ranges

  • Apply group creative techniques to develop a rich set of possible countermeasures

    • See resource material on brainstorming and other creative techniques, Appendix

"The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away." — Linus Pauling, chemist Nobel Prize Winner


  • Session 1: Develop a large set of possible solutions (25+). At this point, don’t critique - just record the ideas.

  • Session 2: Cull the list down to 4 or 5 solutions as a group

    • Use your understanding of the engagement to eliminate the weakest solutions

  • Tip: Consider the type of detect/queuing sensor(s) that will be needed for each countermeasures concept (i.e. a very cheap simple countermeasure may require a very expensive, complex detector)

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Food for Thought ... and a series of engagement ranges

  • Based on an initial assessment of the RPG performance, areas subject to countermeasure exploitation include

  • Low muzzle velocity  50 - 100 m/sec typical

  • Relatively small kinetic energy of round during fly out

    • Low momentum  May be easy to perturb trajectory

  • Round dispersion

    • Ballistic trajectory, should be relatively flat at close engagement ranges

  • A countermeasure may be as simple as maneuvering the vehicle

    • Perhaps calculating the time for the bus to move from point A to B or to turn versus engagement geometry and time of flight.

  • Trajectory

    • If the RPG flys a certain path, can it be moved off that path or intercepted and slowed down so that it falls harmlessly to the ground?

    • RPG linear momentum and kinetic energy will be important to understand. If the RPG is to be intercepted and stopped, then whatever countermeasure employed will have to possess adequate energy to counter the RPGs.

  • Remember that RPGs are prolific.

    • The system may have to counter more than one round per engagement so think about parameters like volume, integration onto the vehicle, etc.

    • This is a semi-commercial application.

      • It needs to be somewhat affordable as there will be many vehicles to protect

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Concept Development and a series of engagement ranges










Modeling and Simulation

  • Outputs

  • Selected countermeasures approach

  • Rationale for selection

  • Analysis of performance

  • Sketches/description of concept

Requirements development

  • Inputs

  • Short list of candidates

  • Trade study technique resources

  • Model/analysis tools

  • CAD resources

Concept Generation

Concept Development

Concept Presentation

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Engineering Selection and a series of engagement ranges

  • Selection of optimal countermeasure requires that you further develop each idea on the “short list”

  • Further development should focus on answering the key questions

    • Will it be effective?

    • How big will it be, what will it weigh, how much power does it take?

    • What type and quantity of sensors are required?

    • How much will it cost?

    • Is it feasible?

  • Use CAD to sketch your concepts and “visualize” installation

  • Use your model (possibly with modifications) to determine the effectiveness

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Trade Studies and a series of engagement ranges

  • Once you have sufficiently developed the alternatives, conduct an engineering trade study to select the optimal approach

    • Trade studies promote objective review and selection of the best alternative

    • Frequently used in industry

    • See online resources regarding engineering trade studies, Appendix

  • Potential trade study criteria

    • Physical

      • Power, weight, size

    • Feasibility

      • Unique technical challenges

    • Cost

    • Performance

      • How many of the threat engagement scenarios are defeated?


”Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." — Albert Einstein

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Approach: Disrupt fly out early forcing grenade in flight to either:

Detonate prematurely

Not detonate at all (Vastly preferable due to fragmentation patterns.)

Significantly increase dispersion so that RPG PK << 1 (Probability of Kill) through disruption of trajectory

Possible designs:

Sample CM Technique Trade Study





Enormous quantity of energy required to significantly


warhead. RPG is not intrinsically susceptible to laser damage due

to simplicity.



Extremely fast reaction time


Fuse is not easily accessible to point at.


Large volume of CM equipment


Cost / technology


Detonation of warhead likely if direct


If single bullet, guidance problem is tough.

impact. (This may be a


disadvantage if close to target at

“Claymore” approach imparts significant structural loads to host.

Direct Impact

time of detonation)

Scatter of “ball bearings” may be issue at extreme intercept


(Bullet with


If intercept close to vehicle, large



dispersion of fragment pattern

Not effective at longer ranges from host. Intercept occurs close to

reduces requirements on initial

target. No guarantee of non-collateral hit with fragments.


pointing angle and round guidance.

Large quantity of units may impact storage needs.

(Dumb round permissible)


Does not rely on destruction of



Fusing of warhead is allowed but at

sufficient distance from host vehicle


to minimize collateral damage.

Moderate demands on cueing




Easier queuing / guidance

May require point and shoot dispenser.




Fast reaction time.

May require smart round and target illumination.


Potential to use existing

technologies immediately for most

of the CM suite

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Concept Presentation to either:










Modeling and Simulation

Requirements development

  • Outputs

  • Self-assessment

  • Customer briefing

  • Marketing Brochure

Concept Generation

Concept Development

  • Inputs

  • Selected concept design

  • Self-assessment techniques

  • Sample Customer briefing and marketing brochure

Concept Presentation

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Final Deliverables to either:

  • Final design briefing

    • This is your opportunity to “sell” your concept to your customer

    • Walk them through your whole process, present your chosen concept in detail

      • Will require further CAD work and refinement

      • Physical models are an option

    • The briefing should answer the customers questions, see Appendix

  • Brochure

    • Develop a fold-out brochure for your customer to take with them

    • Example brochures will be provided

  • Remember: thorough engineering + solid presentation = SOLD! Anticipate issues your customer may have - imbed risk mitigation factors into your design briefing. See Appendix



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Summary to either:

  • You will use the systems engineering techniques presented to propose a solution to a significant, real-world problem

    • You will use many relevant engineering tools and techniques to facilitate your creative process

  • This briefing provides a kickoff, links, some buried hints, and a framework for the project

    • Refer to it and the other course material frequently

  • A few tips:

    • Take it one step at a time, focus on what’s currently due

    • You will probably start to have concept ideas immediately, write them down, keep your mind open

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Appendix to either:

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A-1: Additional Info on Approach to either:

  • The Goal is to determine a way to perform the following:

    • Design a system which:

      • Detects the presence of an RPG as a threat. (Options given.)

      • Determine how much time is available to react. (Calculated from given equations.)

      • Determine the proper countermeasure to employ. (Design.)

        • Based on your calculations of the RPG trajectory, timing, kinetic energy, linear momentum, and ballistic coefficient.

      • Determine if the countermeasure was effective. (Assessment.)

      • Develop a marketing brochure which highlights specific features of the design approach using a CAD model of the system.

        • Include a statement of system effectiveness in countering the threat.

  • The system design should use building blocks provided for specific functions such as detection and cueing.

    • Concentrate on the actual countermeasure design.

      • Hint: Timing is going to be a key parameter so focusing on calculating parameters related to

        • Trajectory

          • If the RPG flys a certain path, can it be moved off that path or intercepted and slowed down so that it falls harmlessly to the ground.

          • RPG linear momentum and kinetic energy will be important to keep track of. If the RPG is to be intercepted and stopped, then whatever countermeasure is employed will have to possess adequate energy to counter the RPGs.

        • Time to go, i.e., how long from firing to impact? This timeline will define the system response requirements that must be met.

        • The countermeasure may be as simple as maneuvering the SUV.

          • Perhaps calculating the time for the SUV to move from point A to B or to turn versus engagement geometry and time of flight.

    • Remember that RPGs are prolific.

      • The system may have to counter more than one round per engagement so think about parameters like volume, integration onto the SUV, etc.

      • This is a commercial application.

        • It needs to be somewhat affordable as there will be many vehicles to protect

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A-2: Example RPG Round Types to either:

: Four potential threats

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A-3: Defined Constants to either:

  • The following are defined Constants for use in the problem:

    • RPG initial height above ground is 2 meters

    • Acceleration due to gravity is defined to be 32.2 ft/s (9.81 m/s)

    • RPG reference area = 0.0135 ft2 (0.00125 m2)

    • Air density = 0.002378 slugs / ft3 (0.001226 gm/cm3)

    • Drag coefficient, CD0 = 1.3101

      • Note: Drag coefficient is a non-dimensional coefficient

  • Only consider the four RPG warheads highlighted in Appendix A-2

  • Assume that the warhead does not fuse. (i.e., does not go off)

  • Assume target is stationary at time of launch.

    • Target is VIP SUV: 18 ft long x 6 ft high by 6 feet wide

      • System design must consider protecting all projected aspects as part of the trade study.

    • Minimum miss distance to any point on the SUV for success is 5 meters.

    • SUV is free to move immediately after RPG detection

      • aS = Uniform SUV Acceleration, forward or back (0-60 mph in 15 sec)

  • Remember to convert dimensions so they are consistent

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A-4: Variables to either:

RPG Engagement Geometry Variable Specification

  • Variables Definitions:

    Y0 = Height above ground of RPG at launch (Y0: RPG initial height above ground is defined as 2 meters for simplicity)

    VB0 = RPG Body velocity at launch (selected from four potential threats as highlighted in Appendix A-2)

    X-Y = Inertial frame

    I = Initial launch angle

    VX, VY = RPG Body X and Y velocity.

  • Parametrically, vary each of these parameters ±10% while holding the others constant.

  • Target range: 50  RT  200 Meters

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A-6: Suggestions to Model Development to either:

  • In order to calculate the RPG trajectory, the equations (provided in A-5) may be used in a simple commercial software (such as Excel, MatLab, MathCad, Fortran, or C) to calculate all necessary geometry and timing parameters associated with the RPG flyout.

    • Once the basic simulation is running, the equations can be further built up and more can be added to model any specific countermeasure approach to include, for example,

      • Effect of target relative height.

      • Miss distance based on rule set defined commensurate with the proposed technical approach.

        • Hit / miss plots based on target size and RPG dispersion.

      • Timing studies to optimize countermeasure approach in order to maximize miss distance.

  • Determine elevation (or azimuth) angle required to hit the target.

    • Investigate sensitivity to hit / miss versus launch condition relative to the target.

    • The equations can be modified to investigate in flight tip off, I.e: if the perturbation to the RPG is applied post launch, how much is required versus how far the RPG has flown to meet the miss distance criteria.

    • Parametrically investigate the impact of drag on the fly out.

      • Equations can easily be modified to investigate the effect of adding incremental increases in drag during fly out.

    • Some simple trig may be useful in terms of how far off to the side the RPG needs to be forced to miss.

  • The basic equations provided can be modified to include the target and can be run parametrically (automated using user defined rule set) until the desired miss distance is achieved.

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A-7: Sample Model Outputs (Continued) to either:

  • The simulation can also be utilized in examining two other parameters.

    • Kinetic energy

    • Linear momentum

  • The kinetic energy plot in the upper right indicates a parabolic shape commensurate with the expected launch angle.

    • Since KE is a V2 function, interception of the RPG at a point of lowest KE is highly desirable. Why?

  • Linear momentum does not exhibit exactly the same trend.

    • Does this suggest a different approach for the CM system depending on engagement geometry and CM chosen?

  • Remember, the results will be different for the actual engagement geometry

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A-8: Tips on Model/Simulation to either:

  • If your code is running correctly, the trajectory, timing, and impact point can now be determined.

    • The simulation can also be used to perform trade studies designed to optimize your system design and response.

  • In order to check the code, try calculating the ballistic trajectory by setting the drag coefficient of the RPG to zero and comparing the X, Y, and time to hit the ground to the closed form solution found in a physics text book.

    • Then set the drag coefficient to a very small number and check to see if the results are very similar. Increase the drag coefficient and check the range and timing impacts.

  • An additional suggested check of the simulation is to verify that the units of all calculations are consistent and the results is expressed correctly.

    • Use dimensional analysis for this.

  • At the conclusion of the modeling and simulation stage of the project the following questions and milestones should be met:

    • A simple, X-Y plane, parametric model of the RPG trajectory enabling physical trade studies to be performed should be available.

  • Given that the detection of the RPG is assured:

    • Based on selection of the detection system, what is the time line for intercept, track, and countermeasure deployment.

      • Suggestion: use timing chart supplied as a template and fill in using data generated with model.

  • Determine if interception of the incoming RPG is feasible.

    • If so, what is required in terms of system response time.

      • I.e., what is the functional time allocation to the various parts of the system design.

      • Do you need more than a single type of sensor?

        • What type of accuracy is needed and what is the cost impact?

A 9 basics of cm timeline l.jpg
A-9: Basics of CM Timeline to either:

  • In order to design an effective countermeasure system, an understanding of basic functional requirements, for example engagement timing, is required.

    • Typical time from shoot to hit for RPG ranges between ? and ? seconds for the proposed engagement geometry

    • Preliminary allocation of CM time line based on a threshold value of ? sec and a goal of ? sec can be used to estimate approach viability / develop functional requirements.

      Function Threshold Goal

      Detect & Issue Warning --------- ----

      Develop Ballistic Track --------- ----

      Calculate Intercept --------- ----

      Point / Queue Countermeasure --------- ----

      Deploy Countermeasure --------- ----

      Intercept RPG --------- ----

      [Assess Next Action] Leave out of timeline, but consider

      implications of next actions, e.g. “reloading”

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A-10: Cueing System Parameters to either:

  • The chart in Appendix A-11 provides data on potential cueing systems available to you as the designer.

  • Assume that the following functions are performed by any of the system options given on the chart. The system will:

    • Identify and calculate direction of arrival within limits prescribed

    • Issues warning of incoming RPG and sends cue command to your CM

    • Ideal false alarm rate  Pfa = 0.0

    • Cost includes integrated electronics to fuse sensor, ID function, and CM cueing

  • Rules:

    • For RADAR and IR Sensor: better angular accuracy, if required, can be achieved with addition of more sensors (electronics) at increased cost and volume. Assume 15% increase in $, 10% increase in weight, & 2x sensors qty for each 1/2 increment in angular accuracy. Assume no penalty in detection time or track development due to internal system architecture.

    • Use of multiple sensor types is allowed.

    • If ESD sensor is used and greater than 50 meter maximum range is required, an additional ESD sensor may be employed forming an array at a 1/1 cost, weight, and volume penalty + cost of deployment mechanism.

    • ESD sensors are ground deployed and must be replaced after vehicle moves. Sensors do not function during times of vehicle motion.

    • Increasing the scanned area by the LIDAR requires the addition of multiple units at a 1/1 cost, weight, and volume penalty for each unit employed.

    • UV Sensors only provide warning of a launch. Only hemispherical coverage is possible.

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A-12: Creativity Resources to either:

  • Some web resources on creative techniques

    • - A comprehensive tutorial on brainstorming and other creative techniques

    • – A one-page summary of engineering brainstorming developed by the Project Management Institute

    • – A pragmatic summary of how to setup and run a brainstorming session

    • – A free trial download of a brainstorming and selection facilitation program

”To have a great idea, have a lot of them." — Thomas A. Edison

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A-13: Trade Study Examples to either:

  • Trade study examples on the web

    • – A very detailed look at the systems engineering process and at conducting trade studies (Starts on line 27)

    • – A presentation of a simple CAIV (Cost As an Independent Variable) trade study, a lot of acronyms, most of the good stuff starts on pg 8

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A-14: Key customer questions to either:

  • Key Customer questions

    • How did you arrive at your timeline and what is it

      • Simplifying assumptions you made; why are they valid

    • What was your creative process

      • Present all of your brainstormed ideas and the context of your brainstorming session

    • Why did you select the chosen design

      • Present results of trade study

    • Provide evidence that the concept is effective

      • Which engagement scenarios can be met successfully

      • Which one’s present risk

    • Is your solution realizable, affordable, realistic

    • Can your countermeasures engage more than one RPV simultaneously

    • Are there collateral damage effects from the RPG or your CM solution

      • Human life, property

      • What ethical issues have been considered

    • How long from start to develop and field your solution

    • Will it work in a range of outdoor environments

      • hot, cold, snow, sand, rain, etc.

    • Does it affect the driving characteristics of the SUV

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A-15: Assessing Your Offering to either:

You will need to perform a critical self-assessment of your offering -

before your customer does. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Available technologies.

    • What type of technologies can be utilized? need to be utilized?

      • Does it exist and how can it be adapted to this problem?

  • Enabling technologies requiring further development

    • What needs to be invented?

      • Is it physically possible?

      • Cost prohibitive?

  • What is the system configuration?

    • Is it compatible with the intended user.

      • Size, cost, etc.

  • Does the system specified meet the goal of protecting the target?