Electro-optical sensors (EOS) are used in a variety of commercial, industrial and military applications including targeting, imaging, surveillance and range finding. EO sensors provide the military and other users with enhanced and unique capabilities.
Military electro-optical infrared systems use both visible and non-visible light to provide visual feedback to military personnel or are integrated with other military systems. These systems, which can be deployed on ground vehicles as well as fixed and rotary wing platforms, can precisely identify, classify and track enemy threats on the ground, in the air, or at sea.
Reports indicate that the military electro-optical infrared systems market reached $8.38 billion in 2014 and experts predict an increase in demand for military EO/IR systems through 2024, with North America and Europe leading the market in technology as well as research and development.
Over the years, electro-optical and infrared technology has become more sophisticated, enabling companies to build more powerful, lightweight and cost-effective systems that offer a variety of mission-critical capabilities. These improvements will produce operational benefits in current applications and open up new applications for EO and IR systems in the military as well as commercial environments.
However, advanced technology alone isn’t enough – these systems must be designed and developed in such way as to allow companies to manufacture them in the most reliable and cost-effective manner. The goal for these manufacturers is to win profitable work – so their estimates must be as accurate as possible. Provide too high a cost and a vendor might not win the contract, while too low could end up costing a company money. In addition, vendors are under tremendous pressure to produce detailed, accurate bids as quickly as possible.
To be competitive, vendors must accurately estimate the development and production costs of electro-optical sensor (EOS) devices. Doing so will help them better understand the costs and key cost drivers for electro-optical sensors, and allow them to analyze technical and performance trade-offs, thus obtaining insight into the risks involved.
Parametric modeling of electro-optical sensors has historically been challenging because of a lack of data as well as a complex technical domain. That’s the reason Galorath developed the SEER-H Electro-Optical Sensor (SEER-EOS) model. The SEER-EOS plugin expands the capabilities of Galorath’s SEER for Hardware, Electronics & System (SEER-H) estimation model, allowing a company to perform a full lifecycle cost analysis for electro-optical sensors operating on a variety of platforms including manned and aircraft, missiles and space vehicles. The plugin estimates key EOS components including: optical devices, detectors, mechanisms, coolers and lasers.
SEER project estimation solutions significantly improve the success rates on complex development projects. Based on sophisticated parametric modeling technology and extensive project historical data, SEER solutions help organizations assess up-front project feasibility, optimize project costs and schedules, assess risk and develop detailed project plans.
Parametric/predictive modeling was developed to accurately assess what is known about a contemplated project and to model or simulate what is unknown, based on meaningful comparative data. Parametric modeling provides “fact-based” estimating techniques including mathematical equations as well as interpretation of historical data.
A decision-support tool, SEER-H reliably and accurately estimates the total cost of ownership for new product development projects. SEER-H consists of a collection of estimation elements, or process models that permit a user to build up the cost of a project by looking at its components within a physical work breakdown structure. Project engineers, planners, and managers can use SEER-H to determine lifecycle costs and development timetables for a variety of hardware projects including that include mechanical, electronic, structural and hydraulic components.
The SEER-H model helps organizations understand costs, schedules, risks and reliability for major hardware systems and manage total lifecycle costs for any size hardware or electronics project, from individual components to a variety of product assemblies, to complete systems and systems of systems. Using SEER-H, vendors can determine the probability that their projects will be completed within a specified cost, effort, and delivery window. Estimating with SEER-H also gives companies a good indication of the potential cost impact of uncertainties in design features and project options.
SEER-H doesn’t focus on designing features and functions, rather, it focuses on providing an early preview of the effort, cost, time to market, staffing, risk and reliability involved in bringing a product to market and maintaining it over time – a powerful addition to traditional project management software applications.
SEER-H EOS adds specific features to extend the capability of SEER-H to estimate the lifecycle costs of electro-optical sensors. SEER-EOS estimates are derived from key technical and performance parameters (KTTPs). By using this approach, SEER-H EOS lends itself well to engineering trade studies as it bases its estimates in terms of KTTPs, which is the trade space in which engineers think about their designs.
With the SEER-H EOS plugin, users can estimate the lifecycle costs of complex electro-optical sensors with much more accuracy and detail than previously possible. EOS estimates are derived from user-selected technology options associated with the elements that comprise EO sensors (e.g., telescopes, focal plane arrays, and coolers), as well as specific values for key technical and performance parameters (e.g., telescope diameter and number of pixels).
SEER-H’s EOS estimating capabilities span development, production, operations and support for sensors in space, on missiles, and on manned or unmanned aircraft. SEER-EOS also provides system-level costs and supports comprehensive design trades for more than 50 EOS technologies.
SEER-H EOS takes advantage of the estimating features in SEER-H. Through SEER-H, EOS estimation elements can be combined with all cooperating and supporting systems, resulting in a complete lifecycle cost for electro-optical sensors and systems. A wide range of design alternatives can be evaluated in a short time, allowing users to discover the low-cost solution or determine the appropriate balance of cost and performance.
The EOS plugin for SEER-H allows vendors to estimate sophisticated optical sensor instruments. SEER-H estimates highly technical elements, e.g., the pitch size of the detector. In addition, government agencies use the model to evaluate vendor proposals –
to ensure the proposed cost of an item isn’t too high, or even too low, which could result in a cost overrun.
One user of the SEER-H EOS plugin said the SEER estimate was within 6% of actuals and most likely could have been closer had he opted to do a more detailed analysis. "I would expect if I were to do a detail analysis of the procurement/procurement history and tweaked SEER-H EOS the results would have even more closely matched the actual procurement cost,” the user said.