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  2. Integrated Product Support (IPS) Element - Support Equipment (SE)

Integrated Product Support (IPS) Element - Support Equipment (SE)


One of the 12 Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements. All equipment (mobile or fixed) required to support the operation and maintenance of a system. It includes but is not limited to ground handling and maintenance equipment, trucks, air conditioners, generators, tools, metrology and calibration equipment, and manual and automatic test equipment. During the acquisition of systems, program managers are expected to decrease the proliferation of support equipment into the inventory by minimizing the development of new support equipment and giving more attention to the use of existing government or commercial equipment.

General Information

As discussed in Appendix A of the Product Support Manager (PSM) Guidebook, and amplified in the IPS Element Guidebook, Support Equipment activities are those activities that identify, plan, resource and implement management actions to acquire and support the equipment (mobile or fixed) required to sustain the operation and maintenance of the system to ensure that the system is available to the Warfighter when it is needed at the lowest Total Ownership Cost (TOC).

Types of Support Equipment (SE):

- Common

Common SE (CSE) includes items that are currently in the DoD inventory and are applicable to multiple systems. Because CSE is already in the DoD inventory, its technical documentation, support requirements, provisioning records and maintenance requirements are cataloged as part of the federal logistics information system.

- Special or Unique

Peculiar SE (PSE) includes items that are unique to the system and have no other application in DoD. PSE requires development of technical documentation in federal cataloging records. PSE will require support; support that is currently not available in the DoD system but will have to be developed concurrently with development of the major systems.


Categories of SE:

- Ammunition Support Equipment

- Automated Test Systems (ATS)

ATS includes ATE hardware and its operating software, Test Program Sets (TPS) which include the hardware, software and documentation required to interface with and test individual weapon system component items, and associated software development environments.   Additionally, it includes Test Measurement Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE), General Purpose Electronic Test Equipment, and Special Purpose Electronic Test Equipment.  

- Ground Support Equipment 

Ground SE includes ground handling and maintenance equipment and is typically managed as its own separate category for aviation systems in recognition of the many unique requirements related to flight operations. Each DoD Service maintains policies and guidelines for management of ground handling and maintenance equipment.

- Industrial Plant Equipment (IPE)

IPE means plant equipment in Federal Stock Group 34, Metalworking Machinery with an acquisition cost of $15,000 or more used for cutting, abrading, grinding, shaping, forming, joining, heating, treating, or otherwise altering the physical properties of materials, components or end items entailed in manufacturing, maintenance, supply, processing, assembly, or research and development operations. 

- Materials Handling Equipment

- Medical/Life Support Equipment

- Metrology & Calibration Devices

- Special Inspection Equipment and Depot Maintenance Plant Equipment

- Support Equipment for On-Equipment Maintenance and Off-Equipment Maintenance

- Support Equipment for the Individual, i.e. soldier, pilot, special operations.

- Tool Kits and Tool Sets



The SE IPS Element is critical to ensuring that weapon systems are well-maintained and properly calibrated in order to support system readiness and operational availability to meet the Warfighter's needs. It is important to understand that each piece of SE may require its own "mini acquisition" process within the weapon system program, as the PSM must ensure it meets all the criteria of Human Systems Integration (HSI), reliability, availability, cost optimization, and that overall, it "makes sense" on how and where it is used.  Ultimately, the primary goal is to minimize or eliminate the need for SE, if feasible given the system's support goal; with minimization or elimination achieved through design influence or system Technology Refreshment (Tech Refresh).