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Production Representative Articles/System

AETM 028


A system whose hardware and software defined by system-level critical design review, functional configuration audit, and system verification review, including correction of major deficiencies identified during prior testing. For hardware acquisitions, production-representative articles should be assembled using parts, tools, and manufacturing processes intended for use in full-rate production; utilize intended production versions of software; and all operational logistics systems for use on fielded system should be in place. Manufacturing processes to be used in full-rate production should be adhered to as closely as possible. For software acquisitions, a production-representative system consists of users performing operational tasks with hardware and software intended for deployment, in an operationally realistic computing environment, with representative DoD information network operations and supporting cybersecurity capabilities. All life-cycle system support should be in place.

General Information

A Production Representative System may or may not be produced on a final production line, such as a mature Engineering Development Model (EDM), e.g., hand tooled, and some components may be from production tooling. While highly desirable, the item does not have to be manufactured on a formal production line to be considered production representative. System-level Critical Design Review (CDR), qualification testing, all Functional Configuration Audits (FCAs) for major configuration items, and System Verification Review (SVR) should have been completed. However, production representative articles must be demonstrated in their intended environment during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD phase of the Defense Acquisition Management System.)


Production, or production representative, articles also must be used for the dedicated phase of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) that supports the full-rate production decision (or for ACAT IA or other programs, the full-deployment decision). The system must demonstrate an operational capability that satisfies mission needs. Operational test and evaluation shall determine the effectiveness and suitability of the system. Upon successful completion of operational (and live-fire, where applicable) testing, expect an orderly increase in the production rate for the system sufficient to lead to full-rate production This effort is intended to result in completion of manufacturing development in order to ensure adequate and efficient manufacturing capability and establish an initial production base for the system.


Title 10 USC 2399 requires DoD to conduct an independent, initial operational test and evaluation on major programs (ACAT I & II) before entering full rate production. Lower ACAT programs may have the IOT&E delegated to another agency.