Does the DoD use the wrong reliability metric? A proposal for an alternative to MTBF/MTTF

James McLeish
James McLeish is a senior technical staff consultant and manager of the Michigan office of DfR (Design for Reliability) Solutions. Mr. McLeish is a senior member of the ASQ Reliability Division over 32 years of automotive and military E/E experience in design, development, validation testing, production quality and field reliability. He has held numerous technical expert and management position more


Accurate measurements are essential for understanding, controlling and improving processes and performance. For many decades the primary metric for measuring reliability in the defense and aerospace industries has been the Mean Time Between or To Failures (MTBF/MTTF) metrics. Despite the fact that these metrics are widely misunderstood and misinterpreted, due to the incomplete view they provide of actual system or equipment dependability performance across the entire product lifecycle. This often results in a misleading, overly optimistic reliability assessment that can hide potential failure and safety issues. Yet the use of the MTBF/MTTF metrics continues because they have been codified into numerous military standards, specs and handbooks. This webinar will review the origins of the MTBF/MTTF metrics and discuss what they do and do not represent from a Physics of Failure point of view. Other more comprehensive ways to track equipment and product dependability will be presented. These alternative methods are often used in highly competitive industries that need to be dynamic, rapidly responsive and practice continuous improvement methods to achieve efficiency along with world class Quality, Reliability & Durability in order to maintain or better yet growing their market share and profitability.

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