Upgrades: We’re all used to them by now. Whether it’s the iPhone 5, iPad 4, Windows Phone 8 or another new version of a favorite device, manufacturers are continuously elevating the quality of the consumer electronics we use every day. Likewise, military power supply systems are not exempt from the upgrade cycle.
Just as popular gadgets are upgraded at regular intervals, military power supplies are continuously being improved upon. Each time it happens, the previous generation of power supplies becomes outdated and less useful in its application. It is important for those using military power supplies to upgrade their inventory when new models become available, because those newer versions may be safer, more powerful or longer-lasting than their predecessors.
Right now, military power supplies are typically updated every two years. An older version of a military power supply will still have a mean time between failure (MTBF) rating that is longer than its commercial off the shelf (COTS) counterpart, but users should still upgrade when the next version comes out. Technology is advancing rapidly, and many components of older military power supplies have become obsolete. They may also be incompatible with the new systems you need them to power. Utilizing an outdated power system is not a smart cost-cutting measure; it is actually very dangerous.
However, there is one caveat here that may be to the advantage of the consumer: Although the life cycles for military power supplies are much shorter now, industry regulations require that the products must be replaceable or at least repairable throughout their lifetime. Here is an example of an accommodation a military power supply manufacturer may need to make: If a power supply part is being discontinued by the manufacturer, and an equivalent part is not available from another source, then the manufacturer that discontinued the part must 1.) notify all previous buyers of the supply system, and 2.) offer a final build plan so those buyers can order spares for future usage. When those spares run out, it will be time for those buyers to upgrade to the next generation of military power supplies.
Military power supply upgrades are not a “necessary evil” – they are just necessary. As users upgrade to each new version of military power supplies, they make their systems safer and more effective for accomplishing tasks.