Integrated logistics support is abreviated to ILS.

ILS is part of systems engineering, and its purpose is to lower the  product life cycle cost.

A second function of ILS, is to optimise the maintenance process and procedures.

By optimising the maintainance process and procedures, product support is made easier.

Easier product support, saves both cost and time.


There are ten separate elements to Integrated Logistics Support (ILS).

Engineering Support

Maintenance Support

Equipment once in use will periodically need maintenance.

The maintenance interval predication, can be aided by looking at the MTBF.

MTBF is short for Mean Time Between Failures.

You may also see MTBF described as Mean Time Before Failure.

A piece of equipment, such as a miltary communications satellite, is made from many components.

The components are not all likely to be manufactured by the satellite manufacturer.

The satellite manufacturer instead buys in components from a variety of separate manufacturers.

Manufacturers when designimg their components, will design with a specific service life in mind.

In consumer products made for the general public, this is referred to as planned obselescence’

In the consumer market its not in the manufacturers long term interests, to make a kettle last 100 years.

This is because they won’t sell many more kettles, once everyone has one (apart from to first time kettle purchasers, or divorcees).

In mission critical products, such as miltary communications satellites, the government buyers want a certain guaranteed service life from the system.

Contracts between international governments and equipment manufacturers are likely to have warranty conditions.

The warranty conditions provide reassurance to the system buyer, but could potentially prove costly for the equipment manufacturer.

This is especially true for equipment such as satellites, which are costly to repair, as they are literally in Space.

ILS maintanance support therefore needs to understand the likely weaknesses and potential failure issues, within a system.

MTBF is one of the ways that system reliability can be estimated, as each component and sub system will have MTBF figures.




Supply Support

Training / Training Support

Technical Data




PHS&T is short for Packaging, Handling, Storage, & Transport.


S&TE is short for Support & Test Equipment.

Computer Support


The eagle eyed amongst you will have realised that Disposal is actually number eleven.

Whilst Disposal isnt part of the traditional ten ILS elements, it is increasingly important.

End of product life considerations, increasingly need to be considered.

This is due to an increased awareness of the effects of end of life equipment, on the environment.

This has resulted in individual governments, as well as regional trade blocks, such as the EU, introducing stricter environmental laws.

Use of ILS

Integrated logistics support was originally a military discipline, but has now also become widely adopted in the commercial world.

The impact of ILS can be measured using metrics such as RAMT or RAMS.

RAMT is short for reliability, availibility, maintainability and testibility.


I worked for Astrium Space (now Airbus Defence & Space) as an ILS Engineer.

NATO Part Codification

One of tasks I was involved with, was obtaining NATO Codification for subsystem parts of a communication sattelite system.

This involved firstly researching which system components and sub systems, did not already have NATO Codification Numbers (NCN). This was done via database research.

Once a list of components requiring Nato Codification, was established, then the task of gathering the required data needed, to apply for an NCN.

In the UK the Nato Codification Bureau issues new Nato Codification Numbers, and an application has to be made.

What is the purpose of a NATO Codification Number?

A Nato Codification Number (NCN) is a standardised unique way of identifying a component part, within a product.

For example a NATO member state could purchase a component from a number of different suppliers in different countries, and the parts would be exactly the same. The NCN identifies the particular component.

Nato Codification is one of the tasks carried out within the role of Integrated Logistics Support.


Adoption of Integrated Logistics Support (ILS)

ILS was first introduced by the United States Army.

ILS was introduced with the aim of considering equipment supportability, during the design and development stage, rather than as an afterthought.

In 1993 the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (UK MOD), made ILS a compulsory requirement, for procurement of most items of equipment.

Defence Standards – Def Stan

Defence standards are often abreviated to Def Stans.

A number of Defence standards exist, covering a variety of areas.

For example Def Stan 00-60, is the defence standard covering Integrated Logistics Support.


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Published by Craig Miles

Craig Miles

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