The process starts with the system/equipment technical specification and the operational and environmental requirements. In some cases, these requirements may also define what support is required. 

However, all too often the support requirements do not actually define what support is required. I will cover this in more detail in the systems engineering lesson.

Now the system/equipment is loosely defined by the requirements and there is some concept of what the solution may look like, it is possible for LSA/SA to start, by breaking down the system into the functionally significant elements. 

This process identifies the elements of the system that provide or support a function the system is expected to deliver. 

This then starts the process to identify what happen if that element does not provide the expected function and how critical is it to the overall functionality of the system. 

An example of this is a normal car, all the elements that go to make up a car have a function, some functions are more critical than others,

The engine has the function of providing the power to propel the vehicle if this fails then the car is not longer a mode of transport as it will not move under its own power. 

This is a critical function, and will require maintenance to correct and return the car to a state of functionality (SOFu). Whereas the paint on the body of the car, has the function of protecting the body from corrosion and looking good, if this paint is faded due to UV exposure, it is still providing one of the functions to protect the body from corrosion. But now it is not the bright colour it was when new, loss of this function, whilst not pretty, is not a critical function and doesn’t require immediate corrective action.

This analysis leads into the development of the maintenance policy for the system. based on what is the most critical functions that have to be maintained and those lower priority functions that can be postponed until a later date or a deep maintenance period.

To progress the process it is necessary to cater any data about the system that is available to inform the next stage of the analysis, this will include historical data relating to a previous version of the system or the system being replaced to understand what are the support issues with the previous system.

Now we know what are the most critical functions then we can start to identify how often these critical functions will be lost or fail. This is the reliability analysis, this splits into three parts

The reliability analysis, to identify how often the system or equipment will fail.

The Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality analysis (FMECA) identifies if or when the system or parts of the system fails. What is the effect of that failure, on the part, the equipment and the top level system or mission. This analysis also identifies how the failure is identified by the user and if there is any impact of safety of the system.  

The third part is Maintainability Analysis, the previous analyses have identified how often and how critical the failure is. It is now possible to identify what maintenance is required to correct the failure and how quickly the maintenance need to be performed. This can be further developed into Reliability Centered maintenance (RCM) which adds in the concept of what can be done to prevent the failure, by maintaining the part or equipment. This can be further enhanced to look at performing maintenance at a point just before the potential failure occurs.

So following on from the reliability analysis, we know how often a failure is likely to occur, how critical the failure is, how to identify the failure and what maintenance is required to correct the failure.

It is now possible to analyse these to determine where the maintenance is to be performed, this is Level of Repair Analysis (LoRA)

Any ‘trade off’ analysis to identify if changing the system or maintenance could improve the supportability of the system.

this identifies what spares are required so it isn ow possible to calculate what the availability of the system might be and with all the information anti is possible to determine how much it will cost (Life Cycle Cost analysis)

This is an interactive process as sometimes the answers are not what is affordable or good enough to meet the operation requirements, so it is then necessary to go back to the design and addressing of the support drivers. This may not actually be possible depending on the culture of the organisation.

This process eventually results in a set of spares being identified and when those spares are required,

How information and documentation is required and who needs what information,

A list of the manpower required, what skills they need to perform the maintenance and support and if there is any training required to enable them to perform the maintenance,

A maintenance schedule of what maintenance is required and when,

A list of facilities that are required, where the facilities are needed and what is needed at each facility.

And finally, what needs external support from the OEM to complete the support solution.​