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DOD Technology Readiness Levels Cheat Sheet by

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Technology readiness levels

Technology readiness levels

Level
Desc­rip­tion
1. Basic principles observed and reported
Lowest level of technology readiness. Scientific research begins to be translated into applied research and develo­pment (R&D). Examples might include paper studies of a techno­logy’s basic proper­ties.
2. Technology concept and/or applic­ation formulated
Invention begins. Once basic principles are observed, practical applic­ations can be invented. Applic­ations are specul­ative, and there may be no proof or detailed analysis to support the assump­tions. Examples are limited to analytic studies.
3. Analytical and experi­mental critical function and/or charac­ter­istic proof of concept
Active R&D is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate the analytical predic­tions of separate elements of the techno­logy. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or repres­ent­ative
4. Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory enviro­nment
Basic techno­logical components are integrated to establish that they will work together. This is relatively “low fidelity” compared with the eventual system. Examples include integr­ation of “ad hoc” hardware in the labora­tory.
5. Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant enviro­nment
Fidelity of breadboard technology increases signif­ica­ntly. The basic techno­logical components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so they can be tested in a simulated enviro­nment. Examples include “high-­fid­elity” laboratory integr­ation of compon­ents.
6. System­/su­bsystem model or prototype demons­tration in a relevant enviro­nment
Repres­ent­ative model or prototype system, which is well beyond that of TRL 5, is tested in a relevant enviro­nment. Represents a major step up in a techno­logy’s demons­trated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype in a high-f­idelity laboratory enviro­nment or in a simulated operat­ional enviro­nment.
7. System prototype demons­tration in an operat­ional enviro­nment.
Prototype near or at planned operat­ional system. Represents a major step up from TRL 6 by requiring demons­tration of an actual system prototype in an operat­ional enviro­nment (e.g., in an aircraft, in a vehicle, or in space).
8. Actual system completed and qualified through test and demons­tra­tion.
Technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected condit­ions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the end of true system develo­pment. Examples include develo­pmental test and evaluation (DT&E) of the system in its intended weapon system to determine if it meets design specif­ica­tions.
9. Actual system proven through successful mission operat­ions.
Actual applic­ation of the technology in its final form and under mission condit­ions, such as those encoun­tered in operat­ional test and evaluation (OT&E). Examples include using the system under operat­ional mission condit­ions.

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