Military off-the-shelf (MOTS)


When the US government started looking for ways to save money and speed up development cycle time, they started looking at using commercially available products to satisfy their program needs. These types of products are known as COTS – commercial-off-the-shelf. A definition from Wikipedia is, “Commercial off-the-shelf or commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) is a term used to describe the purchase of packaged solutions which are then adapted to satisfy the needs of the purchasing organization, rather than the commissioning of custom made, or bespoke, solutions.” Many times, these commercial products need to be tweaked to meet the rugged environments many military programs encounter.

MOTS is born

rugged military power supply

Over time, COTS has morphed into MOTS (modified off-the-shelf or military off-the-shelf) where programs look to ruggedized COTS to meet the benefits of COTS products. These products are often designed at the manufacturer’s expense to be robust and rugged to meet the challenges of different environments like humidity, salt spray, dust, rain, high altitude, intense shock levels, rough vibration levels, etc. These MOTS software products offer the ability to be easily modified for a fee to meet program-specific needs.

Various military standards that MOTS products can meet are MIL-STD-704 (aircraft), MIL-STD-1275 (ground vehicle), MIL-STD-1399 (naval/shipboard/boat), MIL-STD-810 (environments), and MIL-STD-461 (EMI). All of these specifications have different requirements, so no one product can meet all of them simultaneously but will be designed to meet a certain set of requirements. For instance, a ruggedized COTS, aka MOTS, power supply listing compliance to MIL-STD-704 will meet at least one of the input voltage requirements such as 115 VAC, single phase, 60 Hz. Whereas a COTS power supply for ground will meet the MIL-STD-1275 voltage input requirements of 28V nominal input.

ACT Ruggedized COTS aka MOTS DC-DC and AC-DC


At Advanced Conversion Technology (ACT), we have been a designer and manufacturer of custom power supply solutions for over 35 years meeting various military standards. In the last few years, we have seen the need to offer rugged COTS products, aka MOTS, to meet the quick needs of programs while also meeting the demands of the various requirements. We realize that COTS military products provide a quicker solution for our customers to start testing their systems than waiting (and paying) for a custom solution with all the bells and whistles. As the customer’s testing progresses, the specifications will become more defined which will lead to a final version of the product to meet their system requirements. This final version may become custom and have some funding associated with it, but will take less time and less money than a completely new solution. To see how we can help you meet your specifications and better understand the COTS solution meaning, check out our COTS power supply page showing the AC-DC COTS Model SW2512 and DC-DC COTS Model SW2511 or contact ACT today to discuss your MOTS needs.

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