In brief

In brief

  • More complex aircraft design and the need to lower costs and accelerate time to market create major challenges for aerospace and defense original equipment manufacturers.
  • The continued use of traditional, document-based processes is a major hurdle to respond effectively.
  • They must move to a new approach deploying model-based systems engineering to infuse digital and collaboration into product development life cycles.

A progressive approach to product development

Aircraft designs are becoming increasingly complex and customers are demanding more connected aircraft. At the same time, aerospace and defense companies must accelerate production and address rising costs. This challenge extends across the global aerospace and defense supply chain, and to address it effectively requires a new approach to replace the traditional reliance on document-based, manual processes.

The solution lies in an end-to-end model-based systems engineering (MBSE) strategy. Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) applies digital modeling techniques throughout the product development life cycle to evaluate system requirements, design, analysis and verification and validation.

Implementing MBSE can help aerospace and defense companies to increase customer and supplier collaboration, improve engineering efficiency, allow for more rapid product development iterations and drive down in-service support costs. That’s essential as today only 21 percent of aerospace and defense leaders say that they successfully translate their digital deployments to significantly improve their new product development (NPD) cycle lead times.1 For example, the product development process for Boeing's T-X trainer aircraft used MBSE, along with an agile product development approach. This enabled Boeing to achieve a 75 percent increase in engineering first-time quality and an 80 percent2 reduction in the touch labor required on the aircraft. The result? The flight of two T-X aircraft within three years of program launch.

Securing the benefits of MBSE

To achieve the benefits that an MBSE strategy can deliver, aerospace and defense companies must build a collaborative culture as well as implement process changes to expand the use of model-based software tools across product development and in-service contractual requirements3.

What’s more, as 87 percent of aerospace and defense executives expect supplier and intellectual property management to be part of their digital twin and digital thread strategy in the next three years4, MBSE has become an essential foundation for large complex engineering companies seeking to harness digital thread and digital twin capabilities to drive engineering productivity and enhance supply chain collaboration.

Moving forward

So how can aerospace and defense companies effectively deploy MBSE to reduce cycle time and accelerate time to market? They need to address four key imperatives for the successful implementation of an MBSE strategy.

  1. Strategy

    Establish an end-to-end MBSE strategy with an enabling culture that connects people, processes and data across design, engineering, manufacturing and in-service functions.

  2. Governance

    Establish end-to-end digital twin governance to bring business/operational functions and stakeholders together.

  3. Collaboration

    Define and collaborate through a single source of the truth by integrating models for design, engineering, manufacturing and in-service support.

  4. Processes

    Replace the exchange of documents with suppliers for digital models that foster a faster iterative product development process.

Get the essentials in under 1 minute

To master complexity, cost and faster time to market, aerospace and defense OEMs must move from document-based processes to new model-based systems.

Marc Gelle

Senior Managing Director – Aerospace & Defense, Europe

Ajay Chavali

Managing Director


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