|Integrated Defense Systems|
Boeing has called upon the expertise of people from around the company to assist NASA in its investigation into the Feb. 1 loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia during re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
Immediately following the accident, Boeing senior leadership assigned Tim Copes, Integrated Defense Systems vice president, Quality and Mission Assurance, to work with NASA, United Space Alliance and Boeing Shuttle teams to ensure they had access to the full capabilities of Boeing.
"One of the first calls I made was to our aircraft accident and investigation team based in Seattle," said Copes. "An airplane accident investigator and a structures expert were immediately dispatched to Texas to offer assistance in planning the recovery and reconstruction effort. Both have significant knowledge and experience in accident-investigation procedures, debris recovery and vehicle reconstruction."
"That's nothing of ours, just a piece of rock." The voice was that of Doug Gray, with a cell phone against his ear, trudging through a Texas farm field in search of debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia. "All right, let's move on," he said to others in his search party.
It was Gray's 11th energy-sapping day as one of a small army of searchers made up of Boeing, NASA and United Space Alliance personnel, sheriffs' deputies and even some orange-suited county inmates.
Although they discovered pieces, the odds were tough, like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. What key piece of mangled hardware contained the riddle of what went suddenly wrong on Feb. 1, when Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew were lost?
Out of the Giant Shadow
ScanEagle, a Boeing long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, took to the sunny Caribbean skies last month in support of the U.S. Navy's Giant Shadow exercise at a test site in the Bahamas.
By all accounts, the four-foot-long UAV performed very well in an operational environment. In five flights, ScanEagle demonstrated it could relay real-time data and provide video to participants in the exercise.
Giant Shadow was set up to explore how a network of forces consisting of a stealthy attack submarine, Special Operations Forces, unmanned vehicles and sensors could provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and then execute appropriate action.
Raptor line keeps moving, improving
A new moving wing line in the Boeing F/A-22 Assembly Center in Seattle is the latest in a series of improvements that are increasing efficiency and helping ensure the program meets its business goals.
The factory makeover, where the Raptor's wings and aft fuselages are built, also includes a new aft fuselage "tool-less" join station and wing subassembly feeder line.
Bob Barnes, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems vice president and F/A-22 program manager, said the changes are a great example of the Boeing team's effort to improve processes and make its assembly operations as lean as possible.
Right data Right time
Imagine the following scenario: Sensors onboard a flight of F/A-18 Super Hornets, flying combat air patrol, detect incoming unknown aircraft heading toward a U.S. Navy carrier battle group. Sensors on board the ships in the battle group also detect the aircraft.
The Super Hornet aircrews and the ship commanders need to know immediately: Are the aircraft hostile or friendly? Is the sensor information about the incoming aircraft accurate enough, specific enough, timely enough and in the right format to enable warfigthers to take action, or not take action, that is appropriate, quick and precise?
That's a question that John Lockard and members of the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Precision Engagement Strategic Business Council deal with frequently. Their task is to define Precision Engagement, one of the seven market segments for IDS, and map out strategies that Boeing IDS will use to meet customer needs and win new business.
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