December 2004/January 2005
Volume 03, Issue 8
|Integrated Defense Systems|
New buzz in the Hornet family
From 10,000 feet, the EA-18G looks remarkably like its cousin, the F/A-18F. But this member of the Hornet family has a different kind of sting. The "G," as it's called, will perform the critical airborne electronic attack mission for the U.S. Navy's tactical aircraft fleet, jamming enemy radars and communications to allow fighter and attack aircraft like the Super Hornet to fly into enemy airspace virtually undetected.
The "G," based on the battle-proven F/A-18F airframe, will accomplish this using a variety of electronic jammers in conjunction with sensitive radar and communication sensors, some of which are currently on or being developed for the EA-6B Prowler, the Navy's current airborne electronic attack platform.
THINKING about the future
Nestled between the foothills and cotton fields of north Alabama, Huntsville appears to be a small town surrounded by farms. But at its center is a haven of science and technology-a place that's a vital player in the United States' space exploration and missile defense programs.
Huntsville hosts many leading U.S. aerospace companies-large and small-and major U.S. government organizations including NASA's Marshall Space Center, the Missile Defense Agency, the Army's Space and Missile Defense and Aviation and Missile Commands, and many innovative technology developers from the commercial sector. One of the shining stars in Huntsville is Boeing.
Exactly where they want it to be
The International Space Station has been safely orbiting the Earth these past six years thanks in part to the Boeing Guidance, Navigation and Control team. In November, the ISS team celebrated its sixth year of on-orbit operations with expedition crewmembers.
The 29-person Boeing GN&C team supports NASA in several areas including daily system monitoring, troubleshooting on-orbit anomalies, designing controls to support operations and upcoming assembly flights, and improving the system software.
The ISS has two navigation and control systems working in tandem, one in the Russian Zvezda Service module and one in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory module and S0 (center) Truss element. They operate simultaneously with one designated as the master system but with both exchanging data continuously for fault detection and redundancy. Each can navigate and control the station's orientation or attitude, but only the Russian segment has thrusters that can raise the altitude of the space station to overcome the decaying effects of atmospheric drag, or to avoid orbital debris.
'Tell us more about Lean'
At Boeing Satellite Systems, one good day deserves another. To help accelerate its transformation to a Lean enterprise, BSS will hold its second Lean Day on Jan. 26, a mere four months after conducting its inaugural Lean Day.
The initial Lean Day featured a full slate of exhibits, training, and guest speakers. About 160 leaders and change agents attended presentations by experts from across Boeing who offered insight into how Lean is being implemented on the C-17 Globemaster III, 7E7 Dreamliner and other programs. Additional Lean-oriented tools and techniques used in functions and programs at BSS were displayed at an onsite Lean exposition. All were part of the BSS accelerated transformation to Lean operations.
Give it a hand (or don't)
"Outstanding, outside-of-the-box thinking," he said after the flight in the Unmanned Little Bird, a Boeing project that combines the capabilities of manned or unmanned flight aboard a proven MD 530F manned helicopter. "This approach is spot-on target for future developments."
He confirmed that message to his readers at rotorhub.com and uvonline.com a few days later, writing, "Boeing's Mesa [Ariz.] division had sufficient confidence in their unmanned/manned MD 530F 'Little Bird' demonstrator to fly this reporter on only its fourth autonomously guided mission."
Lights shine on Blue Angels
Fat Albert never looked better. The C-130 cargo aircraft had its "formal" portrait taken last month with key members of its crew, courtesy of the St. Louis Boeing Creative Services team. Fat Albert, the support plane for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration team, and the team's six blue-and-gold F/A-18 Hornets are definite crowd pleasers and draw large audiences wherever they appear.
With a Hornet in the background, each Blue Angels pilot-including Commander Steve Foley-had his portrait taken for the upcoming 2005 air show season. The Blue Angels perform their aerial shows in front of millions of spectators each year at more than 35 locations.
Dan Jaspering and Don Hutcheson think a weapon flight test provokes a different sort of tension than an aircraft flight test. Problems can't be fixed or worked around after the weapon is "pickled," or released.
"Once you let go, all you can do is watch," said Jaspering, Small Diameter Bomb program manager for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "An SDB will fly anywhere from six to 12 minutes, and we joke about never realizing we could hold our breath that long."
The anxiety of Hutcheson, the program's business development lead, and Jaspering seems unnecessary in view of the program's record, but it's one more sign of the energy and innovation going into the development of the Small Diameter Bomb system. With a potential worth of over $2 billion for Boeing, the system will increase the efficiency of military aircraft by allowing them to carry more weapons, thus enhancing mission effectiveness.
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