October 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 6 
Integrated Defense Systems

First gradesFirst grades

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems initiated Business Excellence just over a year ago to promote continuous improvement and improve results. The year included internal assessments to determine what's working well and what isn't. 

Boeing Frontiers spoke to Debbie Collard, Business Excellence director, to get an update on BE efforts.



Eagle's nest

Eagle's nestThe Australian Department of Defence begins its official summary of Project Wedgetail with a description of the wedgetail eagle, a native bird of prey. The eagle is known for its acute vision, wide range, ability to remain airborne for long periods, and uncompromising instinct to defend its territory. Not to mention that with its sharp talons and beak, 7.5-foot (2.3-meter) wingspan, and history of attacking helicopters and small airplanes, this predator is one intimidating beast.

For these reasons, Wedgetail is the name given to Australia's program to acquire Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) surveillance capability. With Boeing as the prime contractor and the 737-700 as the platform, most of the modification work to date has been located in Seattle.

A modified Wedgetail aircraft rolled out of the Boeing Field facility in March 2004 and another in August 2005; both are in flight test in the United States. They are scheduled for delivery to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown, New South Wales, in the fourth quarter of 2006.


Capability through connections

Capability through connectionsAs a U.S. Air Force officer during Operation Desert Storm, George Muellner commanded the Joint Surveillance Target Attack System unit that flew every night of the war. The E-8 (707-300) Joint STARS aircraft were equipped with mission systems that provided both air and ground commanders with wide-area surveillance and downlink of targeting information.

Although Joint STARS proved to be the most decisive intelligence asset of the war, its effectiveness was reduced by the inability to get its information to the decision maker or the warfighter rapidly. 

"Good intelligence that does not enable rapid and decisive decision making is of little value," said Muellner, now vice president and general manager of Air Force Systems for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.


Analyze this

Analyze thisPerforming a first-of-its-kind repair is a challenge in itself. But try assessing the need for repairs and developing repair techniques while the vehicle in question circles the earth at 17,500 mph (28,200 kilometers per hour) and an altitude of 225 miles (362 kilometers).

Boeing played a critical role in doing just that by helping NASA resolve several on-orbit anomalies during the most recent Space Shuttle mission, STS-114.

Boeing engineers fill console positions in the NASA Mission Evaluation Room at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The MER team, which includes representatives from NASA and industry, including Boeing, examines all data during a flight and makes recommendations on corrective actions for any observed problems.

Following a review of camera imagery from inspection of the Orbiter Thermal Protection System (TPS) with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, engineers spotted two protruding "gap fillers" between tiles on Space Shuttle Discovery's belly.



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