T-7A, DEFIANT tapped technology titans

December 03, 2019 in Defense

Paul Niewald remembers watching for his father’s copy of Popular Science magazine to come in the mail. “I used to be amazed reading about all the cool things predicted for the future,” Niewald said. “Now I’m working on one of them.”

That’s because Niewald is chief engineer and senior director for Boeing’s T-7A trainer, which this week was named, along with the SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter, to Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” list.

Popular Science screened thousands of technologies – from companies, universities and government agencies – to determine its top 100 and describes the list as “the most pivotal, influential and just plain awesome innovations” of the year.

The T-7A is an all-new advanced pilot training system Boeing designed for the U.S. Air Force. Using model-based engineering, the program accounted for a 75 percent increase in first-time engineering quality.

“A recognition for product innovation is really a recognition of our people,” said Chuck Dabundo, vice president and program manager for Boeing T-7 programs. “This team rallied around the idea of ‘breaking the norm,’ using 3-D modeling and other new production techniques that are being noticed by the entire aerospace industry and by our customers.”

With DEFIANT, Boeing and partner Sikorsky have designed, engineered, built and are flying a revolutionary aircraft to help inform the next generation of military helicopters as part of the Department of Defense Future Vertical Lift program. Program officials say DEFIANT is unlike any production rotorcraft available today, a leap forward in technology to meet the Army’s survivability requirements in a cost-effective aircraft.