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Boeing consolidates major defense, space programs

Boeing is consolidating management of several of its vanguard defense, space and commercial programs under a single development organization, a move the company says will improve efficiency and cut costs for the US military and other customers.

Six programmes "managed elsewhere" in the company will now be administered by Boeing Defense and Security Development. On the defense side, the US Air Force KC-46 aerial refueling tanker and the presidential aircraft recapitalization effort to replace Air Force One with at least two Boeing 747-8s will come under BDS Development purview.

Space programmes that will be realigned include the CST-100 spacecraft for NASA's commercial crew programme, the space launch system rocket designed to take humans beyond Earth's orbit and the 502 small satellite development project.

Work on the 777X commercial airliner also will fall under the new BDS banner, the company says.

Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher says the restructuring is part of BDS chief executive Chris Chadwick's plan to compartmentalise efforts according to stages of product development.

Under the restructuring, the Boeing's top-secret Phantom Works will focus on future technology and capabilities investment, while BDS Development will take charge of platform development. Boeing Military Aircraft and Network and Space Systems will focus on production and the Global Services and Support division will handle training and maintenance.

"Development requires specific and unique process, resources, and management oversight to be successful," Blecher tells Flightglobal. "We've inconsistently applied those on some efforts."

"Chris Chadwick and Jim McNerney decided we had to change how we do development, so we execute well from day one. Centralising development people, processes and resources, as Boeing Commercial Airplanes has done, should accomplish that. That focusing supports the goal of delivering the right capabilities at the right time and cost."

Another Boeing spokesperson tells Flightglobal the move is an effort to align industry development processes with the US Defense Department's desire to procure new technologies affordably and efficiently.

Boeing Defense's reorganization will "enhance its performance on the pre-production development activities that significantly influence its ability to provide customers with the right capabilities at the right time and cost", the company says.

Chadwick says the new division will help improve cost efficiency on high-priority defense and space development programmes.

"We expect our customers to see step-function improvements in affordability and schedule performance as we more effectively apply engineering expertise, development program best practices, and program management and integration from across Boeing to our most important development activities," Chadwick says in a prepared statement.

The foundation of BDS development was based on the organisation Boeing uses to develop commercial aircraft, the company says. It also will involve shuffling executives.

Jim O'Neill, formerly president of the BDS global services and support unit, will take the helm of BDS development. BDS chief financial officer Leanne Caret will take over for O'Neill. She will be succeeded by Boeing's corporate vice president of tax Jim Zrust.

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