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Working together

 

THREE COMPANIES came together to develop the F-22 in the belief that their combined resources would be required to see the programme through to production. They are being proved right.

So far, the F-22 industry team has invested about $2 billion on the programme, estimates programme general-manager Tom Burbage. Much of the investment was made during the cost-sharing demonstration/validation phase, but industry has continued to put money into the programme. Most recently, the team agreed to fund $140 million in producibility improvements designed to reduce the F-22's average production unit cost, in a bid to safeguard the programme from budget shortfalls.

Costs and efforts on the dem/val programme were divided equally between Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics, but with Lockheed's acquisition of GD's Fort Worth division in 1993, its share of the development programme increased to 67.5%. Today, Lockheed Martin still holds that majority stake, while Boeing's share remains unchanged at 32.5%.

The F-22 programme is led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems (LMAS) in Marietta, Georgia. Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (LMTAS) in Fort Worth, Texas, and Boeing Defense & Space Group's Boeing Military Airplanes division in Seattle, Washington, are the principal subcontractors. Programme responsibilities, including manufacture of airframe sections, are divided up between the companies, but the integrated product-team environment ensures that all three are involved in every aspect of development.

"You could not find a closer tie between three teams," maintains Charla Wise, F-22 programme manager at LMTAS - the former GD Fort Worth division. She cites the "tremendous success" in mating the first aircraft at LMAS as a validation of the design tools which tie together the three companies, and their suppliers.

 

BALANCING WORK SHARES

Responsibilities have been adjusted over the years to balance workshares. Today, LMAS is responsible for overall weapon-system integration, as well as manufacture of the forward fuselage and tails and final-assembly of the aircraft. The company is also responsible for the F-22's avionics architecture, crew station, low-observable edges and apertures, and aircraft systems including environmental control, air data and landing gear.

LMTAS manufactures the mid-fuselage section, and is responsible for the flight-control system as well as the electrical, hydraulic, fuel and armament subsystems. The company also leads development of the communication/navigation/identification and electronic-warfare systems. LMTAS is responsible for development of the support system and operates the "iron-bird" vehicle-system simulator (VSS), fuel-system simulator, handling-qualities laboratory and full-mission simulator.

Boeing produces the wing and aft fuselage, and installs engines and auxiliary power-units. The company leads development of the radar and testing of the integrated avionics. It also operates the avionics-integration laboratory (AIL) and the 757 flying testbed (FTB), and is responsible for development of the training system. The company is also responsible for the fire-protection and man-mounted life-support systems.

Together, there are more than 80 integrated product-teams involved in development of the F-22. The environment has produced "positive results", says Air Force programme manager Gen Michael Mushala. Bringing together all disciplines from design to support, these teams have included the ultimate user of the F-22, US Air Force Air Combat Command. This has resulted in clearer articulation, constant re-affirmation and greater stability of the requirements, he says, adding: "There is a very clear understanding across the team of what we are to produce."

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