The Digital hangar strategy defines digital engineering as an integrated digital approach that uses authoritative sources of system data and models as a continuum across disciplines to support service life activities.
Digital Hangar continues to be developed and will eventually house high-value design information for digital representations of aerospace systems that will inform decision-making across the services.
The strategy defines digital engineering as an integrated digital approach that uses authoritative sources of system data and models as a continuum across disciplines to support lifecycle activities from concept through disposal.
Goal is to “Discover, develop, and deliver air vehicle technologies that revolutionize the capabilities of next generation air vehicles and affordably sustain and enhance the fleet.”
Digital Hangar continues to be developed and will eventually house high-value design information for digital representations of aerospace systems that will inform decision-making within stakeholder organizations.
The Digital Hangar is focused on the design and analysis phase of the acquisition life cycle. “It’s a lot cheaper to address problems or to look at physics-based questions through simulation as a project moves up the scale to ground testing or even a flight test, where it becomes more and more expensive.”
“We want to know what types of information we should be generating and using to make decisions during early design phases because that’s where a lot of the costs for an aircraft get locked in. We want to know what types of information we should be gathering over the life cycle of the airplane. The idea is to identify what data is worth keeping, and reuse that data.”
It’s a good idea to give decision makers the options to explore concept development through digital means rather than going all the way to flight tests, We want to look at the preliminary concepts in terms of transitioning technology as early as we can to transition our technology more efficiently.”
The services plan to add new aerospace systems to Digital Hangar strategically, based on a set of rigorous validation and verification criteria. “We are taking a few candidate test cases and maturing those to see how it looks and is received. It really isn’t just a digital description of a model – it’s all the data that goes along with that model.
Navy could make better use of ship-readiness data if the service could adopt a faster process to write and field software, eyeing the upcoming launch of a new readiness-monitoring system as an opportunity to be more agile in software development.
Navy is pushing out an Enterprise Remote Monitoring sensor system that will capture data on how engines, turbines and other hull, mechanical and electrical systems are performing on a ship. But that data is only as good as the Navy’s ability to crunch it and use it to make decisions about ship maintenance, so Navy is “all in” on a faster way to generate questions and then write software code to mine the data for answers.
Any plane you fly on, there’s sensors on the engines, they’re talking to the ground, passing all kinds of parameter data from the engine. And they have environmental data – temperatures, altitudes, pressures – and they have actual performance data from the engines, power output, fuel inputs, the pressures and flows. All that. And it goes to the ground. And it’s being analyzed by algorithms that are looking for anomalous behavior.”
New Apps can compare actual system performance data with the ideal performance data – as determined by a virtual twin of the system running on the ground – and when an engine starts running too hot, for example, the app could suggest to pilots and maintainers on the ground that there might be a lube oil leak.
The launch of the Enterprise Remote Monitoring system – which a destroyer tested out earlier this year – will provide the performance data. Now, we need to start working on the apps to leverage that data and gain an understanding of whether the systems are functioning correctly, if they’ll need maintenance actions soon, if the operators could use them more efficiently, and so on.
There’s any number of ways that data from the Enterprise Remote Monitoring system could be crunched and contribute to readiness at sea and condition-based maintenance back ashore, both at an individual ship and a class-wide level. Different apps would be developed with algorithms to look at specific aspects of system performance. That’s where the “DevOps” model of continuous development, testing, fielding, monitoring, and improving software products comes in.
Industry has figured out how to write, validate and push out software updates for apps very rapidly in a denied operating system update or other event that forces them to act or lose customers. The Navy can’t react that quickly under its current systems engineering model, but effort is underway to change the mindset to one of continuous improvement, mirroring the DevOps model in the tech industry today.
“They’re continually developing software, testing it, releasing it, deploying it. You operate with it some, you monitor it, you learn things from it, you go back and change again. And that’s a continuous process.”
“This makes a lot of folks uncomfortable; Navy operators are not used to it since they like things that are predictable, things that can be tested rigorously and get … the data proving, yes, that’s going to work.
But there is some indication that leadership loves this new stuff.”
It will be a challenge for the Navy to push out software updates and new apps rapidly while also ensuring that the software would not harm ships and their ability to conduct real-world operations.
Sometimes the fleet needs enhancements in how sonar data is processed, and sometimes they ask for more complex things like software to integrate their combat systems with new torpedoes.
“Ideally, the first ones we want to try to do are mostly your reduction gears, your turbines. … Once we prove the concepts and get this thing kind of going, get the production line going, then we want to scale up to other things like weapons systems.”
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I was wondering if there is a way to quickly create multiple drawings from a single part that has multiple configuration? In application, there is a drop down menu that allows you to chose the configuration. The only way I've gotten this to work was to freeze the drawing, update the part to a different configuration then update a copy of the first drawing that is unfrozen. I was hoping maybe someone knew of a simpler and faster method.
I was simply providing an example. My models are not so simple. I use a design table to create dozens of different configurations which are all similar, but have different dimensions from hole pitch, hole size, part thickness and etc. What I'm trying to accomplish here is creating multiple sheets in a single drawing of each different design without the need to freeze to the sheet.
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A brand new scheduling system streamlines test and maintenance planning. Resources needed for testing are loaded into the Integrated Scheduling System to predict and manage project performance through appropriate integration, deconfliction and optimization, allowing digital hangar to meet its strategic, operational and tactical priorities.
Ensuring resources such as utilities, facilities and personnel are available to accommodate high-priority test and maintenance projects is essential to the success of the digital hangar mission.
In an effort to reduce work impacts and delays due to resource unavailability and conflicts in testing schedules, a new single master schedule has been developed to improve near- and long-term planning, decision making, efficiency and effectiveness.
The Integrated Scheduling System is a set of databases designed to collect project management information for test, repair and investment, and maintenance projects to plan and analyze the most effective way to approach and complete these projects.
“Better planning and scheduling will optimize our testing capability. We’ll be able to do more. It’s all about when we hear that whir from the Propulsion Wind Tunnel facility. That’s a great sound. When you hear the engines being throttled and pulled back, that’s a good sound. We want to hear those noises more often than silence. We can optimize the testing, have more air-on hours, with better planning and scheduling.”
The schedule system can also create implementation plans. The system is loaded with mission capabilities, capacity and resources for numerous projects. The system then uses this information to predict and manage project performance through appropriate integration, deconfliction and optimization, allowing digital hangar to meet its strategic, operational and tactical priorities.
“There are many competing interests that can impact the mission. Schedule conflicts can develop between multiple high-priority test customers. There are multiple competing users of utilities such as high-pressure air, cooling water and power. Facilities require maintenance that can impact testing.
“Funding alone cannot solve all of these conflicts, so what the scheduling system process does is it adds time as an additional resource that can resolve operational restraints by finding the best sequence to perform the priority work to maximize test time in the most responsible way possible.”
The schedule system can also project adequate staffing levels to serve projects slated to begin weeks, months and even years in advance. This information can be used to line up the completion of the steps necessary to move resources around, bring the new hires onboard, and get these new employees trained and up to speed to get started on the test or maintenance undertaking when needed.
“We have seen an increase in the craft work being scheduled, which optimizes the productivity of our workforce. We have measured a significant increase in identifying the work ahead of time and having the work ready for our workforce to execute. This is good progress, but we have a lot of work yet to do.”
The schedule system views projects in four distinct time horizons which can be accessed by users to serve different project management needs.
The first of these, the tactical horizon, includes projects up to two weeks out. This horizon is used primarily for sequencing and de-confliction of near-term test and outage work.
The focus of the short-term planning horizon, which includes projects up to six months out, is the integration of opportunistic maintenance work with priority test and outage work.
The mid-term planning horizon includes projects six months to two years out and focuses on resource allocation and staffing.
The long-term planning horizon, which includes projects two to seven years in the future, focuses on digital hangar capacity and capability.
“The work process of plan, de-conflict, test has been in operation here at the digital hangar is effective in reacting to near-term change as it occurs to ensure advancement of the mission. To fully implement the mid- to long-range planning with the schedule system requires a forward-looking mindset that will ensure that the work marches into the near-term in a well-planned, de-conflicted and organized manner.
“This will allow the digital hangar to maximize mission capability and provide greater schedule adherence for the test customers.
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