F35 - Money well spent.

bob231

War Hero
The Japanese have come up with some magnificent methods to improve a manufacturing process and the general output of a factory or workshop.

On a good day, these gemeralise pretty poorly. Further, they all require discipline and rigorous attention to detail (my very first job interview was for an Industrial Engineering role, my homework stayed with me).

This does not prevent many either selling or adopting partially-understood systems to an unalike environment - typically at nontrivial expense - and being bemused when they do not produce magic gains in productivity.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The problem with a lot of these project management ideas is that the theory is great, but the practitioners thereof are not as studious a disciple as they should be. What's worse, they often peddle the ideas like snake oil ( as has been pointed out ) or the new fashion. People often race and cut more corner than Schumacher , which results in the blokes in the pits having to double up to rescue the project.
This.

Or, they just want to cherrypick the best bits/go through the motions and expect that to somehow work.

A friend of mine runs the UK practice of a large international consultancy. He was recently involved in a project with a large public authority in the UK. Said public authority has signed up to some form of charter which emphasises quality and best practice over bottom-line price, the aim being to derive true best value, etc.

There was a multi-stage process to be gone through to ensure that this happened. Said public authority wanted to cut out four of them, each major stages, "to save time and money - because doing this is expensive", and yet still proclaim that it has signed up to/is adhering to the standard.

Same friend was involved in an IT project (I'm being as vague as I can be to protect identities, here). There came the point of the crunch call on price. He told them what it would cost. He got a spluttering "But that's over three time the price of when we last did it."

... to which his response was, "Yes, that's why you're having to re-let the contract just 18 months later."
 
...as the Canadians recently demonstrated when they bought the RAAF's old F-18s, rather than a bunch of (same name, similar shape, different aircraft) Super Hornets.

But do you really "already know how to fly, maintain, and use" a new-build Block 72 F-16, if you're currently operating Block 25 like the Air National Guard? Different radar, ESM suite, mission computer, nav system, cockpit layout, engine model? I'd rather hope that unlike the 737-Max, Boeing won't insist that "an F-16 is an F-16" and that the pilot conversion training is minimal...
Way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was an Air Cadet I remember an article in an RAF flight safety magazine.

It regarding an FAA FJ pilot who transfered to the Australian equivalent and flew off their carriers.

He noted that on the Oz carriers there was only ever one Mk of each airframe. As a result the swichology, handling and procedures were exactly the same across that fleet and this reduced pilot stress with reduced fatalities from ‘mishaps’.

He also stated that a similar attitude to safety and training was present in Quantas when he started flying with them - which might be the cause of their excellent safety record.

Let us hope that old lessons are not forgotten.
(How the hell can I remember this crap but not what I heard in a Teams meeting 20 minutes ago. Off to write an email to ask her what she said again...)
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
Way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was an Air Cadet I remember an article in an RAF flight safety magazine.

It regarding an FAA FJ pilot who transfered to the Australian equivalent and flew off their carriers.

He noted that on the Oz carriers there was only ever one Mk of each airframe. As a result the swichology, handling and procedures were exactly the same across that fleet and this reduced pilot stress with reduced fatalities from ‘mishaps’.

He also stated that a similar attitude to safety and training was present in Quantas when he started flying with them - which might be the cause of their excellent safety record.

Let us hope that old lessons are not forgotten.
(How the hell can I remember this crap but not what I heard in a Teams meeting 20 minutes ago. Off to write an email to ask her what she said again...)

Oh ignore such nonsense.

Pilots don't know what they want, or what is best for them.

No listen to this 21 yr old consultant from the big accountancy firm with the profit warning. They've got your best interests at heart.
 

Slime

LE
This.

Or, they just want to cherrypick the best bits/go through the motions and expect that to somehow work.

A friend of mine runs the UK practice of a large international consultancy. He was recently involved in a project with a large public authority in the UK. Said public authority has signed up to some form of charter which emphasises quality and best practice over bottom-line price, the aim being to derive true best value, etc.

There was a multi-stage process to be gone through to ensure that this happened. Said public authority wanted to cut out four of them, each major stages, "to save time and money - because doing this is expensive", and yet still proclaim that it has signed up to/is adhering to the standard.

Same friend was involved in an IT project (I'm being as vague as I can be to protect identities, here). There came the point of the crunch call on price. He told them what it would cost. He got a spluttering "But that's over three time the price of when we last did it."

... to which his response was, "Yes, that's why you're having to re-let the contract just 18 months later."

Complete thread drift alert.
Have you seen Len McCluskey in the news today?
He has overseen a bit of a fiasco with an over 1000% increase of cost..............No surprise there really.
 
Oh ignore such nonsense.

Pilots don't know what they want, or what is best for them.

No listen to this 21 yr old consultant from the big accountancy firm with the profit warning. They've got your best interests at heart.
All design/production methods entail risk. The old ways represent evolution at work: small increments which are demonstrated to be better and also acceptably safe going forward. Folks can always fall back onto 'tried and tested' ways if the new thing that's been experimented with doesn't quite work out.

'Agile' is supposed to be a revolution, with all that a leap of faith into the unknown brings with it. The consultants are snake-oil persons of sale with no stake in the final outcome of the project. If the project doesn't go right, well the folks must not have implemented the new technique correctly or followed all their expensive advice to the fullest extent. The project can always hire the consultants to dig them out of a hole...
 
Pressure from America, however they do like meteor.

Given how much more the Japanese have proven they can squeeze out of the American products they've bought and used in the past I'd argue that improvement capability is worth telling the Yanks to f**k off unless they're willing to cough up a free upgrade.
 
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Otoh the R-R Merlin went through so many marks that, on average through its production run, they did a version every three months - and a lot of major agile software projects do just that release drumbeat, two major and two minor versions a year.
 
Otoh the R-R Merlin went through so many marks that, on average through its production run, they did a version every three months - and a lot of major agile software projects do just that release drumbeat, two major and two minor versions a year.
You'd do that with the Merlin to continuously improve it to make it faster, cheaper, better. If not the competition will outperform you and people will die.
The last few 'agile' s/w projects I've been involved in, I've found that after a year the development backlog consists of around 75% of remediations to fix the defects that were introduced in the quarterly releases due to inadequate testing. Often defects were deprioritised as the product manager was screaming for a new bright and spangly feature to be added instead and developers would rather work on new stuff that fix the old.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
You'd do that with the Merlin to continuously improve it to make it faster, cheaper, better. If not the competition will outperform you and people will die.
The last few 'agile' s/w projects I've been involved in, I've found that after a year the development backlog consists of around 75% of remediations to fix the defects that were introduced in the quarterly releases due to inadequate testing. Often defects were deprioritised as the product manager was screaming for a new bright and spangly feature to be added instead and developers would rather work on new stuff that fix the old.
Microsoft Walt.
 

Slime

LE
I wonder if people are trying to over think the concept here?

One example I heard about NGAD could relate to the section of Sea Harrier below.
55277063-7855-4788-BE25-78D5452E4A38.jpeg


If it was found that for example, two extra fixings were desired for a more secure fit the NGAD approach would be that by changing the amount of fixings on a screen would at the same time automatically:

Increase the order of fixings.
Alter all ‘drawings’
Add the extra fixings to work sheets.
Allow the extra holes to be drilled automatically on new parts if done via a mill.
Changed the level of spares ordered.
Change the inspection routine.
Change the maintenance requirement if needed.

None of the above is rocket science, but IF the idea worked, just one change would affect everything it needed to automatically, and with the biggest difference (that I could see) being the ‘intelligent’ changes to maintenance or servicing schedules if necessary.
The difference not being that a change of fixing method or wiring making a difference to servicing, but that the change being more automated and done with A.I. assistance.

The above wouldn’t change for changes sake, but a reaction to an issue done more quickly.

If the USA are going to start banging out aircraft more quickly, and have multiple fleets, or mini fleets, the old way of doing things just won’t keep up.
I have no idea at all if a modern aircraft type or sub type can be designed and made each year or two* but that’s the plan USAF want.

As an aside, an Aviation Week feature popped into my inbox earlier talking about an agile approach to new Gripen software.

*Things have changed an awful lot in complexity since the super quick design/build of the A4.
We also have to wonder if all the new aircraft would be to the same quality standards or whether some would be a cheaper and more disposable model.
 
Tried and tested, doing it like it always been done, sounds to me like a fear of change.
I was indirectly pointing out that you were introducing a false dichotomy by redefining two positions in a way that suits your desired answer. By redefining the two positions in a different way, I can paint you as a reckless revolutionary who sees a new system as a way to advance his own career with scant thought to the lives you’ll ruin or end by cutting corners.
The procurement model NGAD ascribes to is so common that even the average man on the street modifying a car etc can go to a myriad of companies and have parts modelled and fabricated or made at a fraction of the time and cost.
The thing is that a car is not an aeroplane. This may, I realise, come as a shock.
Aircraft are incredibly weight-optimised compared to a car. Part of the way this is achieved is by paring down the safety margin, the difference between the strength of the structure and the maximum load, by way of carefully identifying what the maximum load is and identifying and controlling what the minimum strength is.
Looking at the consequence of failure for an aeroplane vs. for a car and the nature of failure in an aeroplane vs a car, the aircraft failures are much more severe and much more abrupt, the former being due to the operating environment and the latter due to the high performance materials needed to meet the weight efficiencies needed.
There will be some components on an aircraft that are less important in terms of safety and can be changed easily. Other components can have effects that affect other components far beyond their immediate locations.

Beyond all of that you have to identify who makes the changes and who owns the risk?
 

Slime

LE
I was indirectly pointing out that you were introducing a false dichotomy by redefining two positions in a way that suits your desired answer. By redefining the two positions in a different way, I can paint you as a reckless revolutionary who sees a new system as a way to advance his own career with scant thought to the lives you’ll ruin or end by cutting corners.

The thing is that a car is not an aeroplane. This may, I realise, come as a shock.
Aircraft are incredibly weight-optimised compared to a car. Part of the way this is achieved is by paring down the safety margin, the difference between the strength of the structure and the maximum load, by way of carefully identifying what the maximum load is and identifying and controlling what the minimum strength is.
Looking at the consequence of failure for an aeroplane vs. for a car and the nature of failure in an aeroplane vs a car, the aircraft failures are much more severe and much more abrupt, the former being due to the operating environment and the latter due to the high performance materials needed to meet the weight efficiencies needed.
There will be some components on an aircraft that are less important in terms of safety and can be changed easily. Other components can have effects that affect other components far beyond their immediate locations.

Beyond all of that you have to identify who makes the changes and who owns the risk?

Due to my obvious shock at your post my tongue may now be in my cheek.

Oh my yes, you are right, what a complete and utter shock, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you..........totally shocked

Do you think I should invent a time machine so I can go back around four years ago, go to USAF and tell them their new concept is rubbish because cars are different to planes..............And that by showing how commonplace part of their new process has become doesn't count because some random ARRSE poster has said cars aren’t planes?? ;)

As for your last paragraph, that’s already been covered too.............
Unless of course you know better :)

A cynic might wonder why the U.K.(or just ARRSE) aren’t world leaders in military aircraft building and sales...........After all, ALL the US has done design and build something and fly it............Clearly they aren’t a patch on the ARRSE collective.

On the other hand, perhaps the US have just been lucky, maybe their design process didn’t work and couldn’t work, maybe no one knows who made any decisions, and it was just pot luck that they managed to design, build and fly something in a very short period of time :)

Maybe there is an area 51 hangar full of random monkeys randomly typing away, and they struck bingo on their first go. :)

To be serious, give your head a bloody wobble will you. A laser scanner works the same whether it’s looking at an Allegro, F1 racing car or aircraft.....or even at a crime scene.

The same applies to 3D printing the results of the scan for further modelling.
You may already know the RAF have used carbon parts made by companies whose actual primary business is making carbon car parts.
 
...as the Canadians recently demonstrated when they bought the RAAF's old F-18s, rather than a bunch of (same name, similar shape, different aircraft) Super Hornets.

But do you really "already know how to fly, maintain, and use" a new-build Block 72 F-16, if you're currently operating Block 25 like the Air National Guard? Different radar, ESM suite, mission computer, nav system, cockpit layout, engine model? I'd rather hope that unlike the 737-Max, Boeing won't insist that "an F-16 is an F-16" and that the pilot conversion training is minimal...
Given that the F-16 is a Lockheed-Martin product, I suspect that they won't...
 
I wonder if people are trying to over think the concept here?

One example I heard about NGAD could relate to the section of Sea Harrier below.
View attachment 563386

If it was found that for example, two extra fixings were desired for a more secure fit the NGAD approach would be that by changing the amount of fixings on a screen would at the same time automatically:

Increase the order of fixings.
Alter all ‘drawings’
Add the extra fixings to work sheets.
Allow the extra holes to be drilled automatically on new parts if done via a mill.
Changed the level of spares ordered.
Change the inspection routine.
Change the maintenance requirement if needed.

None of the above is rocket science, but IF the idea worked, just one change would affect everything it needed to automatically, and with the biggest difference (that I could see) being the ‘intelligent’ changes to maintenance or servicing schedules if necessary.
The difference not being that a change of fixing method or wiring making a difference to servicing, but that the change being more automated and done with A.I. assistance.

The above wouldn’t change for changes sake, but a reaction to an issue done more quickly.

If the USA are going to start banging out aircraft more quickly, and have multiple fleets, or mini fleets, the old way of doing things just won’t keep up.
I have no idea at all if a modern aircraft type or sub type can be designed and made each year or two* but that’s the plan USAF want.

As an aside, an Aviation Week feature popped into my inbox earlier talking about an agile approach to new Gripen software.

*Things have changed an awful lot in complexity since the super quick design/build of the A4.
We also have to wonder if all the new aircraft would be to the same quality standards or whether some would be a cheaper and more disposable model.
When I were but a metal-bashing lad some 30 years ago, we had a 3D CAD tool called Pro/Engineer that would do all the list of things quoted above and would go on to dump the codes to ANSYS to do an FEA on the new part to see if it was strong enough. Bill of Materials, CNC cutting paths, you name it, the tool would do it.

In short, it would leap tall buildings in a single bound. And that was 30 years ago...

Point is, this concept isn't new. What would be amazing would be if people actually did it: managers signed off the budget required to set up the new production lines, engineers to actually use the tools as they were meant to be used, and suppliers to come good on their OpenSTEP commmitments so data can be interchanged without fettling.

Otherwise, dressing NGAD (Not Getting Anything Done) as the next big thing is so much snake-oil...

Harrumph.
 
To be serious, give your head a bloody wobble will you. A laser scanner works the same whether it’s looking at an Allegro, F1 racing car or aircraft.....or even at a crime scene.
On a basic physical level that may be true, but you might find that the kind of laser scanner you use on each thing is different.
The same applies to 3D printing the results of the scan for further modelling.
There the kind of machines and controls will definitely vary depending on the end use.
You may already know the RAF have used carbon parts made by companies whose actual primary business is making carbon car parts.
I don’t doubt it. For primary structure or for fairings?
I also know that an aerospace qualified part/material costs much more compared to an automotive one.
When I were but a metal-bashing lad some 30 years ago, we had a 3D CAD tool called Pro/Engineer that would do all the list of things quoted above and would go on to dump the codes to ANSYS to do an FEA on the new part to see if it was strong enough. Bill of Materials, CNC cutting paths, you name it, the tool would do it.
I’ve seen the same shiny pitches. While it does do a whole bunch of smart stuff, the examples are very carefully chosen and set up before they are fed through the tool.
I can also say that dumping a model into an FEA code is a loooooong way from a representative FE model and further still from a useful set of answers.
 

Slime

LE
When I were but a metal-bashing lad some 30 years ago, we had a 3D CAD tool called Pro/Engineer that would do all the list of things quoted above and would go on to dump the codes to ANSYS to do an FEA on the new part to see if it was strong enough. Bill of Materials, CNC cutting paths, you name it, the tool would do it.

In short, it would leap tall buildings in a single bound. And that was 30 years ago...

Point is, this concept isn't new. What would be amazing would be if people actually did it: managers signed off the budget required to set up the new production lines, engineers to actually use the tools as they were meant to be used, and suppliers to come good on their OpenSTEP commmitments so data can be interchanged without fettling.

Otherwise, dressing NGAD (Not Getting Anything Done) as the next big thing is so much snake-oil...

Harrumph.

My posts throughout this thread have been around the fact the concept ISN’T new, just as you say, and is in widespread use around the world.
What of course wasn’t around all those years ago were laser scanners that could do the measuring instead of an engineer.

What seems to be different is USAF have adopted the practice during the last three to four years, and are now praising themselves :)

While NGAD has been the ‘poster boy’ for the concept, and US VSOs have praised the way they have built a flying demonstrator in a short period, I’ve heard just about nothing around the design and build of the B21.

As per an earlier post, the way of working, and tools for the job have gone from being exclusive to major players, right down to local/back street engineers and car modifiers and for many are now just the way to do things.

It’s like the amount of DIYers who now have a CNC router compared to twenty years ago when only large companies had them.
 

Slime

LE
On a basic physical level that may be true, but you might find that the kind of laser scanner you use on each thing is different.

There the kind of machines and controls will definitely vary depending on the end use.

I don’t doubt it. For primary structure or for fairings?
I also know that an aerospace qualified part/material costs much more compared to an automotive one.

I’ve seen the same shiny pitches. While it does do a whole bunch of smart stuff, the examples are very carefully chosen and set up before they are fed through the tool.
I can also say that dumping a model into an FEA code is a loooooong way from a representative FE model and further still from a useful set of answers.

It could be worth you looking up what carbon parts were made, only as they were made by the car (primary business) company as the RAF didn’t have the expertease or capability to do the work themselves.

While I have sometimes mocked friends who work in the F1 racing business*, it’s often the case that their tech is as good as any defence contractor anywhere.
Making lightweight, but fast and strong F1 cars is still ‘making cars’, but a world away from the Allegro I jokingly posted earlier. :)
The connection between F1 and the Allegro being that the same tools were used for making the 3D mock up parts.

*Someone once said they knew ‘all about’ aerodynamics as they worked in F1, and that it would be impossible to ‘stick’ a diffuser or lump onto anything that could increase speed or add to fuel economy.
I let them tell why why it couldn’t be done, then mentioned the ‘lumps’ ‘stuck’ onto the rear fuselage of some C130s that lower fuel use, and raise speeds.
 
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