The program had many requirements, and the Raytheon Intelligence & Space team used digital engineering to complete them in record time. Using what’s known as a digital thread, they built and connected virtual models that gave them a clear understanding of what small design changes would do.
“Digital engineering is a powerful tool in our community that’s helping us build a better product,” said Garrett Brown, Raytheon Intelligence & Space’s chief architect for FORGE. “We are addressing the customers’ needs more quickly but also at the speed of relevance – everything is linked together.”
Core to the digital engineering approach is the concept of failing fast: recognizing shortcomings early, and quickly pivoting to alternatives. According to Casey, a lot of this success is the team that was willing to learn something new, and not be constrained by doing things “the way we always have.”
“We took traditional tools away from engineers that they used their entire careers, and we challenged them to use model-based engineering to establish tech baselines in a new way,” she said. “We had several fails with tooling, processes, and training, and we accepted that as OK. Instead, we embraced the problem, and found a better way and moved forward,” said Casey.
Moreover, digital engineering is helping Raytheon Intelligence & Space meet its mandate to deliver the technology its customers need in a timely way, according to John Balaguer, the business’ vice president of engineering.
“It’s about getting speed and capability out to our customers quickly,” Balaguer said. “This customer has been clear with us from very early in the competition they wanted new capability quickly at a reasonable cost and they wanted strong digital content – meaning not a lot of human hand-off. The FORGE team did an outstanding job winning this competition and now we have to deliver.”