Prat Kumar, a vice president and F-15 program manager at Boeing, said the company's use of 3D modeling and digital engineering techniques to manufacture the F-15EX fighter jet could make the aircraft program a pathfinder for the U.S. Air Force's “Digital Century Series“ concept, National Defense reported Wednesday.
The concept seeks to accelerate future aircraft development through the adoption of advanced software development processes, open systems architecture, digital engineering and other techniques. Will Roper, assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics at the U.S. Air Force and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, discussed the concept on Tuesday during a teleconference with reporters.
“Taking advantage of digital engineering and precision manufacturing, we now bring [in] parts that have pre-drilled holes “¦ and we assemble that in a Lego-like fashion,“ Kumar said Wednesday during a teleconference. “It certainly provides flexibility in the supply chain as long as our supply base is equally enabled with the 3D modeling capabilities and advanced … manufacturing," Kumar said.
The report said Boeing is also developing the F-15EX aircraft based on the digital thread concept, a key element of the service's Digital Century Series initiative.
Boeing secured a potential $22.9B contract from the Air Force to design and build the fighter jet. The company will produce an initial lot of eight F-15EX jets under a potential $1.2B delivery order.