Fort Worth, Texas – Leaders of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program are partnering with U.S. and international aerospace leaders, including Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) and BAE Systems (OTC:BAESY). These three primary partners are supported by up to 600 suppliers. In all, the parties involved in the production of the F-35 reside in more than 30 countries, spanning 17 time zones. Coordinating their efforts, fostering collaboration across the extended enterprise of companies with dissimilar development environments, and managing all of the several formats of design data involved in this project are critical challenges for the Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, prime contractor for the F-35.
To meet the challenges, Lockheed Martin has adopted Teamcenter® software provides industry-specific product lifecycle management capabilities. Teamcenter® is built on an open product lifecycle management foundation that connects people and processes to create and share product knowledge.
The F-35 program is expected to produce as many as 3,000 plus aircraft, which will have life spans as long as 30 years. All design and manufacturing data for each aircraft configuration must be managed as well as the data required to support the planes during their lifetimes. This means that every design change needs to be validated against all possible configurations. There is an additional challenge here as well: A key program goal is achieving cycle time reductions in both design and manufacturing.
The first phase of F-35 collaboration linked 5,000 users at facilities with security safeguards to ensure compliance with USA International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). To date, more than 6,500 users across the extensive supplier network have also been brought online, totaling more than 130 sites worldwide.
With a storage area network (SAN) containing more than five terabytes of product information, Teamcenter® supports workflow and design processes. Participants store data locally for improved response time — 70,000 data items are replicated across 15,000 locations daily with Teamcenter.
In addition to managing F-35 program information, Teamcenter® also manages several processes related to the aircraft’s development. For example, Teamcenter’s workflow capabilities control development and release processes, as well as product options and variants.
Lockheed Martin anticipates manufacturing time to be reduced by up to 66 percent, with a huge reduction in tooling. Spare parts needed are expected to be less than what they are for other fleets.