Dec. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus has joined with Georgia Institute of Technology to open a technical center for Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) for Overall Aircraft Design (OAD).
The Georgia Tech Center opened in October.
It’s an expansion of the Airbus footprint in the growing US Southeast aerospace footprint.
It’s also a step in transforming Airbus’ design technology, an effort that’s been underway in cooperation with European universities and institutes.
In an interview last month, Amanda Simpson, VP of research and technology for Airbus Americas, said that MBSE is independent of aircraft design.
Simpson said MBSE is used by Airbus to decide what aircraft design ideas may be optimized.
“It helps do trades” of designs and instead of doing the trades, “it goes all the way to optimize aircraft designs,” she said.
For example, MBSE can identify ways to avoid sub-optimal designs.
“MBSE allows a better evaluation of all concepts,” she said. “Airbus is building an eco-system of the best of the best.”
Georgia Tech joins Airbus partners, including the University of Michigan, the University of Southampton and others around the globe.
While Boeing’s close collaboration with NASA over the decades is widely known, less so is that Airbus also uses NASA resources.
“Airbus, like Boeing, is a global company and purchases services from around the globe,” Simpson said. “Some small research work, limited in scope,” is purchased from NASA.
Airbus, like other aerospace companies, uses MBSE to look at overall designs, details, sub-assemblies and materials. Simpson said MBSE can help decide whether to use composites or metals and round or ovoid shapes for fuselages.
The analytical models and locations have to be able to “talk to each other,” she said. “This is the system we’re taking to the Georgia Tech Center.”
Initially, Georgia Tech will focus on designs and flight physics. Later, a new contract will add manufacturing and production analysis.
“This could be an overarching architect to make intelligent, fact-driven decisions,” Simpson said. “This is about modernizing to make computer systems for design.”
But, she said, this is not a response to Boeing’s years-long effort to transform its design, manufacturing and production systems.
“This is Airbus trying to be the most efficient for our customers,” she said.
Still, just last week, Reuters reported that a major review of Airbus’ strategy is underway in advance of Guillaume Faury’s advancement from Airbus Commercial president to CEO of Airbus Group.
“Some analysts say it has fallen behind Boeing in manufacturing techniques – a gap that could grow if Boeing launches a mid-market jet with a new factory system,” Reuters wrote. “Executives are warning Airbus must not find itself lacking in proven technology for the A320’s successor after 2030, as it had been in wide-bodies when Boeing launched its 787.”
The initial Georgia Tech contract is for five years.
MBSE is not new. It’s been around for years. The National Defense Industrial Assn. defined MBSE in 2011:
Lockheed Martin presented an outline of MBSE in 2015.
Leeham News will not public on Dec. 24-26 or Dec. 31-Jan. 1 in observance of the Christmas-New Year holidays.
LNC begins its 2019 Outlook series Dec. 20. These all will be Paywall articles.
As always, if there is breaking news, LNC will publish irrespective of our planned time off.