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Proceedings Paper

SHARP's systems engineering challenge: rectifying integrated product team requirements with performance issues in an evolutionary spiral development acquisition
Author(s): C. Stephen Kuehl
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Paper Abstract

Completing its final development and early deployment on the Navy's multi-role aircraft, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, the SHAred Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) provides the war fighter with the latest digital tactical reconnaissance (TAC Recce) Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor system. The SHARP program is an evolutionary acquisition that used a spiral development process across a prototype development phase tightly coupled into overlapping Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases. Under a tight budget environment with a highly compressed schedule, SHARP challenged traditional acquisition strategies and systems engineering (SE) processes. Adopting tailored state-of-the-art systems engineering process models allowd the SHARP program to overcome the technical knowledge transition challenges imposed by a compressed program schedule. The program's original goal was the deployment of digital TAC Recce mission capabilities to the fleet customer by summer of 2003. Hardware and software integration technical challenges resulted from requirements definition and analysis activities performed across a government-industry led Integrated Product Team (IPT) involving Navy engineering and test sites, Boeing, and RTSC-EPS (with its subcontracted hardware and government furnished equipment vendors). Requirements development from a bottoms-up approach was adopted using an electronic requirements capture environment to clarify and establish the SHARP EMD product baseline specifications as relevant technical data became available. Applying Earned-Value Management (EVM) against an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) resulted in efficiently managing SE task assignments and product deliveries in a dynamically evolving customer requirements environment. Application of Six Sigma improvement methodologies resulted in the uncovering of root causes of errors in wiring interconnectivity drawings, pod manufacturing processes, and avionics requirements specifications. Utilizing the draft NAVAIR SE guideline handbook and the ANSI/EIA-632 standard: Processes for Engineering a System, a systems engineering tailored process approach was adopted for the accelerated SHARP EMD prgram. Tailoring SE processes in this accelerated product delivery environment provided unique opportunities to be technically creative in the establishment of a product performance baseline. This paper provides an historical overview of the systems engineering activities spanning the prototype phase through the EMD SHARP program phase, the performance requirement capture activities and refinement process challenges, and what SE process improvements can be applied to future SHARP-like programs adopting a compressed, evolutionary spiral development acquisition paradigm.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 August 2003
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 5109, Airborne Reconnaissance XXVII, (8 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.488668
Show Author Affiliations
C. Stephen Kuehl, Raytheon Co. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5109:
Airborne Reconnaissance XXVII
Arthur A. Andraitis; Jerry D. Greer; Gerard J. Leygraaf, Editor(s)

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