Date of Award

Spring 2007

Access Restriction

Campus Access only research projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering


The Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman/BAE team was selected as the winning team to build what is considered the last manned combat aircraft, the F-35 Lightning II. The design was based on a commonality of parts between the three variants that will be used by the Air Force, Marines, and Navy. In building these air vehicles there are parts with a criticality rating requiring that they be traced from raw stock to assembly into the air vehicle. This record must be maintained for the life of the air vehicle. The Department of Defense (DoD) requirement, first published in 2003, stipulates that all defense contractors, including Northrop Grumman (NGC), serially label nearly every component and subsystem supplied to the DoD. The last air vehicle delivered to prime contractor Lockheed Martin Fort Worth (LM Aero) was delivered with 64 parts unaccounted for. NGC is currently preparing to ship the next air vehicle to Lockheed and is missing serial numbers on sixteen critical parts. When looking to see what the root cause may be, it became clear that this was not a one-dimensional problem, but actually three: Criticality Traceability, Parts Traceability as a whole, and Identification of each part per DoD mandate. Secondary problems were experienced by the misplaced parts such as: Schedule Delays, Added Resources and Increased Costs. The misplacement caused line personnel and their associated leads to resolve the issue and locate the part(s), thus impacting schedule and driving up costs.

This project dealt with identifying and assessing the systems engineering processes required to create a system that would allow 100% traceability of all traceable parts produced and supplied to Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, through production, and then final delivery to prime. The report examines five key systems engineering principles:

Requirements Definition and Management.

The system will be required to interface with all current databases and processes to ensure that all parts meeting DoD mandates for Identification and requiring traceability are automatically tracked from raw stock to delivery to prime.

System Architecture.

The proposed system will be an N-Tiered Web-based system that still retains existing databases using Microsoft Windows and browser-based clients. The ideal system will work by integrating all existing databases under one all encompassing system using API as the interprocess communicator.

System/Subsystem Design.

There will be three layers in the system, Application, Infrastructure, and Data which will be accessed by use of DAA, IDL, and CORBA with Java and guard technology used to give access rights to all requiring access to the system.

System Integration.

The system will be capable of interfacing with other applications throughout NGIS' supply chain including the Federal Government for transfer of content, for retrieval of content, and for content management lifecycle processes in which NGIS interacts.

Validation and Verification.

The test methodology should support a building block process for the integration of the systems. This should be a serial approach with strict entrance and exit criteria building upon each other.

LloydWilliams_Systems_Presentation_2007.pdf (6345 kB)
Oral Presentation