Boeing today announced new streamlined electronics testing guidelines for its tactical aircraft and missiles that are expected to save its suppliers and the U.S. government as much as $1 million annually and cut testing cycle times by as much as half.
The revised guidelines eliminate redundant and costly military specifications - many of which date back 30 years or more to the days of vacuum tubes. Developed as part of a U.S. Department of Defense acquisition reform effort called Single Process Initiatives, the new guidelines emphasize performance-based requirements rather than specific testing procedures.
"This is another successful example of how Boeing is using the flexibility of acquisition reform to help the company and its suppliers become more lean and efficient in their operations," said Al Haggerty, vice president and general manager of Engineering at the McDonnell Aircraft and Missile Systems unit of Boeing.
The Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army have approved the new processes for use by Boeing suppliers who provide electronic equipment to the production tactical fighters and missiles built in St. Louis. The company also is pursuing government approval to expand the initiative to Boeing government aerospace products built at other company sites.
"This is only a beginning in the cost-savings that Boeing and its suppliers can achieve through this new streamlined testing procedure," said Bill Stowers, vice president and general manager of Supplier Management and Procurement at McDonnell Aircraft and Missile Systems. "We have a number of initiatives under way to support our suppliers who are a vital member of the Boeing extended enterprise in their efforts to become more efficient."
Boeing began revising the test guidelines over a year ago to focus on performance and to eliminate non-value added work. The updated guidelines describe performance levels for electronic equipment under certain temperature, vibration and power conditions. They can be tailored to each supplier depending on the company's past performance, history of providing high-quality electronic equipment, and Boeing quality performance rating.
The revised guidelines apply to electronic equipment produced for the F/A-18 Hornet, F-15 Eagle, AV-8B Harrier II Plus, T-45 Goshawk and the Harpoon and SLAM ER missiles.
"Our suppliers can implement the new guidelines as they deem appropriate to help spread cost savings throughout the Boeing enterprise as quickly as possible," Stowers said.
"We've had years of experience and test results that proved the old specifications weren't the most effective way to test electronics," he said. "But now, with the government's acquisition reform drive, we have the flexibility and support to change the way we do business."