Boeing (NYSE: BA) today announced the opening of a new $4.5 million expansion of its Modeling Simulation and Analysis Center (MSAC) in Philadelphia that will provide military customers with a state-of-the-art simulation environment supporting design and product integration decisions.
The expansion will offer the latest modeling and integration capabilities for a variety of Boeing programs, including the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS).
"The work being conducted at the MSAC and also at the Boeing Philadelphia site is bringing additional jobs and dollars to the region," said U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania . "The Center will develop cutting-edge technologies like FCS that will enable our nation's military to fight their missions safely and more effectively."
The expanded MSAC merges multiple government, industry and FCS laboratories into a single network environment of equipment and facilities across the country. That environment will allow Boeing, its industry partners and military customers to host multiple, simultaneous integration exercises throughout the United States. It also gives warfighters the ability to provide feedback about the design, development and analysis of equipment they will eventually operate.
"As the U.S. military shifts its focus toward network-centric operations, American industry has to stay ahead of those changes to ensure our soldiers have the advanced technologies they will require to prevail on the battlefields of the 21st century," said Roger Krone, vice president and general manager of Boeing Army Systems. "The expansion of the MSAC to include an FCS portal as well as rotorcraft and other military capabilities will allow customers to see firsthand how ultimate users will interact with systems and products that are still being designed before the items complete development and can be procured and deployed into operational use."
Used previously for rotorcraft development work, the MSAC features a high bay area capable of housing vehicles and equipment connected to the MSAC networks. It also features dome simulators; gaming, control and briefing rooms; and various laboratories linked together through a common communications area. The facility includes a new closed viewing area seating 37 people that supports engineering and testing interactions with several Boeing centers and the FCS Defense Research Engineering Network (DREN), a national network providing viewing, integration and interaction capabilities.
For example, through the MSAC, engineers and customers in St. Louis can observe and participate in a maneuver simulation in Huntington Beach, Calif. while flying an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or manned aircraft in Mesa, Ariz., and observing hardware and computer systems in Philadelphia. Flight simulators, hardware and software integration labs and maneuver simulations, such as the Advanced Tactical Combat Model (ATCOM), Combined Arms Support Task Force Evaluation Model (CASTFOREM), JANUS Battle Simulation and Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS), provide customers unprecedented insight into product design, integration and operation.
In the center, FCS officials can link actual fielded and instrumented equipment in the facility's high bay area into the virtual engineering environment to host multiple integration exercises throughout the country. MASC will bring war fighters and equipment into product design, development and analysis arenas.
The Boeing Philadelphia plant currently employs approximately 4,500 employees who primarily support Chinook, V-22, FCS, Advanced Rotorcraft and Aerospace Support programs. By year's end, up to 175 of these employees will be supporting FCS, the Army's largest and most technologically complex acquisition program in history.