Modern aircraft employ hundreds of electronic systems and components, sophisticated communication networks, and miles of electrical wiring to deliver advanced functionality. Recognizing this increased complexity, the US Department of Defense identified the need to apply model-based approaches to enable innovation while keeping programs affordable and on schedule. This starts with systems engineering, proceeds to architectural definition and logical/physical design and extends into production and operational sustainment.
However, many program teams still use semi-manual methods and physical hand-offs to communicate between systems and design engineering teams. These obsolete methods uncover issues late in the program life cycle, forcing costly iterations, workarounds, and product delivery delays.
This paper describes a model-based approach to bridge systems engineering and the downstream lifecycle it guides. A variety of systems models, from SysML to simple text based descriptions, are normalized to drive development processes for multiple disciplines, e.g. electrical, electronic, and networks. A digital thread is established across the development lifecycle. This ensures rapid communication of requirements, operational concept and signal definition downstream, and timely information of interface control definition upstream. Furthermore, traceability from systems requirements and models is retained through the life cycle, facilitating compliance evidence generation and ensuring the fulfillment of each requirement.