It is no secret the aerospace industry has a design and development problem. Most new jetliner programs over the last 20 years, including the Airbus A380 and A350 as well as the Boeing 777X and 787, dramatically exceeded their development timeframes and budgets. Seven to nine years or more is standard for clean-sheet programs. This is a far cry from the 777, which took five years to develop and deliver on time in 1995. The situation in military aerospace, from the KC-46 to the F-35, is equally dismal.
Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) is emerging as a potential solution to aerospace’s development problem, with the promise of reducing development times and budgets by 30% or more. What is MBSE, where has it made a difference, and what are its prospects?
MBSE is a model-centric, front-loaded engineering methodology that replaces document-centric and test-based development approaches. It breaks down barriers between engineering functions and enables rapid evaluation of alternative designs, including their manufacturing and sustainment costs, through simulation with digital twins. It is a key element of Industry 4.0.