How We've Always Done Things

To ensure our customers stay ahead of ready, we’re adopting a transformative culture to adapt our processes and technologies to the ever-changing technological landscape. The key to culture change is our people.  

August 09, 2023
Chris and
Chris and Wife in Madeira, Portugal

When Chris, signal/image process engineer and his team were planning for an upcoming critical flight-testing event, they asked themselves, “What if we did it this way?” and they were so glad that they did.  

For some programs at Lockheed Martin, planning and executing a flight-testing event typically requires at least three things: 

  • Reserving range time
  • Subcontracting aircraft rental and pilot time
  • Airworthiness and safety certification

Aircraft rental can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to reserve for multiple weeks of hardware integration and pre-flight testing, culminating in the test event itself. This is in addition to managing the logistics of range scheduling and spending hundreds of labor hours on pre-flight preparations. 

Innovative technology is implemented when bright minds are brought together. A new process takes effect when bright minds collaborate.

“It’s not that this was the wrong way to execute, it just didn’t meet our tight timeline and budget,” Chris added.  

Instead of adhering to the same processes, the team began collaborating with their peers and took a proven method and tool, and then applied it to the upcoming flight test. 

What was the idea? Using a drone!

Why not use a drone? They are accessible, easy to use, and a good mechanism for risk reduction of first-time events, as well as increasing technical-readiness level. 


Chirs and Team


When Chris and his team brought this idea to leadership, they were thrilled with the cost and schedule improvements this new solution provided. And the results were truly amazing! 

“It was exciting to see how something that worked previously could give us a rapid prototype that went from concept to flight test in six months,” said Chris. 

Chris’ project innovation would not have been possible without the transformational culture and mindset at Lockheed Martin.

“The support we had to think differently and try something new truly makes my job an engineer’s dream,” he said.