Common is Anything But Boring: How Lockheed Martin Engineers Make Breakthroughs between Baselines
Threats change fast. That’s why Lockheed Martin applies unique software engineering methodologies to enable the U.S. Navy to reduce the time, cost, and effort required to create, deliver, and maintain the systems on the surface and submarine fleets.
As the U.S. Navy’s Combat System Engineering Agent, Lockheed Martin continues to innovate new, effective and efficient technologies for the surface Navy. Lockheed Martin has a single, automated production system for Product Line Engineering (PLE) – called the Aegis Common Source Library (CSL) – to assemble and integrate the systems and software assets needed to produce the entire Aegis product line – from U.S. and international ships to Aegis Ashore.
Aegis Baselines are released every four years – but software updates to rapidly address emerging threats and add high-priority capabilities are released more often than that. Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Speed to Capability (ASToC) initiative provides quick solutions to problems based on U.S. Navy feedback. The teams, which include Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy representatives, collaborate to go from concept development to system integration within six months.
Given the short timeline, the collaborative government/industry ASToC team works together from kickoff to identify possible design changes, prototype new solutions, and recommend performance improvements. The fevered activity leads up to the Integration Review, which is the final step where the software changes are fully integrated into the baseline and the improved performance is validated. The ASToC process accelerates the pace of development maintaining the high engineering standards that are the hallmark of the Aegis Combat System.
Their mission is critical to ensuring Aegis constantly evolves to pace emerging threats.
“The teams take full advantage of the Aegis Common Source Library and the open-architecture design of Aegis to deliver capabilities to the fleet.” - Tomy Joseph, ASToC manager
“We focus on updates that provide significant performance improvements and capability while keeping software changes to a minimum, which means about 5,000 to 15,000 lines of source code as opposed to millions of lines,” says Tomy Joseph, ASToC manager. “The teams take full advantage of the Aegis Common Source Library and the open-architecture design of Aegis to deliver capabilities to the fleet.” The Common Source Library enables the rapid deployment of new refinements, variations, and enhancements with much greater efficiency and significantly reduced cost. For example:
- The Aegis Weapon System realized more than $166 million in cost avoidance over the last three years.
- When the U.S. Coast Guard joined the Aegis family with its National Security Cutter, it identified product requirement specifications in two weeks instead of the expected four months.
“Lockheed Martin works closely with our customers to implement an extremely effective governance system that maximizes the benefits of product line engineering to establish an evolution path for Aegis,” said Richard Calabrese, director of Combat Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin. “The Aegis Common Source Library allows us to quickly and efficiently spread new capabilities throughout the Aegis fleet while reducing complexity and the cost of development.”
A range of Aegis updates -- from major new capability upgrades to impactful changes to address emerging threats – can be implemented in an affordable way.
Lockheed Martin partners with BigLever Software Inc. to enhance Aegis product line engineering. The success of this partnership resulted in Lockheed Martin being inducted into the Software Product Line Hall of Fame.
“Lockheed Martin’s induction into the Hall of Fame highlights the important role product line engineering plays in increasing quality, lowering costs, and enabling faster time to deployment in aerospace & defense, one of the most challenging, complex sectors,” said Dr. Charles Krueger, BigLever’s CEO. “Lockheed Martin joins previous Hall of Fame inductees across a range of industries, demonstrating the substantial benefits that PLE has delivered for all types of organizations that need to manage the complexity of product line variation.”