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Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF Wins Top AvWeek Award

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I remember when the F-35 JSF program was awarded to Lockheed Martin. The complexity of its design and development reminded me of the scope of the International Space Station project.

Coordinating product development within a company can be difficult, much less among numerous companies and with nearly a dozen nations.

For those of you who are subscribers to Aviation Week, your current issue is probably arriving snail mail this week. Online subscribers can check it out here.

In it is a special supplement that highlights winners from its 2008 Program Excellence Awards. Their top award - the Overall Program Excellence Winner - was Lockheed Martin for the F-35 JSF program. From the magazine:

"The short-takeoff/vertical landing F-35B is one of three variants being developed under the multinational JSF program. The JSF will be the first stealth aircraft to be exported. Lockheed Martin is the JSF prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as industrial partners."

How rigorous is this competition? There were 23 companies competing. Lockheed won over nine other finalists. The evaluation team - which included 17 judges from leading aerospace manufacturers, suppliers and agencies as well as Aviation Week editors - judged programs on four categories: system, sub-system, research and development, and production and sustainment. They then selected the winners based on:

  • program complexity (fyi, Lockheed had 16 integrated product teams on their program)

  • value creation

  • operational and organizational performance

  • as well as requirements, cost and schedule

In addition, for the overall award, lessons learned and exceptional leadership are taken into account.

Since leadership is a critical element, I thought you might find it interesting to hear more from two of the lead guys on this program - Tom Burbage, EVP & GM, F-35 integration, and Dan Crowley, VP & GM, F-35 STOVL First Flight. These guys have quite extensive resumes (you can download their bios from JSF’s site).

My colleague Debra Dekelbaum was at the award reception and captured the two videos below from Tom & Dan. In the first, Tom notes how PLM played a key role in the program in providing one common database that is an engineering, manufacturing and sustainment tool, down to even training manuals. In the second, Dan notes how Teamcenter brings together all their distributed design teams in one "digital thread." That thread is leveraged by 7,000 Lockheed employees on the main JSF team and 10,000 folks in the larger supply chain.

[10/10 UPDATED: Dan's video removed at Lockheed's request.]

If you want to learn more about how JSF approaches PLM and uses Teamcenter, we have a case study that provides more detail. Here’s an interesting quote from it that highlights this program’s scope and complexity:

70,000 data items are replicated across 15,000 locations daily with Teamcenter. With replication taking place on this massive scale, the F-35 Program is the largest user of Teamcenter’s replication capability in the world.

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I checked out the case study and it’s very informative. The videos are great and very informative, too.

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[...] in more on Lockheed Martin, see these previous blog posts: Chuck Artymovich on their PPLM Strategy, F-35 AvWeek Award, Lessons in developing the [...]