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Aircraft Design in the 21st Century
Posted Mon April 08, 2002 @05:48PM
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News At a recent North Texas AIAA meeting, Dr. Pradeep Raj of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company made a presentation entitled "Aircraft Design in the 21st Century: Implications for Design Methods".

In his presentation, Dr. Raj noted that tactical aircraft have exhibited a factor of four increase in cost every ten years. Likewise, commercial aircraft costs have risen at a rate greater than the carrying capacity thereby driving the yield per passenger down.

Dr. Raj proposes an answer to these rising costs: "lean" production.


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Lean production focuses on reducing time:

  • time to move product from concept to launch
  • time to fulfill an order after receiving it
  • time to turn raw materials into finished products

Dr. Raj goes on to state that design has a disproportionately large impact (more than 80%) on the life cycle cost of an aircraft. Therefore, unless principle objectives of design include reducing costs, affordability will remain an elusive goal. Furthermore, because design is an iterative decision-making activity, methods developed to facilitate decision-making are key.

One such method is CFD. In discussing the pivotal role of CFD, Dr. Raj states that it is essential to ensure that required mission and cost targets can be met. Because numerous calculations are necessary during the design phase, Dr. Raj has defined some improvements necessary to increase the effectiveness of CFD:

  • reduce analysis cycle time from go-ahead to data delivery
  • produce data of reliable accuracy
  • decrease the cost of generating CFD data

Of these requirements, Dr. Raj counts the minimization of calendar time as the top priority.

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  • Aircraft Design in the 21st Century: Implications for Design Methods
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