Original Date: 10/20/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : 3-D Modeling and Design
Northrop Grumman uses 3-D modeling for the structural design and analysis of the aft tail section of the F/A-18 E/F program which it supplies to the prime contractor, Boeing, in St. Louis, Missouri. Based on this program and its earlier participation of 20 separate disciplines, Northrop Grumman established a 3-D master dimensions model. This model has been a major contributor to the company’s success in its on-schedule delivery of ten first-article units with no major interface discrepancies. On earlier model aircraft, 2-D models and drawings were developed in the design, manufacturing, and test stages as well as by major outside suppliers. This method required a large number of engineering change orders to resolve drawing discrepancies at the test and assembly stages.
Recent advances in the Unigraphics modeling and simulation software have enabled Northrop Grumman to establish parametric relationships between model components and assemblies. Currently, design engineers are implementing changes to the F/A-18 E/F vertical tail assembly via Unigraphics, version 11 software. Preliminary indications show that this process will yield tremendous savings in the design process as well as in future expansions and logistic support. To ensure optimization of the new 3-D process, a Corporate investment is being made to provide Unigraphics, version 11 training for approximately 190 employees.
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