Original Date: 03/06/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Rapid Acquisition
Raytheon Missile Systems’ Louisville facility successfully executed a rapid acquisition project by designing, building, and testing six land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems in a ten-month period for the U.S. Army. A spiral development methodology is being followed. The Rapid Acquisition Project demonstrated Raytheon-Louisville’s responsiveness and flexibility in meeting customer needs.
The Army had an urgent need for a system that could engage rocket, artillery, and mortar fire to reduce its casualty rate. Current weapon systems were designed around a threat different from the one the Army was facing in 2004. Existing systems could sense the incoming fire and warn the personnel but could not engage the threat directly. Raytheon-Louisville was tasked with providing a road-mobile and air-transportable system that could search, track, and engage incoming threats. To meet these requirements, the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) was modified and packaged with a trailer for mobility.
A rapid acquisition is characterized by an immediate need in the theater of operations and typically lacks robust specifications, documentation, and detailed customer requirements. A highly aggressive schedule is also characteristic of a rapid acquisition project. This project was a new application of the Phalanx CIWS with hardware and software modifications. Barriers to execution of the project included rapid prototyping and testing, limited design history, and no documented internal process.
Raytheon-Louisville brought together all the stakeholders and formulated an execution plan. The plan included project tasks such as identifying new components and suppliers capable of meeting design and schedule requirements, establishing an off-line method of ordering and tracking material, and ensuring that the parts were received just in time (JIT) without affecting the U.S. Navy’s (USN’s) fielding schedule.
Working concurrently with other organizations internal and external to the Louisville facility was key to the success of the Rapid Acquisition Project as was immediately establishing good relationships with new vendors, empowering technicians and engineers to design during integration, and keeping all shareholders involved to foster flexibility.
By performing the necessary tasks and overcoming barriers, Raytheon-Louisville was able to demonstrate the capability of the Phalanx CIWS through a live-fire test in December 2004. Contract turn-on in January 2005 was followed by delivery to Raytheon’s Tucson facility for software modification in March 2005. The first two systems were tested at the Yuma Proving Grounds in April and arrived in-theater in May 2005.
The Rapid Acquisition Project is following a spiral development methodology and is currently working on including air transportability without special handling equipment and off-road mobility in the design. Raytheon-Louisville has also formed an Integrated Product Team (IPT) that includes members from Raytheon’s Tucson facility, the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, and Fort Bliss, Texas.
The Rapid Acquisition Project was a new undertaking for Raytheon-Louisville that demonstrated the facility’s ability to successfully execute a project by designing, building, and testing six land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems (LPWS) for the U.S. Army in a 10-month period – a testimony to the facility’s responsiveness and flexibility in meeting the needs of its customers.
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