Original Date: 09/14/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Composites Integrated Product Team Approach
After the 1993 merger between Hughes (now Raytheon) and General Dynamics, the company decided to move all of its composites expertise to the Tucson facility. A cross-functional Integrated Product Team (IPT) was set up in 1994 to foster composite structure development. Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) uses this Composites IPT approach to meet its customers’ needs for advanced, leading-edge technology at reasonable costs, and often with a rapid development schedule.
Comprised of development and production personnel, the team consists of a key individual for each process technology as well as each weapon systems program that involves composites technology. The composites expertise at RMSC is quite broad, and encompasses compression molding, filament winding, low observables, resin transfer molding, coatings, hand layup, radome bonding, candlering, and metal finishing. This expertise, along with the associated manufacturing capabilities, allow RMSC to determine the best process for fabricating a particular component. By matching the process to a part rather than fitting a part to an available process, the team can create the best quality part at the lowest cost.
Prototyping is largely accomplished on the production floor with manufacturing equipment. This method reduces development cycle time; decreases overhead costs; and increases the accuracy of production fabrication cost estimates. In addition, the risk of scale-up is minimized because fabrication can be proven on the production floor, resulting in a seamless transition to production. Using COTS materials and existing processes/equipment, RMSC developed a hybrid composite structure capable of operating at 2000°F for use in its Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) and Standard Missile Block IV-A programs. Depending on the actual application, this hybrid structure offers significant cost reductions, as well as performance advantages that are not possible with alternative approaches. Another technology breakthrough is the development of a powder coating process for composites.
RMSC’s success with the Composites IPT approach enabled the company to become a leader in low cost, leading- edge composites technology. The team’s achievements include:
Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) program 60% cost reduction on target detection device spacers and 36% reduction on target detection device overwrap; Tomahawk program 22% cost reduction on inlet duct;
Phalanx program 27% cost reduction on Mass Storage Device Drawer chassis;
Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) program one-week prototype development for warhead compatible telemeter radome;
AIM-9X program two-week prototype development for harness cover.
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