The US Space Force is planning to use modern engineering techniques in the production of upcoming satellites. This will be tested in a few years to come. Military contractors and buyers will work hand in hand with cloud networks. Every tool that will be used will be in the form of a digital model. After the designing process is accomplished, all-digital details will be utilized to develop and produce the satellite, even upgrading it.
Even if digital engineering is a method that is used in various industries, it is not well known to Pentagon procurement organizations. Speaking during the conference that was organized by the Air Force Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, and AFCEA, SMC’s commander Gen. Thompson John said that a good number of things had been accomplished, but there is more to do.
Undertaking digital engineering is not an easy process. A lot of things have to be done. For instance, SMC needs to take all program information to the cloud and ensure it is secure. Therefore, the government needs to be the owner of these models. By doing so, the managers of the SMC program will play the role of the systems integrator.
Gen. Thompson said that the approach has the potential to create so many benefits, but it will also have some disadvantages. He also added that to ensure that digital engineering is brought to fruition, SMC needs to collaborate with the private sectors. He said what they want most is the ideas of how this program will be accomplished.
Mr. Roper, the Air Force’s senior procurement executive, said that he would ensure that digital engineering will be used in the upcoming programs. However, Gen Thompson said that they don’t want to see the digital workforce becoming buzzwords. He added that they refuse all the discussions they are having being turned into nothing and lack of substance.
The SMC has pinpointed three programs for digital engineering testing:
- The Protected Anti-Jam Tactical Satcom program that contains user terminals, a ground system, and several satellites.
- The Evolved Strategic Satcom program that is expected to take the place of the existing satellites.
- The modular satellite that would be used for multiple missions.
Gen. Thompson also said that the pilot programs would ensure that SMC has a well-know-how of the financial, administrative, and technical requirements of taking it to the digital workflow.