A blueprint for the future: enabling a collaborative, more efficient digital engineering environment

Meet Tim Coda, a digital engineer
Tim Coda
Tim Coda

Tim Coda is a BAE Systems engineer. He’s working on a team with a mission to support the Department of Defense’s vision of “an integrated digital approach that uses authoritative sources of systems’ data and models as a continuum across disciplines to support life cycle activities from concept through disposal.”

“Digital Engineering is a hot topic for us,” says Coda. “In addition to having a very strong, technically proficient and collaborative engineering function, we are investing in an ongoing enterprise-level reference architecture initiative: the Advanced Integrated Data Environment for Agile Manufacturing, Integration, and Sustainment Excellence. We call it ADAMS for short.”

The ADAMS® reference architecture is a blueprint for a digital engineering environment, supporting both legacy programs transitioning from document-centric engineering and new acquisition programs immediately deploying a model-centric approach. ADAMS identifies the tools, processes, and resources necessary for the company’s customers to architect, deploy, operate, and maintain an integrated digital engineering environment. It enables unprecedented, real-time collaboration across geographically distributed teams. It unites the many multi-disciplinary tools used across the system lifecycle and, in doing so, enables true systems integration.

“Prior to ADAMS, we continued to face the limitations of engineering with traditional paper-based artifacts,” said Coda. “Data were captured—and often duplicated—in static, disparate documents. Different teams worked in silos and rarely shared information, and when information was shared, it was on paper. Synthesizing, updating, and reconciling those documents was a manual, resource-intensive and error-prone task—hindering daily systems engineering activities and overall system development and integration.”

Coda is part of the ADAMS development team and is continuing to build up ADAMS’ capabilities. With ADAMS, program teams are able to efficiently deploy digital engineering practices that overcome these exact challenges. Data are incorporated into holistic, integrated models. “This is greatly strengthening our rigor in change management and improving communications among multi-disciplinary teams and stakeholders,” said Coda.

BAE Systems supports its customers with the design and deployment of digital engineering environments and methodologies. On multiple programs across the country, our experts are using digital engineering tools to solve complex systems problems. ADAMS supports this approach through all phases of a program lifecycle, from systems acquisition to operations and sustainment.

“We are making it easier for our customers to integrate and maintain their systems and fulfill stakeholder needs,” said Coda. “We have transformed traditional documents into an integrated set of models with cross-cutting digital thread traceability. These models expedite day-to-day engineering activities, enabling engineers to perform traditional tasks in just a fraction of the time. With the analytical capabilities of modern digital engineering tools, we can rapidly analyze our models and extract the technical information that is critical for informing program and enterprise decisions.”

 

Key Benefits of ADAMS

 

With the ADAMS framework, digital models shorten a system lifecycle by enabling:

  • Systematic design reuse
  • Early and continuous requirement verification
  • Architecture trades and optimization—ensuring the right system is built and delivered
     

Key benefits include early defect detection, lifecycle time reduction, improved system integration capability, knowledge transfer, and empowered teams collaborating cross-functionally. These benefits enable cost and schedule savings and result in superior products and systems.

“For me, ADAMS is the key ingredient to successful digital engineering,” said Coda. “Anyone can purchase modern tools, but it is the methodology of using those tools that allows us to truly realize the benefits of digital engineering. Through ADAMS, we codify our enterprise best practices and disseminate them to ensure the best support across our business areas.”

“It’s really an incredible engineering initiative. Our technologies and integration are really helping our customers with improved system integrator capabilities,” continued Coda. “I’m really proud of our teams and what they have accomplished.”

But, Coda says, they aren’t done. The team is constantly looking for ways to innovate for the company’s customers. The field of digital engineering is constantly evolving, with new tools and capabilities always on the horizon.

“We have a strong presence in industry standard-setting organizations (like International Council on Systems Engineering) and we constantly monitor trends throughout industry,” Coda concluded. “We understand that needs evolve over time, and with that we continually analyze missions to develop the best-fit solutions.”