Digital Engineering: Protecting National Security, Creating a Combat Advantage
BAE Systems engineer Joe M. is part of the Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) team at Hill Air Force Base, Utah that is applying new digital capabilities to solve tough problems. Working out of our Digital Engineering Lab, Joe and his engineering, analysis and development team use several advanced digital tools to analyze missile accuracy and performance.
Joe and his team have developed a Six Degree of Freedom (6-DoF) flight simulation tool for the U.S. Air Force that models accuracy and performance of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) weapon system. “As a professional engineer with more than 32 years of experience supporting national security missions, I could not think of a more important and critical project to be working on,” said Joe. “Supporting this mission is very rewarding for me and my team,” he said.
Over the past several years, BAE Systems has helped the Air Force execute several missile test flights. That’s where Joe and his team come in. Using the flight simulation tool, the team can run accurate analyses of various flight test scenarios while providing a visualization for program leads and wider customer audiences.  “Visualizing flight data makes it easier to predict what could go right or wrong in pre-flight or post-flight analysis,” he continued.
When executing a flight test, our teams track the missile’s performance using data from ground-based radars, GPS, and various telemetry sites. “We use all of this data to determine the actual missile trajectory from launch to impact,” continued Joe. “The 6-DoF software tool is critical in maintaining very accurate models of the weapon system. We run the simulation and then we run the analysis of what the rocket actually did. In the software tool, we stack these two scenarios on top of each other to compare the two. This visualization is extremely useful for determining how the system functioned as a whole and informs us on how to correct or improve models.”
Joe and his team have seen firsthand how digital engineering is advancing decisions at the highest levels in order to protect national security and maintain a combat advantage.
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Molly Rhine
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Intelligence & Security

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