History is full of people who refused to accept the status quo of technology. From Henry Ford and Steve Jobs to the children who raise their hands to ask not only “why” but “why not,” the story of humankind is one of reimagining the possible.
Examples of how fast technology changes can be seen in the way we “hang up” by pressing a touch-screen button, plug in our cars instead of pumping gas, carry an endless supply of music in our pockets, or pay for groceries with our watches. Each of these technological advancements started with not just a great idea, but visionaries willing to put in the long hours to turn those ideas into reality.
Often, those people are engineers.
At BAE Systems we have many kinds of engineers including systems, mechanical, software, hardware, electrical, chemical, and product safety engineers – as well as those who work with them. During Engineers Week (Feb. 21-25), we celebrate these individuals for all that they do to make things better, lighter, faster, more efficient, and more effective. With an eye on tomorrow and the need to preserve our nation’s competitive advantage, they are willing to ask “why not?”
To keep that spirit alive for generations to come, BAE Systems is proud to partner with organizations such as MATHCOUNTS and FIRST Robotics, which work to inspire children, and spark a lifelong desire to challenge the technological status quo.
We asked several of our engineers, “How are professionals in your field reimagining the possible?” Read their answers below!
“We’re always trying to determine just how much we can do with the resources and time we have for any given project. It’s like putting a puzzle together: when we put the right team and resources in place, it just comes together. At the beginning we are always thinking, “How is this even possible to do?” But together we can get so much more accomplished than we ever thought we could. What I like most is the ability to fix things that impact the warfighter and the business. I feel like we’re making a difference.”
"Our Maritime team at Power and Propulsion Solutions took the hybrid electric components developed primarily for transit buses and other vehicles and "reimagined" their use on marine vessels. The timing has been great in that there is huge interest now in "going green" in the marine world, from ferries transporting people and cars on many trips every day to high-end yachts where being green and also having leading-edge electrical capabilities is of great interest. But reimagining is not just a one-time event....it is an ongoing process of continuing to not only develop new hybrid system concepts but look for new opportunities to do things better/faster/cheaper within our business."
“I was part of a design team that first successfully build a chassis compliant to Open Architecture Standards meant to accelerate the delivery of new capabilities to our customers. The chassis is populated with open standard plugin cards that are software configurable to meet mission-specific needs. Time-to-delivery is critical in addressing emerging threats for the warfighters.”
"When I started my career, modeling and simulation was a new field, so I worked supporting mainly Mechanical Engineering aspects. Recently, modeling and simulation started to use virtual reality in some of our efforts. We're putting people into virtual environments with virtual hardware that they can interact with. Being able to take engineering plans and translate that into a virtual version of a vehicle that people can actually virtually test is pretty eye opening. It's also really fun to sit inside some of the things that you build and see your creation at work."
"It is paramount that we get periodic, increased capability out to the warfighter to help defend them against the modern threats. In order to achieve this goal, engineers must be innovative and more efficient. One way I am helping to provide more efficiency on my program is implementing automated testing. Standing up an automated testing structure means that engineers can schedule tests to run and analyze the data at any time. This affords the engineers more bandwidth to solve complex problems, aiding in faster capability deliveries."
"I’m working on a HoloLens virtual reality project that will help save significant production time. Right now, in order to paint our combat vehicles, the camouflage pattern design is hand-drawn onto each vehicle using chalk. It’s a time consuming process as the painters have to keep looking away to reference the drawing and it often has to be redone. With HoloLens, we can use augmented reality to overlay the camouflage pattern onto the vehicle and from there, the pattern can be traced, saving significant time and reducing chance of error. I created the 3D camo model that makes this possible."
“Imagining the possibilities of what we can bring to our customers, understanding their obstacles, makes our jobs as engineers that much more interesting. We work cross-collaboratively with other program teams to understand their lessons learned, and then get to work with our modeling and simulation team to digitally design what the next 10 years will look like.”
"What I like most about being an engineer is the ability to see a product throughout its entire lifecycle from high level requirements or prototypes to being utilized in the field in support of an important mission. By serving in an engineering lead role, I am able to align processes in the most efficient manner while developing a high performing team of developers and engineers. I frequently collaborate with my engineering peers to determine innovative approaches, such as cloud-based solutions, to difficult problems. Never be afraid to take chances…if your ideas don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough!"
“With an increased emphasis on the cost of poor quality, BAE Systems is reimagining the possible by providing its engineers with the tools and training to achieve their goals. I have enjoyed working with different process teams to find innovative solutions to improve product quality. We do this through reducing defects to prevent excessive rework, as well as implementing new tools to improve efficiency by automating time-consuming manual processes. We are transforming our old processes into new ones that are controlled, easier to perform, and help us deliver products on-time. This is how we are reimagining the possible.”
“Every day of the last 17 years has been exciting, challenging and rewarding for me. I am lucky to be a member of the great Lexington Foundry team developing and manufacturing several generations of microbolometers. We as a team are proud to be part of the critical solutions for infrared thermal imaging systems, with applications ranging from thermal weapon sights to aerial reconnaissance to perimeter security and asset monitoring.”