Northrop Grumman opens up on B-21 digital engineering data
Shortly after confirming that the first new B-21 Raider bomber will be rolled out in early December at its Palmdale facility in California, Northrop Grumman on 21 September revealed an ‘industry-first’ digital engineering data rights agreement with the USAF.
The deal opens access to common data and data environments on an unprecedentedly large scale, the company claimed, adding that it ‘creates greater transparency and collaboration between Northrop Grumman and the Air Force, helping to deliver greater affordability and rapid upgradability’ throughout the B-21 programme lifecycle.
Digital engineering has been a major factor in designing the B-21, and the new data rights agreement includes the launch of a shared environment for the B-21 digital twin.
The USAF expects the first B-21 flight to take place in 2023, which aligns with the DoD Acquisition System Baseline and matches information from Northrop Grumman in its 2022 earnings calls.
‘As the Air Force has indicated, the focus is on a safe first flight of a production representative aircraft,’ the manufacturer announced. ‘With six aircraft in various stages of production and test, Northrop Grumman is progressing toward that objective.’
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