Technology Today

2015 Issue 1

Integrated Rapid Prototyping at Raytheon

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) customers require demonstration and evaluation of new product functionality and performance through prototypes, prior to a decision to proceed with the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD), i.e., prior to the DoD milestone B decision. According to a 2007 memorandum issued from the office of the Undersecretary of Defense, “Many troubled programs share the following common trait. Program decisions were based largely on paper proposals that provided inadequate knowledge of technical risk and a weak foundation for estimating development and procurement cost. Going forward, all acquisition strategies must include competitive prototyping before Milestone B.” Raytheon’s ability to quickly define prototype requirements and virtually and physically design, test and manufacture them supports the DoD prototyping objective. In addition to supporting milestone B decisions, Raytheon’s integrated rapid prototyping capability enables early demonstration of new technology-enabled system concepts to support early phase DoD requirements and feasibility studies.

Integrated rapid prototyping can be segmented into three phases: Phase I consists of customer requirements management capturing customer needs; Phase II consists of virtual design and manufacturing; and Phase III consists of physical design and manufacturing (see Figure 1). Raytheon has invested in capabilities that allow fast and well integrated execution of all three phases, resulting in prototypes with optimum performance, quality and cost.

Figure 1. Integrated rapid prototyping phases

Many infrastructure capabilities are needed to rapidly complete the three phases and deliver the prototypes. For example:

  • With Phase I, Raytheon uses the Dynamic Object Oriented Requirements System (DOORS) to capture and manage complex customer requirements. DOORS drives discipline and flexibility in managing various conflicting requirements.
  • With Phase II, immersive design capability allows all the key stakeholders such as customers, design engineers and manufacturing experts to view the design and its manufacturing process in a three-dimensional (3D) virtual reality, maximizing the discovery of manufacturing design defects prior to producing a physical prototype. This capability was highlighted in the Technology and Innovation section of the Nov. 10, 2014 Boston Globe article titled, “Now Showing Missiles in 3D,” and is also highlighted in the article, “Visual Immersion for Virtual Design and Manufacturing,” included in this edition of Technology Today.
  • With Phase III, a leading edge additive manufacturing (AM) capability allows for the rapid production of prototypes and working hardware without the need to create costly and time consuming dies. The virtual design data can be used to produce additive parts, improving speed and quality. Examples of Raytheon’s use of AM are provided in the article, “Additive Manufacturing at Raytheon,” included in this edition.
  • In addition, other technical capabilities are needed, such as modeling and simulation, processes that fast-track decision making and organizational capabilities that focus resources.

Across Raytheon, there are many facilities capable of integrated rapid prototyping that leverage the various capabilities noted above. These facilities vary from self-contained, co-located facilities capable of designing and manufacturing specific types of prototype systems, to quick-turn processes that use existing production capabilities within a larger conventional manufacturing facility.

The following examples collectively highlight and demonstrate the wide range of integrated rapid prototyping capabilities at Raytheon:

  • The Raytheon Accelerated Product Innovation and Development Shop (RAPIDS), a proven process, leveraging existing functional teams and production systems, specializing in communication, situational awareness and surveillance systems.
  • The “Bike Shop,” a self-contained system prototyping facility, specializing in missile related products.
  • The Rancho Innovations Center (RIC), a selfcontained facility, specializing in designing, fabricating and testing microwave systems.
Raytheon Accelerated Product Innovation and Development Shop

Raytheon uses RAPIDS to successfully deliver prototypes and ultimately provide low-cost solutions to customers. RAPIDS is a completely scalable process for executing prototyping programs, ranging from initial concept prototypes to system prototypes for user evaluation. RAPIDS uses a combination of pre-tailored step-by-step processes and effective governance led by a dedicated group of individuals named to the RAPIDS board, that includes key program stakeholders as well as representatives from program management, engineering, manufacturing, quality and supply chain organizations and other key functional areas. The pre-tailored processes aligned to different customer needs allow for quick start-up planning as well as coordinated execution across functions such as engineering, finance, supply chain and manufacturing. The governance process aligns resources, resolves issues quickly, and continuously improves the RAPIDS process through an integration of lessons learned for future programs. Once a program begins the RAPIDS process, the program manager uses the defined processes to manage the execution of the program and then relies on the governance process to ensure transparency and accountability across the different organizations.

In addition to the pre-tailored processes and governance, three additional practices are essential to the success of RAPIDS:

  • Co-locating the engineering, manufacturing and supply chain staff.
  • Prototyping within the production environment.
  • Assigning dedicated points-of-contact for supply chain and material handling.

Team co-location enables all stakeholders to collaborate face-to-face for fast program execution and issue resolution. The integration of the RAPIDS activities within the production environment enables the planning and design of artifacts to be used directly for the purpose of transitioning to a production environment. The dedicated supply chain and material buyers enable timely material purchases and release in parallel with the design itself.

Figure 2. The Raytheon Electronic Data Manager was developed in less

A good example of the use of the RAPIDS process is the Raytheon Electronic Data Manager (EDM) system (see Figure 2). The EDM provides situational awareness and a tracking capability to Army Apache helicopter pilots. RAPIDS was used to create a smaller and lighter version of the EDM that contains several capability enhancements requested by the pilots. Raytheon modified the existing software architecture and performed requirements analysis and trade studies to select the Army’s preferred hardware platform. The project completed parallel hardware and software development efforts and delivered 49 units for deployment in less than six months.

Bike Shop

The Bike Shop name is a tribute to Wilbur and Orville Wright’s bicycle workshop in Dayton, Ohio. It was there that the Wright brothers designed and built their first successful aircraft in 1903. They did it in only nine months with just three power tools. The Raytheon Bike Shop is a rapid product development, research and experimentation center located in Tucson, Ariz. The Bike Shop provides innovative concept development, rapid parts fabrication, and rapid test capabilities. It synergistically combines the resources of a large company with the agility of a small well-equipped workforce located in a strategic off-site facility.

The Bike Shop, similar to RAPIDS, relies on co-location of the team, including the customer, and on having a dedicated supply chain and material handling staff. In addition, the Bike Shop has dedicated design and manufacturing subject matter experts, its own dedicated prototype capabilities, and pre-approved external suppliers for speedy material availability. The Bike Shop staff members support a wide range of engineering capabilities, including systems engineering, electrical and mechanical design, software development, prototype integration and test, modeling and simulation and prototype manufacturing, which includes the use of composite materials.

Figure 3. The Hybrid-Defense Reconnaissance

Using these capabilities, the Bike Shop designed and developed a prototype Hybrid Defense Reconnaissance Assault (Hy-DRA) vehicle (see Figure 3). The Hy-DRA is a small and stealthy all-terrain vehicle designed for special forces missions. The vehicle needed to travel at speeds greater than 60 miles per hour (MPH) over diverse terrain, carry multiple fully-armed soldiers, mount a .50 caliber machine gun or grenade launcher, and maintain its drivability even if a wheel is shot and disabled. The Bike Shop team successfully developed a working prototype in 180 days and showcased it at the Special Forces Exhibition held in Amman, Jordan.

Rancho Innovations Center

The RIC is a self-contained organization located in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. It has its own dedicated and co-located design, manufacturing, supply chain, contracts and material handling subject matter experts, specializing in designing, fabricating and testing high-power microwave systems and high-power highfrequency (> 70 gigahertz [GHz]) systems. The RIC focuses on technology development and prototype building and testing with an emphasis on providing low-cost, no-frills demonstrations of new and innovative technologies. RIC’s core expertise in 95 GHz radio frequency (RF) technology has resulted in the development of many new products such as the Active Denial System (ADS). ADS is a nonlethal, directed energy system used to repel hostile individuals or crowds without causing permanent injury. It has been highlighted in a past “60 Minutes”episode1.The system has many variants, including a long-range tube-based system (see Figure 4a) and a smaller solid-state version (see Figure 4b). Prototypes for both variants were designed, integrated and tested at the RIC.

Figure 4. The Active Denial System (ADS) is a nonlethal, directed energy system used to


In addition to the capabilities highlighted in this article, Raytheon has other rapid prototyping facilities specializing in microwave circuit card assemblies, electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors and electrical and mechanical assemblies. Best practices from across all these facilities are shared via an internal website.

These facilities with their unique and innovative processes help Raytheon to provide prototypes of optimum performance, quality, schedule and cost benefits to customer mission areas. All these capabilities rapidly and costeffectively prototype our systems leading to better designed and manufactured products.

1“The Pentagon’s Ray Gun” was broadcast on March 2, 2008.

Aaron Shin, Brian Kavalar, Jim Bakarich and Ken Brown

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