Final Technical Report Published: Transforming Systems Engineering through Model-Centric Engineering

The Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) research task 157 (RT-157) released its final technical report on January 18, 2017. This technical report can be found on the research project page.

RT-157 addressed research needs extending prior efforts under RT-48/118/141 that informed us that model-centric engineering (MCE) is in use and adoption seems to be accelerating. Model-centric engineering can be characterized as an overarching digital engineering approach that integrates different model types with simulations, surrogates, systems and components at different levels of abstraction and fidelity across disciplines throughout the lifecycle. Industry is trending towards more integration of computational capabilities, models, software, hardware, platforms, and humans-in-the loop. The integrated perspectives provide cross-domain views for rapid system level analysis allowing engineers from various disciplines using dynamic models and surrogates to support continuous and often virtual verification and validation for tradespace decisions in the face of changing mission needs.

NAVAIR senior leadership confirmed in late 2015 that the research findings and analysis validated their vision hypothesis stated at the System Engineering Transformation kickoff meeting of RT-48. They concluded that NAVAIR must move quickly to keep pace with the other organizations that have adopted model-centric engineering and who continue to evolve at an accelerating pace enabled by the advances in computational and modeling technologies, and improved methods.


The kickoff of RT-157 in January 2016 defined a research plan to investigate challenge areas including, but not limited to:

  • Cross-domain integration of models to address the heterogeneity of the various tools and environments
  • Model integrity to ensure trust in the model predictions by understanding and quantifying margins and uncertainty
  • Modeling methodologies that can embed demonstrated best practices and provide computational technologies for real-time training within digital engineering environments
  • Multidisciplinary System Engineering transformation roadmap that looks across:
    • Technologies and their evolution
    • How people interact through digitally enabled technologies and new needed competencies
    • How methodologies enabled by technologies change and subsume processes
    • How acquisition organizations and industry operate in a digital engineering environment throughout the phases of the lifecycle (including operations and sustainment)
    • Governance within this new digital and continually adapting environment

The strategic plans of SET and overarching goals of this research have been expanded through RT-170. RT-170 has support from new research collaborators from Georgia Tech and University of Maryland. This report does blend RT-170-related accomplishments into this report to document the ongoing progress in support of the NAVAIR SET. Finally, we are also working collaboratively with US Army RDECOM-ARDEC in Picatinny, NJ under RT-168, and some of the plans for synergies between these efforts are documented in this report.