Leidos has added the University of Michigan (U-M) to its list of partners assisting on the Mayhem programme, a $334 million, 51-month air-breathing hypersonic contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The innovative partnership will allow students in the U-M Aerospace Engineering program to receive experience that contributes to Mayhem through the university’s Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) lab.

“The University of Michigan will be a critical component to the Mayhem strategy,” said Artie Mabbett, operations manager for the Leidos Innovation Center. “The students will gain firsthand experience experimenting with DE/MBSE tools aiding in development of the virtual ecosystem that will ultimately be transitioned to a Leidos environment for implementation on the Mayhem programme.

“Not only does this benefit the program directly, but it also creates a pipeline of incredible talent with real world experience for the defense industrial complex.”

Digital engineering ecosystem

U-M students will support Leidos by assembling pieces of the MBSE environment, which Leidos will deploy in the digital engineering ecosystem for the team working on Mayhem.

The idea was generated through Mabbett’s work with George Halow, an aerospace engineering professor of practice at U-M and program director for the university’s MBSE lab. They saw that the university’s growing success in MBSE education could add a strategic advantage and expand the AFRL’s goals for the program.

“Our team can have a significant impact in establishing a standard for Models-Based Systems Engineering that will help Leidos unlock massive efficiencies, cost and time savings,” Halow said. “It is our goal to help industry make this happen by giving aerospace students and our partners the tools they need to be successful.”

Student cohort

The initial aerospace engineering students were selected by Halow to begin working with the team at Leidos, and more will be added over subsequent semesters.

“It’s going to be challenging, for sure, because we’ll have to develop the techniques in addition to a full aerospace course load,” one of the aerospace students said. “But it’s definitely going to be very rewarding to work on something that’s at the cutting edge of aerospace technology.”
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