An expert on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) presented a lecture to an audience of aerospace enthusiasts at RMIT in May.
Dr Paul Bevilaqua, Dr Bevilaqua , former chief engineer at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, was in Australia as part of the distinguished lecture program sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
His lecture, ’Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter’, focused on the history of the F-35 program.
Dr Bevilaqua contributed to the design of the propulsion system for the F-35B STOVL version for which he received the Paul E Haueter Memorial Award from the American Helicopter Society.
This complex system can lift the vehicle as well as fly the aircraft supersonically.
Dr Bevilaqua also discussed the Skunk Works philosophy of building and testing a prototype early in the development program as a means to eliminate all practical problems quickly.
This concept follows the Pareto 80/20 rule that states that it takes 20 per cent of effort to achieve 80 per cent of the gain, but it costs an additional 80 per cent of effort to achieve the remaining 20 per cent in performance.
According to Dr Bevilaqua, it was this rule that affected the F-35 program, as demand for increased capability and performance (the last 20 per cent) added to the complexity and cost of the program.
Associate Professor Cees Bil, from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing, is faculty advisor of the RMIT AIAA Student Branch and says that the distinguished lecture program is just an example of what AIAA offers.
“In November the AIAA will hold the student conference region VII-AU in Australia which will be an opportunity for students to compete for a best paper award.
“The winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the AIAA SciTech Conference in Orlando in January 2015 to compete in the international competition.“