Well thanks, Tom. That's really a great discussion about a number of the things that are being done at the subsystem and the component level that absolutely form the foundation. My background, a lot like Chris's, I spent a lot of years as a user and then a provider of logistics as a military officer. And I've got some really good bad examples of what a bad design will do once something gets into the field.
And I can remember laying under a fighter, an aircraft carrier deck that was scheduled to launch in two or three hours. And a bunch of young sailors trying to put an 80 pound part in around something that never should have been put in the way there. And the part, if it was going to be changed, should have been a lot more reliable. And them going, “I wonder who the knucklehead was that did this.” And I always use that as a personal example of, I don't want to be that knucklehead that those young guys were talking about.
When we design these state-of-the-art systems that are going to go out into the field anywhere from 20 to 50 years, something that's cutting-edge today can very quickly become something that's a lot less than cutting-edge. And, by the time you get to the end of its projected service life, the ability to maintain it and keep it up to date, a lot of that was set during the initial design phases.
So, as a large system designer, producer, and ultimately sustainer of space systems, manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft, we've tried to take an approach that focuses on how do you start in the design phase to make those systems affordable. And we believe that it's through innovation and a technical approach that allows us to do it. And our aim is to bend that 70 percent curve, that 70 percent cost curve that Chris referred to, so that when that system is in the field for those decades that it's out there, we have the chance to really do something about it.
I kid my friends in manufacturing, if somebody designs a $20 million dollar wing and then turns it over to the production guys to build it for $10 million dollars, probably not going to be a good outcome of that. And it's probably very much the same in the support and logistics business. If, in the design phase, you don't get the right things in place, you can want to support it for a lot less money. But the opportunities to do it have probably passed you by.
So, I'm really going to talk about three areas that we've gone and we think have got some very innovative and industry-leading capabilities. The first one is, as part of design, is modeling and simulation. And then, 3-D visualization that allows us to see results. And it's about enabling decisions to be made during that design phase. And I'll talk a little bit more about that in detail.
The second thing is, how do you, once that thing is fielded, deal with diminishing manufacturing of material sources that, if it's going to be out there for 20 to 50 years, the inevitable change of technology, and the ability to forecast that coming down the road in partnership with the people who own and operate it. And then, the third thing is, in support anywhere, and that is, how do you get an IT architecture and a system that allows you to take all this great information that's developed during design and development, and use it and repurpose it through the many lifecycles that a product will go through? And that enables the partnership with suppliers and industry and then, ultimately, the customer and the government who's going to operate that.
So I'd like to be able to talk a little bit about each of those three things. And, at the end, have a good picture of how they allow us to be affordable. And that's based on technology and innovation.
So, modeling and simulation, we feel like, through some internal investment, we've developed some capabilities that don't exist anyplace else in the industry. And there's really two parts of it that we think we have to be good at doing. And one is, understanding the operational concept that the customer is going to operate the system and the field under, so that we can show different basing schemes and different ways of how it would be repaired, and how it would be supported, and show the operational outcome that that has, how much it's available, how much it's there to do what it's supposed to do.
And then, at the same time, be able to take that modeling and simulation and flip it on its head, and say, “Okay, if you do it that way, here is what the cost of that is.” And then be able to put those two together, again, during design and development, so that both internally and as customers, they are in a position to make choices where now we can go back in and we can affect that level of reliability, that scheme of repair, that concept that they're going to operate under.
So, you say, “Okay, well that sounds great. What is something that maybe has come out of that?” And I'll give you a couple of examples. We've used the 3-D visualization as an example for an aircraft that we were building for the Navy. And they decided to put it on a couple of different classes of ships. And the typical way to do fit checks on that is, is you actually have to have one, and you move it onto the ship. And then you move it around and see if it fits in all the various places. The fidelity of the system was such that we could take design engineering information, put it into the modeling and the 3-D visualization. And they were able to make the decision about whether it would fit or not based on the fidelity of it. And it saved them over a million dollars and, more importantly, a lot of time in the initial design, to say if we could go forward that way.
Another example is, in a long endurance system, that the metric of if it was effective or not was, its effective time on station. And we were able to model a number of basing options, and then repair options, and then placement of spares based on reliability, and actually cut the cost in acquisition of the spares that they had initially budgeted for by about 25 percent. So, these are real numbers that turn into real support cost later on in life. And it's part of that bend in that 70 percent curve.
Now, the second thing is, is when a system goes out there, it inevitably will age. And, just like all of us that own computers or televisions, that HDTV that was the best thing out of the box, two years from now your friends come in and look at it and go, “Wow. Where did you get that?” The same thing in very complicated, integrated systems.
And the ability to be able to look around the corner, and look into the future on things that are going to diminish in the amount of material sources and the manufacturing sources that are available to do that, is very important, and particularly important as suppliers-- and, more and more, multiple suppliers are involved in building these things-- they decide that they're moving onto the next big thing. Or, they have decided that they're just not going to do that particular thing anymore. The ability to see ahead on that, and either make buys while they're still in production, or identify alternate sources, is a problem that both industry and the government customer faces.
So again, we've, through internal investment, we've developed a tool we call foresight. And foresight is a way of taking design data, putting it in, and then being able to share it across, in prediction models, across the lifetime of that system, and be able to make decisions about, do you buy the stuff ahead of time? Do you go identify alternate sources? Or, in some cases, do you really have to go out and look at a modernization? Because there just isn't any way it's going to do that.
So, it's a copyrighted system that has got a level of fidelity that we are actually using it with the government customer today to run. And they use the results to make budget decisions. So we think that's a pretty strong endorsement of the fidelity and the use of it. And we continue to be part of the DMS, Diminishing Manufacturing Sources community that goes across all of industry.
So, as an example, in 2009, it won a pretty significant award out of the Defense Department for DMS. And Society of Automotive Engineers has recognized it also as a tool that has clickability [?] across a wide piece of industry. So, as an example, in our long endurance global op program, we were able to identify, just in a couple of areas, over $300,000 dollars a year of potential savings through taking these actions ahead of time. And that program, as a result of that and some other things, recently, in 2012, was awarded the James Roche, Dr. James Roche Maintenance Award for the entire Air Force. So again, a pretty strong endorsement that the things we're doing are making sense.
The last thing I'll talk about is, this is an era of big data. And big data is kind of a buzzword that's out there these days. We don't necessarily think about big data. But we think we've got a lot of data. And we've gone, and again, through some pretty significant internal investment, with an IT structure called Support Anywhere. And Support Anywhere is just that. How do you take the data, developed in the design phase, and then take it through the lifetime of the product, and repurpose it? So, it was great that it was designed so you could figure out if you could build it. And you use the same data on a shop floor to use, again, through 3-D visualization to build it, and then repurpose that data to use it when it's time to train, and when it's time to maintain.
So, a young maintainer out there, now, instead of having a book that a lot of pages that may not get updated, he's got a device in his hand. And he can get a 3-D visualization picture that allows him to see how the thing is put together. Same thing when it comes time to train. So, this is particularly important, we believe, in terms of how we product the data as it comes up. Cyber security, a huge, huge issue. And so, information assurance, and then the security and the availability of that data.
I'll give you an example of where we think this is really helping us out. We're looking at, in the recurring parts of our programs, about a 35 percent reduction over the last three years, just through the reduction in software redundancies. And then, in nonrecurring, we're seeing about a 20 to 40 percent reduction as we take this particular program and standup new programs, we're able to just replicate and do it over and over and over again, and make minor changes to it. And then, all of us that are in this business are able to share that.
NATO alliance ground system, we're using it, really a big piece there. And, when you're bringing 28 countries together to agree on something, that's never an easy thing to do. But we're seeing great results from it. So, I'd close by saying, this is, as Chris said, a technology-based approach that we're taking. And we're using that technology to design and affordability. And then, over the life of the product, be able to use that and repurpose that systems and that data to continue to deliver affordability.
Now, that's all great. But it doesn't mean anything unless it's in the field, operating the way it's supposed to, 24/7, 365. And Steve Hogan is going to talk about how we're doing that, including modernizing those systems as they come along. Steve.