Leidos has added the University of Michigan (U-M) to its list of partners assisting on the Mayhem program, 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 program. 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.”
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.”
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.”
The aerospace industry faces a growing need for expertise in systems engineering and system projects. Through this collaboration, U-M will pioneer providing this education to aerospace students.
“This is a formative opportunity for us,” another aerospace student said. “Not only is it a massive project, but we’re really starting from square one. I feel like I’m being handed very meaningful work.”
Leidos is a corporate sponsor of the MBSE Leadership Lab. Through this relationship, the company engages with active student-led engineering projects, providing industry feedback ranging from adaptive aircraft wheelchair accommodation designs to drones and space control projects.
“Leidos has been leading the way in our MBSE and systems engineering leadership program at Michigan Aerospace,” Halow said. “They show the critical industry need and are active participants in developing the next generation of leaders in this space. This is the future of our field, and we’re grateful for partners like Leidos who see the way forward.”
“The team assembled by Leidos marries exceptional experience with innovation,” said Ryan Leo, Mayhem program manager for Leidos. “Nothing highlights that better than our partnership with Michigan and its aerospace engineering students. My team is looking forward to seeing what they develop for this program.”