How did you find your Year in Industry placement?
I found out about the Placement at Lockheed Martin from their website (lockheedmartin.co.uk) and searched all the intern/placement opportunities available within the UK. I decided to apply for the Specialist Systems Role as it covered a range of systems engineering roles which interest me.
What are you doing on your placement?
This internship involves assisting the development of the Technical Directorate the Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk2 Helicopter. More specifically I was involved with both the CROWSNEST and the Merlin Capability and Sustainment Programme (MSCP) programmes. This means that working at the high level development of the project and programmes. Examples of this work include:
- Development of initial system requirements for suppliers
- Technical review of initial design and development programmes
- Auditing company documents
The Specialist Systems department contains engineers who have had significant experience within a specific area of Systems Engineering. These areas include but are not limited to:
I have developed an appreciation of how systems engineering is pivotal to the design, development and management of complex projects.
- Safety Engineering
- Electro-Magnetic Compatibility
- Computer Systems Security
- Human Machine Interface
- Test and Integration
The placement has provided exposure to work related to these disciplines. Additionally, application of skills and education will allow for efficient execution of tasks.
What has been the best thing about your placement so far?
The two highlights my placement have been attending the DSEi Convention in London and visiting Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose. DSEi is the world largest defence and security convention. It is held every two years in London and features equipment from defence companies such as Lockheed Martin, BAE and Thales. I attended the event as part of the Lockheed Martin Intern Welcoming Event. There I met interns from other branches of the company.
Additionally, I was able to explore the convention and gain a greater application of the scale of the Defence Industry. Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose (RNAS Culdrose) is a Navy Air Station from which the Merlin Mk2 Fleet operate. Seeing the base, the training facilities (which are installed and maintained by Lockheed Martin), and the Merlin Mk2 was an amazing opportunity. The tour of the Merlin was particularly exciting as it allowed me to see the technology which I was developing in actual use.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The largest challenge that I faced was with developing a new database system to log and track all the Airworthiness Documents for the Merlin Mk2 Helicopter for an external Audit. The database has to be able to keep track of over 300 documents, their relationships with each other, and their status.
When developing this database, I had to make sure that the design was robust enough to deal with the data with an easy to use UI. Additionally, I had to develop the database and learn the Airworthiness structure for the Merlin Mk2 (A platform with documents dating back to the mid-90s) within two months for the audit. The database was successfully prepared before the audit and allowed me quickly provide the correct version of requested documents to the Auditors in real time.
In addition to preparing for the audit I was tasked to design the initial requirements which would define how the CROWSNEST equipment interfaces with the existing Merlin Mk2. This task required me to understand and convey both the architecture of the Merlin Helicopter and the current requirements for CROWSNEST to our supplier in the form of new requirements.
This process allowed me to improve my communication, leadership and requirements capture/analysis skills. I was even given an award for the quality of the final set of requirements and demonstration of these skills.
How has the placement complemented your studies?
This placement has provided me with ample opportunity to practise the theory which I have learnt from my course. A prime example can be the second year module ACS223 which teaches students about:
- The importance of good engineering design
- Requirement capture and management
- Safety Engineering methodologies
During my placement I have been able to directly work on developing and maintaining requirement for both the MCSP and CROWSNEST programmes, designing new processes to aid the company, and assisting in developing the Safety Case Report for the Naval Radar Programme.
While being involved in these tasks and the practices, I was able to draw parallels to the theory taught to us in ACS223. This has reinforced my studies and given me a greater appreciation of aspects of engineering which are not typically taught in academia.
Aside from this, I have also been able to practise my programming skills gained from ACS108, ACS123, ACS223 and COM160. Using the skills from these modules I was able to develop applications and macros to aid in the processing, formatting and presentation of large amounts of data.
What have you got out of your placement?
I have developed an appreciation of how systems engineering is pivotal to the design, development and management of complex projects carried out by Lockheed Martin. I have been able to exercise and refine core skills outside of my course such as organisational management, customer relations, communication and leadership.