Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Som Soni, PhD


There are significantly different manufacturing processes and part counts associated with composites that are not currently addressed within the aircraft procurement and life cycle management processes in the Department of Defense (DoD). A series of affordability initiatives have culminated in significant evidence over the last decade to better quantify the impact of primarily composite structures in aircraft. An Air Force Research Laboratory program, Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA), provides substantial support for the impact of part size on life cycle cost for payload aircraft. This research evaluates select methods used and seeks to introduce modifications to the projected manufacturing hours cost. The discussion addresses the far-reaching implications of trading several parts for one. This research finds that a significant relationship between relative part count and major cost categories does exist. Specifically, a percentage reduction in part count drives a corresponding percentage reduction in the manufacturing hours. Furthermore, the findings suggest the impact of monolithic parts appears to permeate most of the major cost categories in development and production. The series of findings pertaining to part count and cost merit consideration for updates to the current cost estimating relationships and interim modifications to capture some portion of the impact in current life cycle cost models.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number