Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John M. Colombi, PhD


Modern aircraft are complex systems with numerous interacting hardware and software components. To minimize any safety mishaps during operations, new aircraft designs and modifications must go through an airworthiness certification. The current United States Air Force (USAF) airworthiness certification process, captured in MIL-HDBK-516C, is time-consuming and manpower intensive due to extensive documentation. To minimize inefficiencies of this document-based approach, this thesis examined model-based systems engineering (MBSE) to support Safety Critical Function (SCF) thread analysis against criteria found in Section 15 of MIL-HDBK-516C. Within this scope, the research identified an SCF domain-specific profile and style guide using the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) and domain specific extensions. The SCF profile was applied to an Unmanned Airborne System (UAS) designed and flight tested as a course sequence in AFITs Graduate school. This research identified: 1) how a system model can support the execution of the airworthiness process, 2) how modeling can be minimally stereotyped to support various airworthiness analyses, and where airworthiness analysis could be automated and leaned. Using MBSE for SCF identification and thread analysis will not only improve airworthiness certification but support the digital transformation of the Defense acquisition system.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number