New SAE International Book Explores Complete Process of Designing and Developing Aircraft Systems

SAE International has published a new book on the intricate process for developing aircraft systems.

Aircraft as A System of Systems: A Business Process Perspective explains how developing even simple parts like a lever needs several different types of knowledge before moving on to the complications of designing a system.
Today’s airframers have taken on more of the role of systems integrators, putting the focus on the aircraft as a system-of-many-systems. Whereas an aircraft integrates many different systems into a single design, the system of systems which supports it is built by federating the systems of the different organizations, which were built and run independently of each other.

Written by Sean Barker, FBCS CEng, this book provides a thorough analysis of how building aircraft taps into a huge pool of knowledge, how its complexity is also reflected in the numerous process links that exchange knowledge between different groups. But unlike conventional business processes, design processes do not follow one step after another – rather, a decision made at one point in the design is communicated to other areas of the design, which may, in turn, cause new constraints that force the first decision to be revised.
  • Aircraft as A System of Systems: A Business Process Perspective
  • Published by: SAE International
  • Product Code: T-139
  • ISBN: 978-0-7680-9402-2
  • EISBN: 978-0-7680-9548-7
  • 116 Pages
For more information about Aircraft as A System of Systems: A Business Process Perspective, visit

About the author:

Since 2015, Barker has worked as an independent consultant on information management. Previously, he had worked for BAE Systems for 26 years, 16 of which at the Advanced Technology Centre in Bristol UK after an initial 10 years at the Warton aircraft factory, including a secondment with Dassault Aviation in Paris. He also worked for Marconi Avionics and in academic assignments.

Barker’s direct experience in both early conceptual design and product development came as a radar- systems engineer at Marconi. At Warton, he was extensively involved with the design office, initially developing their in-house CAD system, and subsequently helping automate the Eurofighter consortium's product structure data exchange. Later, through his information management roles, he worked on enterprise- level solutions covering most phases of the aircraft life cycle. Support- phase experience came through contributing to the Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) standard, an international cross-industry consortium, and working with Boeing and Airbus on the LOTAR standard.

Review copies are available to credentialed media. To request a review copy, call 1-724-772-87522 or email

SAE International is a global body of scientists, engineers, and practitioners that advances self-propelled vehicle and system knowledge in a neutral forum for the benefit of society. SAE International is a global association of more than 127,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. Our core competencies are life-long learning and voluntary consensus standards development. SAE International's charitable arm is the SAE Foundation, which supports many programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series.

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