Chapter written by V. Normand and D. Exertier,
Thales Research & Technology France
THALES is a developer and supplier of complex systems, mainly in the defence and aerospace domains. THALES addresses air traffic management, airborne systems, naval systems, simulation, geopositioning solutions, communications, C4I systems, security systems, etc. These systems include a combination of hardware, software, data, personnel, procedures, and facilities. They have long life cycles (20 years is a frequent duration). Large multi-disciplinary teams are involved over the life-cycle of these systems, in the definition, development or acquisition, verification, integration and validation, deployment, operations, support, disposal, maintenance, management, user training, etc.
“Systems engineering” (SE) is a recognised discipline that encompasses the overall technical effort to evolve and verify an integrated and life-cycle balanced set of system people, product and process solutions that satisfy customer needs [EIA 99]. The general objective of systems engineering is to satisfy the customer, while preserving industrial interests in terms of costs, delivery, constraints (reuse, etc.) and risks incurred. Systems engineering integrates with the other disciplines: software development, hardware development, integrated logistics support, production, and ...