During the period 1970–1990 the Military Aircraft Division of British Aerospace based at Warton developed a structural sizing and optimisation system initially based on an “in-house” developed finite element analysis (FEA) system. This subsequently progressed to using NASTRAN, which was rapidly evolving to be the standard FEA system used within all divisions of British Aerospace (BAe).
The many problems associated with the development and application of this evolving system are described. These problems covered a wide range from software development, engineering application, resource management and hardware dependence.
One problems which has received a great deal of attention since 1990 is the incorporation of the panel buckling constraint particularly when applied to laminated structures. This paper describes an early attempt to incorporate this constraint followed by a brief description of the application and integration of a specialised Panel Buckling code.
The paper concludes by describing how BAe Military Aircraft Division is attempting to incorporate the buckling constraint using NASTRAN into a high performance computing (HPC) environment. In addition this development illustrates how many of the problems described earlier are being overcome by working in partnership with software vendors, hardware vendors and other business units within BAe.