Animate a Design-To-Cost project for a missile thruster and win a call for tenders

The client

A European defense actor.

Our client has been selected for a binational new generation missile thruster supply program to replace the existing weaponry. The cost of this missile being a key success factor to face the competition, a significant price reduction request was made by the prime contractor, forcing our customer to launch a Design-To-Cost initiative before the Design Freeze milestone. The Boost Motor is the breakthrough of a recent development and may leave less opportunity for optimization than the Sustain Motor. In all cases, close collaboration with the client will be required to evaluate each specification adjustment or validate a design change.

Within a complex and multi-cultural organization, IAC is mandated to define and structure an approach to generate the robust optimizations necessary to achieve the project’s objectives and structuring our client’s future offerings. Beyond the other topics covered, the Sustain Motor’s machined fuselage (integrating the propulsion, guidance and missile carrier attachment interfaces) represents a significant part of the overall cost of the object and has thus been primarily addressed by our teams.

A 3-step approach is built and implemented, over a total duration of 4 months:


  • A functional approach to identify levers and opportunities
  • Receive offers from alternative suppliers
  • 2 Should Costs realized with conservative and optimum assumptions
  • 5 main concepts defined
  • 2 meetings with customers’s technical teams and principals
  • 2 meetings with customers’s technical teams and principals


  • Identify and analyze all cost optimization areas (design, applicable standards, materials, scrap, roughing, processing, type of machining, testing, inspection)
  • Detailed analyses of all necessary and sufficient conditions to achieve the objectives
  • Use of a rapid assessment model of the earning potential of each opportunity discussed


  • The involvement of workshop participants remained sustained over the next two weeks in order to decide on each of the ideas after the study.
  • Estimates made by alternative suppliers
  • 1ers figures made by the machine partner
  • 2 short and medium term scenarios have been validated
  • 2 scenarios have been validated

The IAC accompaniment allows:

  • To make aware of the impact of a need expressed on the manufacture of the object by the manufacturing partner
  • To adjust the controls as necessary, taking into account the mastery of the planter
  • To neutralize the frustrations generated by price negotiations by building a new relationship based on the cost approach

Results :

  • The majority of ideas have been integrated
  • 24% gain without major design changes
  • 13% additional gain by modifying the process of obtaining the stabilized draft (12 weeks impact on the planning)

Expertises liées