Boeing Outsourced Its 737 MAX Software Before The CrashReader06/29/2019 (Sat) 17:00:20 Id: 3ecc17No.14976del
The software at the heart of the Boeing 737 MAX crisis was developed at a time when the company was laying off experienced engineers and replacing them with temporary workers making as little as $9 per hour, according to Bloomberg.
In an effort to cut costs, Boeing was relying on subcontractors making paltry wages to develop and test its software. Often times, these subcontractors would be from countries lacking a deep background in aerospace, like India.
Boeing had recent college graduates working for Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. in a building across from Seattle's Boeing Field, in flight test groups supporting the MAX. The coders from HCL designed to specifications set by Boeing but, according to Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code.”
Rabin said: “...it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”
In addition to cutting costs, the hiring of Indian companies may have landed Boeing orders for the Indian military and commercial aircraft, like a $22 billion order received in January 2017. That order included 100 737 MAX 8 jets and was Boeing’s largest order ever from an Indian airline. India traditionally orders from Airbus.
HCL engineers helped develop and test the 737 MAX's flight display software while employees from another Indian company, Cyient Ltd, handled the software for flight test equipment. In 2011, Boeing named Cyient, then known as Infotech, to a list of its “suppliers of the year”.
One HCL employee posted online: “Provided quick workaround to resolve production issue which resulted in not delaying flight test of 737-Max (delay in each flight test will cost very big amount for Boeing).”