An aerospace production system is one of the world's most complicated systems. It consists of highly specialized manufacturing and assembly processes coupled in complex global supply chains. The production system has to comply with rigorous certification and other regulatory requirements and is subjected to increasing commercial pressure. Commercial Air Transport may have become a commodity but commercial aircraft production systems are certainly not in that position yet due to the continuous increasing operational demands. A substantial amount of work is still required to continually improve the performance of aircraft and spacecraft, but also of the aerospace production system used to produce them, now and in the future.A comprehensive Systems Engineering approach towards the development and optimization of aerospace production systems is therefore essential. A key goal is to integrate the complete set of requirements from all the stakeholders into the development of the production system timely, in order to create an optimized but flexible and adaptable set of processes and production means. The Systems Engineering life cycle approach provides a robust basis for coordinated analysis and decision making. It will take into account all (future) customers, technical, regulatory, logistic and economical requirements. The full program life cycle will be addressed, not only on a technical level but also on a process and organizational level, making the design drivers visible during both product and production system development.This paper explains the Systems Engineering life cycle approach to the production system development, using real life examples from recent programs for clarification.