Now that the world has started recovering from the pandemic, the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) industry is on the brink of some exciting technological innovations.
With commercial air travel and customer activity gaining some traction, air traffic will rebound, leaving room for recovery of aftermarket activity.
The A&D industry is now catching hold of this momentum to make some pretty interesting changes in their technological sector. These changes include new technological innovations, increased M&A activity, and evolving business models, all set to push the industry one step closer to digital and operational efficiency.
So, what are these changes? Well, read on to find out!
Top A&D Technology Trends to Look Out For in 2022
With A&D innovations now picking up pace, here are some of the top tech trends that are about to change the industry altogether.
1. Increased Digitization
The A&D value chains have grown increasingly complicated over time. The only way to get around this issue is to adjust operations to achieve maximum flexibility. What is one way to do this? Increased digitization is what the industry needs, precisely what many organizations are now doing.
Companies are investing heavily to undergo complete modernization, redefining their legacy designs to produce better quality products faster.
Since paper-based production and manual processes are being replaced, the room for errors and time wasted is minuscule.
But one thing to remember is while making the switch to digital, it is crucial managers make wise decisions instead of the most straightforward alternative. Instead of monolithic enterprise solutions providers, make sure you look for more innovative solutions while conducting an extensive search into the broader market.
2. Advanced Military Capabilities
The defense industry was considerably untouched, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are a lot more insulated than the aerospace industry, with their defense spending stable in 2022.
Now that the US military is shifting its focus from the middle east to the far east, A&D companies should shift their focus as well. By diverting their focus towards fighter aircraft capabilities, cybersecurity, space resilience, and shipbuilding, A&D companies will stand a chance to keep up with the current needs of the industry.
Moreover, this will also favor major defense contractors who have been sitting on record backlogs for a while now. Therefore, they will experience significant revenue growth in 2022 and beyond.
3. Smart Materials
Smart materials are essentially intelligent materials that can be manipulated to change their properties and composition reversibly. These materials undergo changes when exposed to external stimuli like mechanical stress, temperature, etc.
The applications of smart materials in the A&D industry are endless. A few instances would be their applications in electronic sensors, self-healing fuselages, actuators, etc.
With their global market expected to be valued at $98.5 billion by 2025, the use cases of smart materials just keep growing. Improving the durability of modern aircraft is another important application of smart materials. These aircraft will be able to resist conditions that might generally damage typical electric motors.
4. Risk Reduction Through Data
Looking at the competitive state of the current A&D market, it is vital for companies to reduce risk, in turn optimizing costs. As a result, companies will now increase their uptake of modern technology to minimize risk as much as possible.
Therefore, a sudden rise of investments in manufacturing intelligence capture, analysis, and implementation was seen. On top of that, even the visibility to real-time analytics has seen a significant rise.
All in all, anything that reduces unprecedented downtime or boosts productivity will always be sought after as a critical asset to the company.
5. Accelerated Growth of Space Market
2022 will see A&D companies focusing on three key components: the launch industry, satellite trends, and new technology. The aim is to drive growth in space-based services, with the end goal to offer value to businesses, consumers, and society.
2022 is going to bring about the introduction of small-sat constellations, which plans to change the way internet broadband is distributed across the world. With ongoing innovations having already laid the foundations for next-gen satellite telecommunications, the space market is about to change extensively.
Moreover, the field of Earth observation has also seen an update. Satellites can now click terabytes of granular images of all parts of the Earth. Sophisticated software can further leverage this data to generate insights that can aid in informed organizational decision-making.
6. Multiphysics Simulations
Multiphysics simulations are one of the most critical components of the A&D industry. These simulations are responsible for gauging the design and safety of critical systems, including aerodynamic testing, emergency condition simulations like lightning strikes, so on and so forth.
Companies run simulations intending to create enhanced designs while ensuring that risk factors are minuscule. For instance, let’s take a look at Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider Program for a model-based everything approach.
This program uses high-fidelity models shared across multiple technical disciplines and program partners. This methodology has cemented the collaboration between the engineering and production teams, setting a brand-new precedent for engineering design.
In the past few years, A&D industries have constantly faced public pressure to reduce carbon emissions and implement environmentally sustainable manufacturing practices. Therefore, 2022 should ideally be the year where companies leverage innovative tech to reduce carbon emissions.
These decarbonization commitments are not only for operations but also for A&D products. The industry must essentially focus on operational and technological improvements to develop alternatives to jet fuel and other eco-friendly systems.
With the rate at which technology seems to advance at the moment, the aforementioned trends are just the tip of the iceberg.
The A&D industrial transformation is now happening rapidly, and only time will tell how technological innovations will mature to meet all their requirements and demands.