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Technologies Impacting the Future of the Aerospace and Defense Sector

Technologies Impacting the Future of the Aerospace and Defense Sector

The aerospace and defense industries have witnessed tremendous change in the past few years. Both sectors have seen a rising use of wearables. In the defense sector wearables are increasingly being used in the form of body-worn sensors for training and combat. Wearables are becoming ubiquitous in aerospace as well in the form of head-mounted displays and smart glasses, which are useful in providing assistance to pilots of both commercial and military aircraft. Another technology that is increasing being employed in aerospace is additive manufacturing, which enables the manufacture of complex parts and reduces the material wastage and prototyping time.

Terahertz (THz) Imaging is another technology that is seeing increased usage in the aerospace and defense sectors. THz waves are non-ionizing, and safe to use around human beings, an important reason for their increased usage. They are an emergent nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technique due to their ability to easily penetrate the barriers of most dielectric materials. Smart sensors are increasingly being used in aerospace and defense due their energy efficiency and multi-functionality.

From a materials perspective, lightweight materials, due to their ability to provide a high strength-to-weight ratio, high corrosion and temperature resistance, are seeing increased adoption in the aerospace and defense sectors. A lot of the time these lightweight materials are being used in conjunction with nanocoatings, which enhance their properties. Among their functional properties, are corrosion protection and high mechanical strength, which impart higher durability to the aircraft. Lithium batteries and microgrids are also seeing increasing adoption in the aerospace and defense sectors.

The aerospace industry is also seeing an increase in the use of cloud computing platforms and XaaS, with innovation in integrated solutions such as flight planning tools and digital flight management systems. Predictive analytics are also being increasingly employed to analyze massive quantities of data and increase safety, security and efficiency.

All of the above technologies have been profiled in this study, and their impact discussed, along with regional developments and key innovators in each technology space.


  • Executive Summary
    • Research Scope
    • Research Process and Methodology
    • Key Findings: Wearables Have High Transformation Potential
    • Key Findings: Regulations Spur the Adoption of Lightweight Materials
    • Key Findings: Lithium Battery Development Has More Impact on Aerospace Applications
    • Key Findings: Microgrid Development Has Increased Impact on Defense Applications
    • Key Findings: Predictive Analytics on the Rise in A&D
  • Terahertz Technology
    • High Impact Potential in the Longer Term
    • Increased Government Funding Pushing Technology Advancement
    • Non-destructive Testing for Aerospace Industry is the Most Promising Application
    • Key Innovations Emerging from Government Funded Projects
    • Key Questions for Strategy Planning
  • Additive Manufacturing
    • High Transformation Potential in Aerospace
    • The United States Leads Technology Development
    • Expanding Applications in Aerospace Sector
    • Customization and Self Sustenance in Defense Industry
    • Key Innovations - GE Aviation, EOS, SLM Solutions, Aerokinetics, Dassault Systems, Safran Group, Michigan Technical Institute
    • Key Innovations - Airbus, NASA, and Design Reality
    • Key Questions for Strategy
  • Wearables
    • Wearables Have High Transformation Potential
    • US Leads in Terms of Technology Development and Funding
    • Training and Monitoring of Personnel among Key Applications
    • Key Innovations - Chemical Sensing and AR Innovations Have High Impact Potential
    • Key Innovations - Defense Contractors BAE Systems and Raytheon among Key Innovators
    • Key Questions for Strategy
  • Smart Sensors
    • Smart Sensors Provide Advanced Capabilities over Conventional Sensors
    • The United States Leads in IP, While Europe Promotes Structural Health Monitoring and Energy Harvesting
    • Smart Sensing Enables Advancement of Traditional Sensor Functionalities
    • Key Innovations - Most Developments Geared toward Aerospace Applications
    • Key Questions for Strategy Planning
  • Lightweight Materials for the Aerospace and Defense Sector
    • High Strength and Low Weight Materials for Increasing Fuel Efficiency and Reducing Environmental Emissions
    • North America Leads in IP Activity, While Government Funding Is Prominent
    • Product Development and Efficient Manufacturing Technologies are Key Research Focus Areas of the Stakeholders
    • Market Adoption Will Increase Due To Stringent Regulations With Carbon Fibers, HS and AHS Steel Being Key Materials
    • US is Leading in Technology Adoption While France, Japan, and China Are Also Catching up with Focused R&D Efforts
    • Key Questions for Strategy
  • Nanocoatings for the Aerospace and Defence Sector
    • In 2015, Higher Technology Adoption for Aerospace While in Emerging Development Phase in the Defense Sector
    • Corrosion Resistance and Improved Wear Resistance Are Predominant Reasons for Using Nanocoatings
    • Very Low Patent Filings Signifying Low R&D Initiatives and Stringent Standards in the Aerospace and Defense Sectors
    • Significant Amount of Government Funding Drive Research in Institutes and Start-ups
    • Stakeholders Interest toward Replacing Use of Heavy Metals in Coatings Drive Adoption
    • Future Innovations Based on Nanocoatings with Novel Functional Properties, While Lowering Cost of Synthesis
  • Lithium Batteries
    • Low Sensitivity Issues and Increased Fault Tolerance Are the Key Focal Points
    • More Funding towards Developing Advanced Battery Materials for Lithium Batteries
    • Progression in Output Discharge Characteristics Has Dominated the IP Profile
    • Lithium Battery Manufacturers Are predominant in the Region of US
    • More Innovations Are Being Developed on Increasing Energy Output per Unit Volume
    • Alternate Source of Power for the Main and Auxiliary Power Units of the Aircraft
    • Innovations Focusing on Enhancing the Safety Features and Energy Density
  • Microgrids
    • Supply of Uninterrupted Power to Run Critical Assets Is the Primary Impact
    • Rural and Remote Microgrids Are Currently the Areas Receiving Huge Funding
    • China and Republic of Korea Are Active in Research During the Last Five Years
    • Presence of Microgrid Developers Is High in the US and Europe Region
    • More Innovations Are Developed on Enhancing the Microgrid Framework and Architecture
    • Key Applications to Safeguard the Base Camp from Cyberattack and Prevent Critical Loss of Data
    • Advancements Elevating Microgrids toward Becoming Miniaturized Smart Grid
  • Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS): Impact on the Future of Aerospace and Defense
    • How Will XaaS Impact Aerospace and Defense (A&D)?
    • Applications Being Used in Aerospace sector
    • Key XaaS Innovators for Aerospace Industry
    • Applications Being Used in Defense and Security Sector
    • Key XaaS Innovators for Defense Industry
    • Regional Adoption and Funding of XaaS for A&D
    • Key Questions for Strategy and Planning
  • Predictive Analytics: Impacting on the Future of A&D
    • How Predictive Analytics Will Impact A&D?
    • Applications Being Used in Aerospace and Aviation Sector
    • Key Innovators for Aerospace Industry
    • Applications Being Used in Defense and Security sector
    • Key Innovators for Defense Industry
    • Regional Adoption and Funding of Predictive Analytics for A&D
    • Key Questions for Strategy and Planning

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