aerospace and defense 2019 trends
February 4, 2020

Aerospace and Defense 2019 Trends: What Software Developers Need to Know

Security & Compliance
Static Analysis

The aerospace and defense industries have consistently used modern techniques, inventive technologies, and innovative manufacturing processes to produce leading designs. Some of these measures have led to disruptions — not only for the aerospace and defense industries, but for the software development teams as well.

By learning about these disruptive trends, your software development team can be more prepared to effectively manage them. One way to do this is to download the State of Aerospace & Defense Software Development Survey to learn what aerospace and defense developers said about everything from Cloud-based technologies to software security.



Disruption: Aerospace and Defense 2019 Trends

Innovative technologies and manufacturing processes within the aerospace and defense industries have led to the development of evermore sophisticated systems. Increasingly, these modern and cutting-edge systems depend on highly complex software.

While these technological enhancements have helped further growth within the industry, they have also introduced new challenges for aerospace and defense software developers. If teams are unprepared or unfamiliar with these disruptive aerospace and defense trends, it could negatively impact development time and software quality.

However, by reviewing the most significant and common aerospace and defense trends, your team can adequately adapt their development process. Here are the most notable aerospace and defense 2019 trends:

Autonomous Vehicles/Robots

Autonomous vehicles and robots will become more commonplace within the next several years, and aerospace and defense developers are making headway in utilizing the technology.

One notable area of design is in the development of autonomous military vehicles for use in tough environmental conditions as well as on the battlefield. In fact, the Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal included nearly $4 billion in research and development for unmanned and autonomous technologies.

However, unmanned and autonomous vehicles present a challenge for defense software developers to ensure that the embedded devices installed in these vehicles are adaptive, reliable, and efficient. What’s more, those embedded devices may provide cybercriminals with an opportunity to hack the vehicle. For that reason, it’s important for aerospace and defense developers to use secure coding practices along with a static code analyzer — such as Klocwork — to ensure the quality of the code.

Electric and Hybrid Engines

According to the Global Aviation Industry, airplane emissions have increased by 4.3% each year since 1999 and are expected to make up 25% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2050. In response to mounting pressure to be more environmentally conscious, aerospace developers have been working toward producing electric and hybrid engines.

The development of these new engines will require sophisticated software and control electrics to ensure that the machine can successfully achieve the amount of output necessary for lift. To ensure that these new engines are safe, aerospace and defense developers will need to comply with functional standards — such as IEC 61508 — as well as their own internal standards.

Structural Health Monitoring

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is already a common damage detection process that is most often used to monitor the structural integrity of engineering structures, such as bridges and buildings. Within the last decade though, the process has been adopted by aerospace developers to monitor structural changes — such as stress and strain — in aircraft.

As the technology used to monitor the aircraft’s structural integrity has become more advanced, developers have expanded the analysis capability of sensors.


Key Aerospace and Defense 2019 Trends For Software Development Teams

We surveyed over 300 aerospace and defense developers to better understand the ongoing challenges that are affecting aerospace and defense software development. For the survey, we asked about the current aerospace and defense trends that most impacted software development teams and how they best handled those difficulties.

All of the responses were recorded in the State of Aerospace & Defense Software Development Survey. Here are some of the key findings from our report:


Hackers are the largest security concern of the aerospace and defense software developers that we surveyed. And, for good reason too, as over the past several years, the frequency and severity of air transport industry cyberattacks has been steadily increasing. However, despite the growing threat, only 35% of airlines and 30% of airportsconsider themselves to be adequately prepared, according to air transport IT company, SITA.

Cloud-based Technologies

Design is most impacted by Cloud-based technologies, according to the software developers that we surveyed. Aerospace and defense manufacturing processes are often time-consuming and complex, and Cloud-based technologies can help.

Cloud-based technologies are characterized by their flexibility, efficiency, and functionality. This makes them ideal for teams to quickly test ideas and theories within a secure framework. In fact, according to Aerospace Testing International, the U.S. Air Force estimates that it shortened the amount of time needed to implement new ideas by 70% and reduced the cost of design expenditures by hundreds of millions of dollars annually by using Cloud-based technologies.

AI and Machine Learning

Both AI and machine learning have the potential to radically change aerospace and defense development. And, a majority of the software developers that we surveyed said that machine learning was impacting their product design. What's more, this trend is expected to continue, as the United States Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Aerospace Industry Databook Series (2016-2025) found that the U.S. aerospace industry is expected to increase its investment in AI by 27.2%, which will total over $2 billion by 2025.

With such extensive growth anticipated for the future, the number of aerospace and defense developers using AI and machine learning in development should also increase.


And More Aerospace and Defense 2019 Trends in…

With aerospace and defense technology becoming more sophisticated, the role of software developers in its design has increased in importance. With each new advancement, new challenges are introduced into the development and implementation of the technology, and your software teams need to be prepared.

For that reason, it is essential that your team reviews industry research — such as the State of Aerospace & Defense Software Development Survey — so that they can be better prepared. Not only for the challenges that they currently manage, but also for the challenges that will arise from developing trends.

And, be sure to watch our recorded webinar, where our panel of software development experts discuss the best practices for aerospace and defense software development and how to transition to a modern DevOps approach.

Watch now