aerospace and defense 2019 trends
February 4, 2020

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

Security & Compliance
Static Analysis

Find out which aerospace and defense industry trends you need to know. In this blog, we recap key aerospace and defense industry trends — and strategies to keep up.

Evolution of Aerospace and Defense Industry Trends

The aerospace and defense industries have consistently produced leading designs by using:

  • Modern techniques.
  • Inventive technologies.
  • Innovative manufacturing processes.

Some of these measures have led to disruptions. This is true for the overall aerospace and defense industries. And these trends have an impact on the software development teams as well.

Make sure your software development team can be more prepared to effectively manage them. 

Get the Aerospace and Defense Report

In late 2019, we surveyed aerospace and defense software developers. Find out what they said about everything from cloud-based technologies to software security. Get the full insights.


Key 2019 Aerospace and Defense Industry Trends

You need to be prepared for the following key aerospace and defense industry trends:

  • Autonomous vehicles/robots.
  • Electric and hybrid engines.
  • Structural health monitoring.

If you aren't prepared, you could fall behind in development time and software quality.

Here's what you need to know about the top aerospace and defense industry trends.

Autonomous Vehicles/Robots

Autonomous vehicles and robots will become more commonplace within the next several years. Aerospace and defense developers are beginning to use the technology.

Here's one notable area of design. Autonomous military vehicles are produced for 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. You need 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. Using secure coding practices along with a static code analyzer is key.

Electric and Hybrid Engines

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

Developing new engines will require sophisticated software and control electrics. These ensure that the machine can successfully achieve the amount of output necessary for lift.

Aerospace and defense developers will need to comply with functional standards. This includes IEC 61508, as well as their own internal standards.

Structural Health Monitoring

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is already a common damage detection process. It 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. They use it to monitor structural changes — such as stress and strain — in aircraft.

As the technology has become more advanced, developers have expanded the analysis capability of sensors.

Aerospace and Defense Industry Trends: Key Takeaways

The role of software developers is even more important to keep up with aerospace and defense industry trends. With each new advancement, new challenges are introduced. And your software teams need to be prepared.

In the recorded webinar below, our panel of software development experts discuss these aerospace and defense industry trends — and what it means for you.


3 Aerospace and Defense Industry Trends: Technology Trends

We surveyed over 300 aerospace and defense developers to better understand aerospace and defense industry trends. In particular, we asked about technology trends. 

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. Over the past several years, the frequency and severity of air transport industry cyberattacks has steadily increased.

Despite the growing threat, only 35% of airlines and 30% of airports consider themselves to be adequately prepared.

Download the Aerospace and Defense Cybersecurity White Paper

To mitigate increasing risks, development teams must think strategically when it comes to the aerospace and defense cybersecurity of tomorrow. Gain insights into coding guidelines and automated testing tools that help safeguard embedded software against cyber threats. 


Cloud-Based Technologies

Design is most impacted by cloud-based technologies. Aerospace and defense manufacturing processes are often time-consuming and complex. 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 they reduced the cost of design expenditures by hundreds of millions of dollars annually. This was all done 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. 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%. This will total over $2 billion by 2025.

Get the Full Scoop

Get the State of Aerospace and Defense Report. You'll get the full scoop on aerospace and defense industry trends. And you'll find out what you need to do to prepare for the future today.

▶️ Get the Report