The aeronautics industry is a main contributor to national security, commerce, and transportation. It is considered as a technology driver that leads to spin-offs of advanced technology products and comprised of three major sectors: air frame, engine, and equipments.
The market is composed of civil aeronautics of air crafts used for domestic commerce and air civilian air transport and military aeronautics includes air arms for the military aviation of countries.
United States Aerospace Market
Since World War II, U.S. aircrafts, engines, and parts has dominated domestic and the foreign markets for subsonic transports, general aviation, commuter, and military aircraft. US technology and products is also the driver for the development of global transportation infrastructure like airports and air traffic management systems.
Currently, the aeronautics industry is the largest positive industrial contributor to the US balance of trade, plays a vital role in maintaining the safety and convenience of air travel throughout the world, and provides important contributions to the defense of U.S. interests, having flown the most isolated parts of the world.
The Boeing Company
The Boeing Company is one of the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircrafts It designs and manufacture rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems, and operates Space Shuttle and International Space Station for NASA, and military and commercial airline support services. It operates in more than 90 countries around the world and is one of the largest U.S. exporters in terms of sales.
Boeing is headquartered in Chicago and employs more than 160,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries. Currently it is expanding product lines and services developing more commercial airplanes, military platforms, defense systems and the war fighter through network-centric operations; creating advanced technology solutions that reach across business units; e-enabling airplanes and providing connectivity on moving platforms; and arranging financing solutions for our customers.
Europe’s Aerospace Market
The region is presently struggling to keep pace with the strong increase in mobility and demand. However the region is the main competitor of US in terms of air travel over medium and long-haul routes. EU states are now increasing their funds to support and fund research initiatives to meet market demands and grab potential opportunities in the industry.
Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer providing product lines such as the from the 100-seat single-aisle A318 jetliner to the 525-seat A380, the largest civil airliner in service.
Airbus has expanded into the military transport aircraft sector with the A400M multi-role military air lifter produced under management of the Airbus Military company replacing ageing fleets of C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transalls beginning in 2009. In addition, aerial tankers for in-flight refueling and transport missions are available in aircraft variants derived from the A310 and A330.
Recent research focus areas in aeronautics include nanotechnology, developmental test and evaluation, network-centric warfare, intelligent systems, and environmental air transport.
Energy Optimized Aircraft and Equipment Systems
Air craft technologies are related to the design and integration of energy consuming Aircraft Equipment Systems (AES). These systems are located under the floor, inside wings and behind panels, essentially ensuring performance, safety, and controllability.
New aircraft configurations advance available components and integration of these systems to introduce possibilities for greater efficiency in terms of the following:
- Environmental control and all aspects of thermal management
- Flight control actuation ice and rain protection
- Landing gear and braking
- Electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic generation and distribution
- Auxiliary and emergency power generation
- Aircraft fuel system
- Engine support
- Lighting, cabin and water/waste
Active areas of research in the aeronautic industry include nano-devices and -systems, nanoelectronics, nano-manufacturing, nano-materials, nano-sensors and the environmental, health and safety aspects of nanotechnology. Current research activities include the ability to combine multiple “nano” disciplines to create new, synergistic applications of nanotechnology.
The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative as a field in which nanotechnology has the potential to enable a wealth of innovation, particularly in materials/structures and intelligent bio-nanomaterials in aeronautics.
Environmental Air Transport
The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative will congregate European R&D stakeholders for the development of green air vehicle design, engines and systems to minimize the environmental impact of future air transport systems.
Technologies will directly aim for the reduction of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by air transport, cutting specific emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 80% and decreasing noise levels. The targets reflect the Ultra Green High Level Target Concepts developed by the Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE). Other focus areas include the reduction of soot, water vapour and particulates emission through alternative fuels; aircraft engine configurations, intelligent low-weight structures, improved aerodynamic efficiency, airport operations and air traffic management as well as manufacturing and recycling processes.
Asia’s Aerospace Market
Relative to Europe and the Americas, Asia’s security situation is increasingly fluid. Emerging superpowers, weapons proliferation and nuclear tensions are key movements in the defense industry.
Increased nuclearization among Emerging Markets, particularly China, India, Pakistan, and Iran, has created geopolitical tensions and new demands for defense offerings. Meanwhile, political calls are growing in developed nations for collaborative efforts toward reduced nuclearization.
Conversely, weapons imports have grown dramatically in South East Asia over the past few years. Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are leading the growth with triple and double digit growth in weapons imports.
In addition, defense budgets in Asia are on the rise. The rise is being lead by regional tensions and a desire for more sophisticated technologies. Recently China has publicly announced its advanced capabilities to destroy ballistic missiles and demonstrated its defense capabilities in space.
Analysts expect increased demand from Asian governments. Asian companies may continue collaboration with established defense companies primarily in developed nations for cutting edge weapons development.
Western aerospace and defense giants have emphasized their offerings of unmanned systems, aircraft, energy systems and cyber technology to, what industry giants consider, one of their most important markets. While leadership in the defense industry is led by developed nations, industry observers are increasingly curious when Asia will be able to take a greater role in developing weaponry on a larger, more self-sufficient scale.
Security and Quality of Life
September 11, 2001 has shown the vulnerability of the air transportation system, and the need for improved security. The long-term trend of growing numbers of commercial air operations demands a further reduction in the currently low rate of air transport accidents. Aviation safety and security pose numerous challenges to security personnel, operators, and aircraft designers. The public and aircrews must be protected both in the air and on the ground from danger and injury.
A serious problem facing the U.S. aeronautics industry is attracting, educating, and retaining the next generation of aeronautical engineers. The aerospace workforce is aging and a significant number of people are nearing retirement.
The average age of production workers is 44 in the commercial sector, 53 in defense, and 51 at NASA. In addition, the proportion of workers age 30 or younger dropped by almost two-thirds, from 18 percent in 1987 to 6.4 percent in 1999. There is an increasing concern that the current number of students in the educational “pipeline” is not sufficient to meet the future needs of the aeronautics industry.