Digital revolution is the advancement of technology from analogue electronics to digital technology which began from the late 1950s to late 1970s with the adoption of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day. Digital revolution is reshaping the development, shielding and sustainability of Aerospace and Defence systems. The defence department is at the front end of a significant journey toward a digital engineering transformation mandated by the need to maintain technical dominance over adversaries. For aerospace and defence industry to take full advantage of digital revolution it will not only require a digital ecosystem but also a transition from linear, documented and eccentric processes that maximize the advantages of a digital ecosystem. (Kraft and Dave, 2018)
When it comes to technology and business, the aerospace industry has had it relatively easy over the past decades. Despite the change in the size of modern aircraft’s, the manufacturing process remains the same. There are three major disruptors that are bringing change to the aerospace and defence industry. These disruptors are digitalization, customer demand and the need to achieve sustainable growth.
For decades, the aerospace and defence industry has been ambitious adopters of advanced technologies which occurred in response to customer demand. However, in recent years the aerospace and defence industry has been slower in their implementation and other digital platforms than other industries. This is because their approach lacks focus, a firm organizational structure and they pay little attention to customers’ needs. These problems can be solved by focusing on a limited amount of digital initiatives, establishing a better relationship between the company and the customers, integrating capabilities from the company’s ecosystem of digital partners, attracting digital talent and building an organizational model that favours digital transformation.
Aerospace and defence companies are under pressure to maximize profits and improve their efficiency. Technologies that open up improvement in aerospace and defence are 3D printing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain, cloud, mobile and analytics, cybersecurity and sensors. Aerospace and defence companies should not focus solely on manufacturing and delivery of products but also on providing solutions for their customers and on innovation and rapidly adapting to change.
In aerospace and defence, growth opportunities emerge through new business models, blended partnerships and technological advancements. By embracing new technologies, industries can thrive in the digital era. Through an aerospace and defence digital value chain, companies can connect design, manufacture and service (DMS) domains, digitize the continuous improvement cycle and apply connected factory, digital thread and digital twin concepts to the DMS model so as to improve availability and profits. Aerospace and defence industries are expected to understand the industry’s direction and challenges to keep pace with global politics, customer needs and regulations.
Aerospace and defence companies are digitally transforming their engineering processes with ANSYS. By digitally transforming and integrating simulation throughout their engineering processes, obstacles like rising operation costs, demanding requirements for advanced technology and short supply of skilled engineers can be overcome. ANSYS helps accelerate digital transformation. Companies with ANSYS simulations can create new aircraft designs and enhance engine performance. To keep pace with the military’s demanding and evolutionary needs, companies must digitally transform and integrate a digital thread throughout its manufacturing enterprise.
Digital engineering also referred to as ‘Industry 4.0’, is causing a new industrial revolution. With some aerospace and defence organizations lagging in the adoption of ‘Industry 4.0’. The organizations concerned should strive to achieve better digital transformation. ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies’ could be the key to unlocking future competitiveness.
The aerospace and defence organizations could leverage these technologies and incorporate digital transformation throughout their organizations. ‘Industry 4.0’ technology can impact every company operating within the aerospace and defence industry from original manufacturers to small suppliers. Despite the implementation of ‘industry 4.0’ in certain areas like manufacturing and the supply chain, many aerospace and defence companies have been slower in adopting broader digital transformation initiatives.
This is because many companies in the industry have not prioritized Industry 4.0 across the enterprise and have rather primarily invested in specifically focused technology implementations. Implementing ‘Industry 4.0’ the aerospace and defence sector enables the development of cost-effective products and services making existing products smarter using sensors and leveraging advanced manufacturing processes such as additive manufacturing among others.
Digital revolution is reshaping the development, fielding and sustainment of aerospace and defence systems. The defence department is at the front of the journey towards a digital transformation brought about by the need to maintain technical dominance over adversaries. This remains a key front in the battle supremacy for power in the current era where countries like the USA have complete dominance.
Chris Lennon DXC Technology ( 2018 May 30) Digital thread and how can it help the aerospace manufacturing industry accessed on 14th September 2019 from https://blogs.dxc.technology/2019/04/01/what-is-digital-thread-and-how-can-it-help-the-aerospace-defense-industry/
Jerome B, Geoff M and Lino S, (2018) How Customer Demands And Digitalization accessed on 14th September 2019 from https://www.forbes.com/
Kraft and Dave C, (September 2018) Defense Department Struggles to Define Autonomy Magazine accessed on 14th September 2019 from https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles?Author=%7BB8AFD2F8-C429-4E7D-8525-45C838CCD000%7D
Mark B, Frank C and Melanie R (2017) McKinsey and Company, 2017 Five keys to digitizing aerospace and defence companies Accessed on 14th September 2019 from https://www.mckinsey.com › our-insights