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The A&D Shift Toward Smaller Products

  • 7 June 2017
  • mainpath
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Categories: Aerospace & Defense

an airplane flies through the sky

The A&D market is rapidly evolving, and whereas aerospace is booming in response to a boost in global economy, defense faces some monetary restraints. Today’s A&D companies are encouraged to spend more on research and development of smaller products to keep up with the changing market.

This difficult position is exacerbated by the lack of new weapons programs and a shift towards vendors outside of the core A&D industry; especially in terms of defense. Faced with competition from other technology firms, a tightening budget, and the uncertain and fluctuating needs of the military, the A&D industry is challenged to reposition to meet the needs of the market.

Let’s look at a few opportunities companies in the A&D industry have to position themselves for the future.

Human-Machine Combat Collaboration and Cognitive Computing Systems

Human-machine collaboration allows the military to pair human personnel with intuitive machines that can learn about their users. Cognitive machines enhance the focus of human teams, allowing them to make better decisions and accomplish missions more efficiently.

Computer systems also provide a wealth of data, offering an unprecedented assessment of individual performance. Investigating this type of machinery — technology that learns from the user as it goes, enhances the user’s performance, and actively collaborates with human teammates — can allow A&D companies opportunities to provide extensive benefits to customers. Human-machine collaboration offers the ability to face combat using fewer resources, achieve better operation in dynamic environments, and provide adaptive aids in the field.

Autonomous Weapons and Learning Systems

The parallel abilities to further trust computing systems and reduce human workload are both highly marketable in the A&D space. By integrating human resources with autonomous systems — which can take on the heavy burden of decision-making, and perform at a faster rate than their human counterparts — military units can get an edge over the enemy, while lowering the need for human headcount.

This opens a huge opportunity for A&D companies to offer high value to military customers — through systems built to not only take action on their own, but also to intelligently adapt to combat conditions. The greatest benefit of these autonomous systems is that they reduce the need to sacrifice the bandwidth of human resources.

Advanced Manned-Unmanned System Operations

Mitigating problems in the field requires quick thinking and strategic action; both of which can be improved by employing innovative cooperative operations between manned and unmanned platforms. For example, imagine a machine operator describing an issue in natural human language, and receiving a proposed solution from the system. This can be made possible with preprogrammed technical materials.

By augmenting traditional human responsibilities with the use of systems that can detect and respond without human interaction, the A&D industry can tap into thriving market interests — machines that provide timely solutions while requiring little human distraction.

A&D Companies Need Advanced Tools to Succeed in Today’s Market

With a tightening budget and new demands from the market, we expect to see the A&D industry pivot to focus on advanced technological products. Machines that assist humans, learn from humans, and complete basic functions autonomously are in high demand, as the military strives to reduce human risk and increase accuracy in all endeavors.

In order to succeed in producing new highly advanced solutions, A&D manufacturers need top-notch internal systems that allow them to properly scale, budget, and communicate through production. New product development requires that manufacturers have a comprehensive view of the entire supply chain, in order to closely monitor production processes.

Strong technological tools like ERP systems are becoming more than just convenient — they’re becoming necessary in this rapidly evolving industry. ERP solutions allow for real-time communication throughout the manufacturing and resource planning process. Innovation and a streamlined production process will be the keys the A&D industry needs to remain competitive, in the face of encroaching industries that already have a stronghold on technology’s cutting edge.

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