Following the news that Boeing has started its production of the T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer aircraft;
Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on how the defense industry has incorporated state of the art technology in aircraft production:
“As Boeing starts its portion of production for this program, it brings to light another example where commercial development has influenced production in the defense sector. Previous examples include the use of 3D printing in the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Australian Navy, and the use of connected augmented reality (AR) headsets for maintenance tasks in the Canadian Navy.
“Using state of the art technology, such as 3D model based definition and data management systems to digitally engineer and design the aircraft, and now in production, it shows how the industry can learn from the disrupters and technology leaders. This will enable the industry to incorporate new ideas and reduce lead times for a project to get off the ground.
“With greater adoption of such technologies in design and production, we may see further advances in the defense industry such as greater use of networked devices, AI in defense and smart materials. This will allow the defense industry to achieve greater efficiencies while reducing overall costs. By using these technologies in design and production, it reduces development costs from multiple models, in testing and costs associated from those processes having to run longer than achieving results from simulated models.
“At the same time, as far as this program is concerned, these advanced trainers and their ground-based training simulators provide a safer and more realistic avenue for the USAF to train its next generation of fighter pilots.”