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Aerospace & Defense

The State of the Aerospace & Defense Industry

The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is one of the largest and most technologically advanced industries in the world. Although many countries have thriving A&D sectors, the United States has by far the largest A&D industry in terms of funding and exports.


Even in 2021 amidst global challenges, the U.S. A&D workforce consisted of 2.1 million people, making up 1.4% of the country’s total employment base

Globally, the aerospace and defense industry is facing unique challenges due to supply chain disruptions, global conflicts, and shifts in demand. But there are also opportunities for those organizations that can deploy innovative technology solutions and leverage new computing and security capabilities.


Here’s the current state of the A&D industry and what to expect in the future.

Commercial Aviation

Commercial Aviation

The commercial aviation sector includes organizations that design and manufacture commercial aircraft, as well as those that provide other types of services, such as consulting and maintenance. Large commercial airliners, private business jets, personal aircraft, helicopters, and now, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as all these products’ systems and components, are parts of the commercial aviation sector.


Commercial aviation grew rapidly as a sector after World War II. The war saw significant innovation in aviation out of necessity, as many of the aircraft being developed before and during the war were designed to assist the military. It’s these ex-military aircraft that shepherded in the commercial aviation industry as we know it.


Today, there is a thriving industry for commercial planes, helicopters, and UAVs, as the industry has refined this technology to be more affordable and accessible. Commercial aircraft manufacturing is now the largest segment of the A&D industry. It includes large, multinational organizations as well as small companies that manufacture parts and subsystems.


As such, commercial aviation companies will need unprecedented IT capabilities to support their growing enterprises. Cybersecurity will also be paramount to the industry moving forward, as companies must be able to protect their intellectual property and data.

Military Aviation

The military aviation industry includes the design and manufacturing of combat and non-combat aircraft, such as transports, patrol aircraft, and reconnaissance UAVs. It also includes the many organizations and contractors that service these platforms, as well as those that develop the weapons, hardware, and software that make them function effectively.


Military aircraft date back to the American Civil War, which saw the use of manned observation balloons. But the military aviation industry truly began at scale during the first and second World Wars, which saw significant air combat in most theaters. During the Cold War era and beyond, the United States has maintained the strongest Air Force in the world.


Today, military aviation organizations are introducing new and innovative technologies that will significantly change the way militaries use and deploy their aircraft. The most widely known innovation is the mass deployment of UAVs, but government agencies and the commercial enterprises that support them are also introducing aircraft that operate with higher efficiency, run on alternative fuels, and incorporate new information technologies like artificial intelligence (AI)—the United States Air Force achieved the first military flight with an AI copilot in 2020.


Organizations and agencies involved in the design, production and servicing of military aircraft need an IT infrastructure that supports their endeavors. These include high-powered computing environments, virtual prototyping capabilities, communications infrastructures, and more.

Military Aviation
Public and Commercial Space Programs

Public and Commercial Space Programs

As an offshoot of aeronautics, space exploration has a long history of bringing countries together to collaborate on scientific feats and challenges, but it has long been supported by a science and technology industry responsible for some of the most significant breakthroughs in human history. Whereas space exploration was previously the domain of governmental agencies, it now includes private-sector players that are shaping the future of the industry.


The future of space programs will be marked by innovations in engineering and design. It will also depend on next-generation communications infrastructures and high-powered computing environments. According to Harvard Business Review, 95% of the estimated $366 billion in revenue earned in the space sector was from the space-for-earth economy, which refers to goods and services produced in space for use on earth, such as telecommunications and internet infrastructures, earth observation technologies, security satellites, and more.


Likely, the next steps in this sector will see commercial enterprises putting humans in space, which is apparent by efforts backed by Boeing, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and other companies. This industry will breed an entirely new generation of supportive industries that will need guidance in the selection, implementation, and management of groundbreaking information technologies.

Cyber Defense

Traditionally, the cybersecurity market has been led by enterprises engaged in the development of new cybersecurity software suites and by cybersecurity consulting firms that serve as augmentations of organizations’ IT departments. But increasingly, the aerospace and defense cybersecurity market is becoming one of the most important sectors for safeguarding governments, agencies, and
private sector organizations.


Growing advancements in information technology and the outsized threat of cyberattacks on governments have made cyber defense critical. Military organizations and government agencies are also increasingly dependent upon the public internet to engage in operations, which creates new levels of risk. Now, the global defense cybersecurity market is expected to reach $33.7 billion by 2028.


Defense contractors, militaries, and government agencies are generating unprecedented amounts of data which must be protected, structured, and leveraged. IT security teams within defense organizations can turn to vetted and trusted IT experts to help them protect their data and deploy next-generation computing capabilities.

Cyber Defense
Emerging Defense Technologies

Emerging Defense Technologies

The next generation of ground, air, and sea defense technologies will have a disruptive impact on both the public and private sectors. Both governments and commercial organizations are preparing for changes in A&D, and not necessarily with new weapons technology.


According to the United States Naval Institute, rapid advances in technologies including advanced artificial intelligence, robotics, directed energy, and biotechnology are just a few of the developments that are likely to mature within A&D in the near future. These will bring unique challenges to governments and private companies, but also potential opportunities.


Organizations supporting the development of these technologies will need infrastructures that provide them with state-of-the-art computing capabilities. However, cybersecurity will also be a key driver of business in this sector as government agencies and private sector organizations evolve.

Prepare for the Future of Aerospace & Defense

Uvation specializes in helping private and public sector organizations in this space deploy, manage, and optimize their technology investments. As experts in emerging IT resources, we can prepare your organization for the future.


Contact Uvation today to learn more about our capabilities.

Prepare for the Future of Aerospace & Defense