At each milestone in aviation history, engineers, daring aviators and astronauts have found ways to break the bounds of earth’s gravity. The Montgolfier Brothers developed the first balloons in 1783. The Wright Brothers recorded the first powered flight in 1903. Yuri Gagarian achieved first orbit in 1961. And, Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon in 1969. These first pioneers of aerospace boldly led the world into new frontiers of flight.

Today, we are part of a new century of powered flight and space exploration.  With the same daring and the advantages of new technologies, aerospace inventors push the boundaries of flight. We see the emergence of players that are disrupting the mobility market with innovative configurations such as Bell, Zuri, Joby Aviation. In the space market, companies like Space X, Blue Origin and Ball Aerospace are lowering cost to access space with their reusable launchers and innovative technologies. Established players and start-ups like Airbus, Eviation and H2 Clipper also reinvent and reinvigorate their businesses by accelerating innovation tending towards zero emission aircraft and driving costs down.

Sustaining an innovation culture

With increased competition and demand for new technology to make the world safer and easier to travel in a sustainable way, the Aerospace and Defense industry continually reshapes itself, building on its long history and culture of innovation.

New Space

The dawn of the entrepreneurial space age — New Space — has been in the making for some years. Now it’s expanding more rapidly than ever, no longer the purview of governments. In the near future, it will deliver better communications networks for all, as well as the ultimate in adventure travel, space tourism. In the longer run, it will lead to a permanent, habitable moon base; possibly some mineral exploitation; and almost certainly a scientific colony on Mars — and that’s only a partial list. More importantly, it’s commercial enterprises that will be in the vanguard.

New start-ups embrace enabling new technologies like 3D printing, multi-scale & multi-physics simulation, and engineer reusable rocketry will dramatically change all previous conventions. 

Sustainable Aviation

Across the Aerospace & Defense industry, environmental priorities are closely linked to key business goals such as efficiency, profitability and regulatory compliance. That provides a powerful impetus for continuous innovation as companies look for new ways to reduce waste, energy consumption and emissions, increase efficiency and lower operating and maintenance costs. As example, to achieve zero emission flights by 2035, Airbus recently presented three hydrogen-powered concepts, (turbofan, turboprop and “blended–wing body” designs). Start-ups are leveraging virtual prototype to refine and test the innovations and minimize waste, before committing valuable resources and materials.

Urban Air Mobility

With the demand for new mobility expected to reach $7,9 billion by 2030, the electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) sector is now facing increasing competition. Joby Aviation, Vertical Aerospace and the other hundreds of start-ups must find the right tools to efficiently deliver new sustainable air mobility innovations while minimizing IT-related expenses. Start-ups are building a virtual experience twin of their VTOL and eVTOL, to handle everything from initial analysis and 3D design modeling all the way through defining requirements, gaining certification and enabling manufacturing.

Accelerating innovations to reinvent the sky

Our white paper provides insights that helps start-ups to accelerate from concept to certification to reinvent the sky with dedicated solution.

Fostering seamless collaboration

More than ever, companies must work more collaboratively across time zones, languages, and organizations to deliver new innovations to market. As companies evolve to work more collaboratively instead of operating in functional, organizational or geographic silos, an integrated platform is required to bring together an entire program - including program management, engineering, testing, manufacturing and operations. By moving beyond Product Data Management (PDM) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems - to an enterprise-wide innovation platform - all functions can collaborate in near real-time to build a program from concept to take-off.

The 3DEXPERIENCE® platform on the cloud enables XSun to design and consolidate all their data on a single location, to keep a unique, clear and clean configuration of all the subsystems. The cloud gives XSun exceptional agility: all employees can access the platform simultaneously and continuously interact, regardless of the domain they work in or the application they use and monitor the overall balance of the aircraft at each change.

Seamless digital collaboration on one platform enables rapid acceleration of new programs from concept to takeoff while significantly cutting development costs.

Accelerating program performance

At the program level, a model based enterprise (MBE) approach including model base systems engineering creates the foundation for companies to explore the best configurations to meet customer requirements and deliver.

Moving the enterprise business view to the engineering/systems view, a model-based system engineering (MBSE) leverages a functional system digital mock-up (S-DMU) to replicate the physical asset, processes and systems. This “digital thread” assembles all of the parts, sub-systems and system designs into a single virtual model. Companies like Lockheed Martin use Model-Based Systems Engineering to manage and simplify product complexity in development. The benefits of MBSE include how a ‘systems of systems' approach simplify engineering complexities between mechanical, electrical, software, and other components using a standard language. 

In addition to MBE and MBSE, co-simulation can help optimize design by assessing thousands of concepts and finding the configurations that best meet the entire list of requirements in weeks vs. months while avoiding potential issues.

Increasing the use of virtual simulation to replace some physical testing enables engineers to have feedback on design earlier and faster in the development program. Improved testing eliminates unplanned testing costs and delays while identifying potential flaws or failures which could incur significant program delays, cost overruns and business impact. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform accelerates the design process, reduces program risk and contributes to improve the design’s performance and process safety thanks to a large set of connected virtual testing means and digitized processes.

Lockheed Martin manages product complexity with MBSE

Learn how Lockheed Martin and other engineering-driven manufacturers solve difficult problems across domains to successfully design and build products using Model-Based Systems Engineering.

Creating the Future of Manufacturing

Competition, unexpected events, and consumer demand put relentless pressure on manufacturers.

The Future of Manufacturing is based on the concept of the smart factory, which interconnects machinery and systems on production sites, but also outside to clients, partners and other production sites. It’s not just digitalized manufacturing. Instead, it is digitalized manufacturing informed by new ways of inventing, learning, producing and trading that are shaking all sectors of the economy and society. A critical aspect of every digitalization strategy is the move to using virtual process planning that allows aerospace companies to increase productivity, reduce overall cost, improve product quality and accelerate time-to-market.

Companies like Latécoère use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to model their factory virtually to simulate how new innovations will be produced and foresee potential issues before they occur. This virtual model helps manufacturing teams determine how to best orchestrate and balance production flow before product starts.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables you to:

  • Achieve Sustainable Innovation and Excellence: Reduce risk, improve and predict operational performance by combining the power of virtual and real worlds where people and machines come together to transform manufacturing.
  • Create Value Networks: Transform supply chains into value networks by removing barriers between business partners to deliver sustainable innovation to consumers.  
  • Empower the Workforce of the Future: Reveal the workforce talents of today to enable the workforce of tomorrow with ready access to knowledge and know-how.


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