Times change and a new generation of engineers and scientists are focused on new agile methods which are significantly improving development time and costs, with a dramatical reduction of final defects. And yet, Aerospace System Engineering and Certification Frameworks seem to be frozen from the past decade, inmutable year after year. Awaiting for an evolution from the rigid waterfall process, predictive project management or document-based certification to a new flexible and agile framework. Even better, for a revolution!
Real examples illustrate that the traditional system engineering approach is not adapted to modern technology challenges. Big aerospace programs from the industry leaders (e.g. Airbus A400M, Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing 787) have experienced delays, overrun and all kind of issues that have even questioned their viability.
These programs have shown that engineers are not very good at anticipating all potential system design issues, especially when we are talking about new complex systems development.
Obviously, aerospace products are significantly more reliable, safer and functional in the last years; but the parallel investment of time, resources and capabilities have undergone an exponential increase that are not in line with these improvements.
But there are no bad days, only bad perspectives: The Great Revolution is just in front of aerospace engineers; new techniques from IT discipline can be applied to the traditional system engineer to address current problems for new designs: Agile Methods that are taken the place of traditional approach for SW Development, Rapid-Prototyping that allows to fabricate testing specimens in a short-term or Big Data, which is driving new capabilities for verification and certification methods, as Brute-Force Testing or Virtual Service Experience .
These new techniques, already used in other innovative industries, will carry aerospace system engineering to the next level. The Great Revolution, the time when the aerospace industry becomes a modern-driven industry. We are in mourning for System Engineering, as we know it.