The aerospace sector develops some of the most highly engineered and complex systems on earth. These diverse set of systems have a multitude of performance requirements and need to operate flawlessly under long and harsh environments. This is a highly regulated sector with OEMs and their supply chain having to proof flight worthiness to regulatory authorities.
The aerospace sector is also composed of several segments each with their own unique engineering challenges. Some of these sub-sectors and their respective characteristics include:
AIRFRAMES (AIRPLANES) – The airframe segment is composed of large airplanes, regional jets, business & civil aviation jets, and cargo planes which transport people and cargo around the world. Military jets and cargo planes are also tend to be included in this sub-segment. Airframes need to proof structural integrity & reliability for primary structures, redundancy for secondary systems and undergo extensive flight testing to become certified.
AERO-ENGINES (JET ENGINES) – The main aero-engines systems include the Compressor (compresses incoming air), Combustor (ignites the compressed air with fuel), Turbine (takes energy off the passing air to power the compressor) and Externals (houses the tubing and brackets around the jet engine). This sub-sector has rotors that rotate anywhere between 10K RPMs to 500K RPMs with very tight blade tip tolerance requirements, operating at high temperatures and having to safely disengage when struck by a bird or in a fan blade out event. Manufacturers have ensure proper aerodynamics, structural integrity and lifing static and rotating components as well as hot and cold systems.
SPACE & DEFENSE – The Space & Defense segment is comprised mainly of launch vehicles and satellites used for commercial and military purposes. Manufacturers and their supply chain need to certify structural survivability both for the relatively short but intense launch environment as well as for the relatively longer space environment over the life of the system.
ROTORCRAFTS (HELICOPTERS) – Experience very high vibration and acoustic levels and have to operate in harsh environments in both military and civilian missions. In addition, the flight dynamics of helicopters is more complex than their airframe counterparts. This leads to a rigorous and challenging certification process to ensure flight worthiness and reliability.