Two annual military and aerospace (mil/aero) industry events took place last week: the MILCOM military communications conference in San Diego, Calif., and the Dubai Airshow in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The mood was a bit somber at the military conference and exhibition, as mil/aero professionals expressed concern over defense budgets throughout the world. The biennial Dubai Airshow, however, brought with it a bustling crowd, optimistic and even celebratory mood, and hundreds of billions of dollars (and AED, or Arab Emirates Dirhams) in contracts, orders, and agreements.
Defense spending in the U.S. and Europe is considered stagnant from a dollar-value standpoint; that it, militaries and the prime contractors and subcontractors that support them are still innovating, but investing roughly the same amount year over year.
Attentions in the U.S. and U.K. have turned to the retrofit, modification, and upgrade (RMU) of currently fielded military platforms, including manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), ground combat vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), and ships and unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs)—rather than the acquisition of new air, ground, and sea vehicle platforms.
Looking at the worldwide aircraft market, spending on military aircraft is plateauing whereas the civil aviation market is set for additional, and perhaps even record, growth, reveals Richard L. Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, a team of experienced analysts and service professionals founded to research and publish timely, accurate information on the aerospace and defense industry. This mil/aero geek has seen Aboulafia open the Mentor Graphics’ Integrated Electrical Solutions Forum (IESF) focused on Aerospace, commonly called IESF Aerospace.