Military Aircraft Technology

Military science and engineering advances span many industries from metals to composites, electronics to computers, propulsion to fuels and beyond. The military needs to move materiel farther, more quickly and more energy efficiently leading to cutting-edge science, breakthroughs in engineering and technology that advance the state-of-the art; all of which are improvements that can be applied to the wider society.

The aircraft technology that can be found in this section includes engines, propulsion, radar, stealthy materials, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and much more. Engine technology strives for greater efficiency with turbines for propeller driven transport aircraft and jet engines becoming more capable of cruising at supersonic speeds. On-board radars are achieving greater sophistication with advances in computing power and quantum radar is being developed that could enhance conventional radar. The composite skins and their coatings will continue to be improved to enhance their stealthy characteristics and make their maintenance easier.

The fast-paced world of Military Aerospace Technology

The early aircraft of the 20th century started life as wood and fabric machines with two wings and one or more piston engines driving propellers. The technology of military aircraft evolved, and the two wings became one wing. The cockpit became enclosed and the pilot, or pilots, gained an on-board oxygen supply. The structure and skin became metal by World War Two whilst the piston driven propeller was replaced by a jet engine and the wing became swept to allow for supersonic flight, as the military fighter flew higher and faster.

Eventually engine exhaust nozzles could be vectored for better aerobatics and the infra-red signature of an exhaust suppressed to counter missiles. The transport aircraft remained subsonic but became larger with either jet power or many propellers. A wider variety of military aircraft saw platforms dedicated to missions such as early warning with huge radars. Fighter jets became bombers and electronic warfare specialists, jamming enemy ground radar and communications, not just high-speed interceptors designed for dog fights. A navigator or weapon systems officer would operate the complex avionics systems for these specialised missions and increasingly these onboard computers are linked to a network of satellites. Eventually composites and special coatings came to replace the metal skins as radar defeating stealth technology was adopted.

The Future of Aircraft Technology

On this page you can find the latest in technological developments for military aircraft, piloted or autonomous. You will find here a central resource for the latest advances in aerospace science and engineering, where you can track the progress of research and development programmes around the world, whether they are radar scattering fuselages for stealth, drone wingmen, supersonic engines or avionics that are networked with ground, air and space assets.

Elbit Systems to provide TF/TA systems for KF-X

Khalem Chapman

Israeli-based Elbit Systems has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Hanwha Systems to provide Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance (TF/TA) systems for the South Korea's KF-X next generation fighter.

Khalem Chapman

Poland signs for F-35A procurement

Khalem Chapman

Poland has become the latest nation to go on contract for the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II – the conventional take-off and landing variant of the multirole stealth fighter.

Khalem Chapman

Rolls-Royce unveils Tempest engine technology details

Khalem Chapman

Rolls-Royce, has unveiled the first details of the “world-first technology” that will be incorporated into the Tempest next-generation fighter aircraft.

Khalem Chapman

NATO initiates AWACS Life Extension Programme

Khalem Chapman

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has announced a Life Extension Programme (LEP) for its Boeing E-3A Sentry airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) fleet, which aims to keep the aircraft operational until 2035.

Khalem Chapman

MBDA to integrate Meteor onto KF-X

Khalem Chapman

European missile manufacturer, MBDA, has been contracted to integrate its Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) onto South Korea's future KF-X multirole fighter.

Khalem Chapman

European Union green lights MBDA TWISTER project

Khalem Chapman

The Council of the European Union has given missile developer MBDA the green light to develop its Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance (TWISTER) missile defence project.

Khalem Chapman
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