The world is becoming a perilously uncertain place.

Over recent decades, threats have become increasingly asymmetrical, both in their form and occurrence. For nations across the world, this challenging environment is increasing the need for versatile aerospace and defence technology that can support their efforts in efficiently building security, supporting economic growth, and providing stability to their citizens, core industries and institutions.

Ongoing security challenges in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, for example, highlight a growing need for state-of-the-art aerospace systems and aircraft that can perform multiple mission-types with greater reliability and technological efficiency in challenging environments. This presents two questions: First, how do we better equip governments with the aerospace capabilities needed to tackle such threats when the world is changing so rapidly? Second, how do we ensure that today’s R&D is going to meet challenges of tomorrow which we cannot yet predict?

R&D and engineering programmes conducted by the aerospace sector have traditionally orientated towards large national defence procurement programmes, the high-volume manufacturing of rolling stock aircraft to meet the requirements of national airforces over the course of several years. The critical importance of these types of projects cannot be overstated, of course, and they will continue to play a large part in meeting the macro national security demands for some time to come.

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