As 2024 is now in full swing, it’s time we thought about what the coming 12 months might hold for the aerospace and defence industry. It promises to be an exciting year in terms of aircraft launches, tech developments, and much more.
So, what does 2024 hold for aerospace and defence? Let’s take a look.
We’ve spoken about it a lot in the past, but it would be wrong to overlook the importance of 2024 for the eVTOL industry. In around 6 months’ time, Volocopter will officially launch its VoloCity air taxi at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Despite there only being one company launching its eVTOL commercially at the Games, it’s a monumental event for the industry at large. Think of it like a large-scale experiment: it’ll test consumer opinion, practicality, flight routes, and more. And with the publicity of such a worldwide event behind it, the pressure is on for Volocopter to deliver.
This year promises to be a big one for defence aircraft. By chance if nothing else, 2024 is the year that the US Air Force will pick the developer for its Next-Generation Air Dominance platform as well as the main contenders for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program flying their test helicopters.
In Europe, we’ll likely see the first prototype of the Airbus Eurodrone program entering assembly and the General Atomics MQ-9B UAV entering service with the RAF as the RG Mk 1. There’s a lot of new tech entering the defence scene in the coming years, and a lot of it will begin in 2024.
We mentioned sustainability in our round-up of 2023, but it deserves a place here, too. After all, it’s not going away as an industry trend, and 2024 will hopefully be the year when we start seeing plans come to fruition.
An important shift we’ll likely see this year is the move from developer supply to consumer demand. R&D departments always need to stay ahead of the curve, but we’ve seen more and more consumers push for sustainable products, and this will only increase in 2024.
Hopefully, we’ll see this move to a government and legislative level, too, thanks to a growing understanding of sustainable aviation fuel, supersonic flight and other innovative tech. The door is wide open for a boom in this sector, so it’ll be fascinating to see what the year holds.
Aside from high-level industry trends, we must look closer to the ground at the people making these shifts happen. The future of aerospace and defence is set to be more technological than ever, and this translates to changes in education and development to train, attract and retain the right talent.
Digital skills are already vital for aerospace, but the industry is facing more competition than ever before. The rise in sustainability in other areas, such as automotive and life sciences, means we may have to work harder to appeal to talented professionals. How this will play out, though, remains to be seen.
On the one hand, 2024 promises to be much of the same – but not in a bad way. It’ll hopefully be a year in which we see many developments come to fruition to pave the way for further developments in the rest of the decade. In short, 2024 will likely be a year of transition, and it’ll be all the more exciting for it.