Mission: Possible — The Successful Rise of the Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Industry
The aerospace and defense manufacturing industry gains momentum, as private aerospace companies join the market and reach new heights.
August 3, 2023
The aerospace and defense industry is lifting off again, gaining momentum after the pandemic stalled its rapid growth. Aerospace and defense contract manufacturers like Cadrex play a vital role in helping the industry match its pre-pandemic progress and driving its development forward.
The aerospace and defense industry refers to the research, development, and manufacturing of flight vehicles, weapon systems, and defense equipment. This includes aircraft, engines, space vehicles, and land defense vehicles. Defense contractors partner with government agencies to provide military-grade manufacturing. Private airlines or space companies looking for quality control in aerospace manufacturing may partner with high-quality manufacturing companies to design and build parts for their products, or to offer inspection services on their projects.
The Industry soars Once again
According to data analysis from PwC, the aerospace and defense industry reported revenues of $741 billion in 2022 (up 3% from 2021) and $67 billion in operating profit (up 8%). The aviation sector, paralyzed by workforce shortages and a troubled supply chain, is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels and resume its growth trajectory by the end of this year. The defense sector should experience significant growth this year, while the space sector continues to expand at a rapid pace.
American Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing
No longer a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Space Race has a new meaning. Now, private companies are running alongside and matching speed with government space agencies to reach new limits and beyond. These companies entice powerful investors to enter the modern-day Space Race, with excitement buzzing around new technologies and the advancement of private space exploration. And much of the action starts on American soil.
According to Statista, the United States is among the most important markets for aerospace products. The U.S. market contributed about $89 billion in aerospace exports in 2021, making it the leading country in terms of sales value. The U.S. is also a major contributor when it comes to global defense spending, accounting for about 40 percent of the market. The two largest armament companies in the world, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies, are headquartered in the United States.
It makes sense that companies like Lockheed Martin would want to partner with an American aerospace and defense manufacturing company to help with some of its heavy lifting.
Best Traits to Consider When Choosing an Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Partner
There is no room for error in aerospace and defense manufacturing. It’s all about precision, quality, and (due to the sensitive and often confidential nature of the projects) trustworthiness. There are several traits that companies must consider when looking for the right aerospace and defense manufacturing partner.
There are stringent documentation, certification, and non-disclosure requirements for many of the projects outsourced by the U.S. Military. Regulatory compliance in defense manufacturing is useful for even private companies to consider, as the necessary certifications indicate manufacturing expertise and quality standards. These certifications include:
- ISO 9001: This certification means an organization meets a quality management standard set forth by the International Organization for Standardization.
- AS9100: A standardized quality management system for the aerospace industry released by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the European Association of Aerospace Industries.
- ITAR: The International Traffic in Arms Regulations is a U.S. regulatory administration that governs the manufacture and export of defense and military technologies. Manufacturers are encouraged to maintain internal ITAR compliance programs.
- NAS: The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) issues the National Aerospace Standards, which cover a variety of areas within the aerospace industry.
It is imperative for aerospace and defense manufacturers to have exceedingly high-quality standards. When evaluating a precision manufacturing company, potential partners should look for internal quality inspectors, precision equipment, and a stringent quality process.
Cadrex proudly boasts its quality standards. We create custom quality plans for each part or product to guide the manufacturing and assembly, and we consistently exceed industry standards and customer quality expectations.
Not all projects require the same capabilities, and some projects may require multiple capabilities. Aerospace and defense organizations benefit from working with manufacturing partners that have business intelligence, automation, and robotics; sheet metal fabrication; precision machining; plastic injection molding; mechanical assembly and finishing; and system integration and testing capabilities.
An aerospace and defense contract manufacturer must stay up to date with industry trends, have the latest technology, and seek continuous improvement. The key to always remaining innovative is to finesse the relationship between expertise and curiosity. At Cadrex, our engineers, technicians, and designers have decades of experience. They lean on this experience as they continue to learn and work with state-of-the-art technology.
Supply Chain Solutions
Supply chain woes are like a speed bump in the road map of the aerospace and defense industry. Thankfully, just as North America provides many opportunities for growth within the aerospace and defense industry, North American manufacturing in general is undergoing a rapid resurgence. With that comes supply chain solutions for companies who want to partner with manufacturers within the region. That’s also helpful for the many U.S. government contractors that require parts and products to be made in America. According to Deloitte, one aerospace and defense industry trend we can expect in the coming year is the acceleration of the shift from global to regional sourcing within the market.
It is up to the manufacturer to deliver a product as quickly and efficiently as possible to its partner. They can do this by having a dedicated global supply chain team, including buyers, planners, expeditors, and strategists. A manufacturer must also ensure supply chain security and manage risks related to the aerospace and defense industry. For example, as part of the supply chain solutions at Cadrex, we follow supplier ethics, integrity, and social responsibility standards.
Communication, Collaboration, and Confidence
Communication is key when it comes to building a successful partnership with an aerospace and defense manufacturing partner. Aerospace and defense contractors deliver some of the most important and essential solutions affecting people around the world. Therefore, it is crucial that engineers and designers collaborate and communicate efficiently to ensure a high-quality, precise product successfully reaches its end market.
Furthermore, projects in this industry are often sensitive in nature and frequently have secret components that cannot be shared outside of the participating parties. Contractors need to have confidence in their manufacturing partners; not only that they can efficiently deliver quality products, but also that they can be trusted not to release sensitive details about the projects.
Choose the Right Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Partner
When searching for an aerospace and defense contract manufacturer, it’s best to look for a company that is innovative and trustworthy, places great importance on meeting quality standards, and has unmatched capabilities.
Cadrex has served companies within the aerospace and defense industry for over 50 years. Our production teams are industry experts, always innovative, and focused on quality. We collaborate with our partners to ensure success.
Tap into our technical expertise and breadth of capabilities. Contact Cadrex to find out how our solutions can help your company build a better product.