The Aerospace and Defence industry has been at the forefront of systems engineering for many decades. The imperatives of commercial success and / or military need have compelled those in the Industry to seize the opportunities offered by taking a systems engineering approach to solve a variety of complex problems.
The insights offered by use of computer based modelling techniques, which have the capacity to represent multiple complex systems, their interdependencies, interactions and their inputs and outputs have propelled the exploitation of systems engineering by those in Aerospace and Defence. The approach is not confined to those mechanical and electrical systems for which stand alone systems models can be constructed. Rather, it is put to its best use when considering a major product or service as a system made up of many subsystems. For example, the optimisation of aircraft layout involving trade-offs between structural aspects, aerodynamic design, electronic and mechanical system performance as well as integrity can be achieved. Carried out in a balanced way, this can be the most powerful tool used by the Engineering teams in the process of defining a light, cheap to manufacture, reliable and high performance aircraft.