Using Driving Forces to understand long term scenarios

     

How to understand requirements for new military aircraft to be operational 30 years into the future.

The Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet has a section in their business part called “SvD INSIKT”.

It is an interesting source on how to work with driving_forces_svd-075995-edited.jpg“Insights”.

In an article by Tomas Augustsson Friday September 9th 2016 there is an overview of trends for the future.

I believe these trends are not only applicable to fighter aircraft but also other systems.

Sensor development
Radar IR, cameras – a plethora of new sensor devices are being deployed. In combination with improved communication this completely changes the role of the aircraft.

From being a (single) plane – to being part of fighting system.

Autonomous systems
Since the available data in the aircraft is growing – there is an overwhelming need of communication. This is not always possible – the various subsystems will have to be operational on their own – still interacting with each other.

Connection/communication
In our daily life Internet-of-things is changing our environment. Military systems are often based on civilian components. This often leads to vulnerability to disturbances.

Cyber-attacks
The aircraft of the future will have to be resilient to cyber-attacks to survive in hostile skies. New encryption technologies will be vital.

New materials
Not only aluminum and titan has been deployed. We see a growing usage of various carbon fiber composites. Long term we’ll see Graphene being used as well.

UAVs
The usage of drones or UAVs is rapidly growing in the conflict areas of the world.  Should small countries invest in UAVs or manned aircraft if funds are not sufficient for both? We’ll see various kinds of combinations of manned /unmanned aircraft working in co-operation.

Processor development
Even if there are signs Moore’s law on semiconductors is slowing down we’ll continue to see growing computational power. System architecture and modularization is vital in order to upgrade old systems incrementally.

Big data
Related to the development of sensor technology. The challenge will be to analyze data coming for many different sources:  airborne sensors as well as satellite and ground networks.

Finance
The price tag of a modern fighter aircraft in insanely high. Leaving many countries to reduce both number of aircraft – but also their usage.

DRIVING FORCES
In the Tolpagorni Driving Forces model we try to identify Driving forces in the Micro and Macro environment. Often there are also inhibitors (making development slower than expected).

A key product management skill is to identify the balance between driving forces and inhibitors. This is indeed a tough challenge – and a bit of luck is not bad. Timing is everything when it comes to new product categories.

Using driving forces is a great tool to try to understand (even remote) future scenarios.

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About The Author

Erik has extensive experience in product management, business management and development. Within the software, electronics and hardware, Erik has pursued commercial success.