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Industry Overview: Aerospace

23 December 2015
Aerospace is an increasingly diverse industry encompassing manufacturing, testing and research for the ADS (Aerospace, Defence and Space) markets. 

Its global nature requires cooperation and collaboration between organisations of various sizes and specialisations, operating in different territories around the world.

The Aerospace Industry

The ADS industry continues to be extremely successful in delivering revenue and profit, with the top 100 Aerospace and Defence companies, during 2014:

  • Generating in excess of $700 billion of revenue
  • Experiencing in excess of $70 billion in operating profit
  • Grew in value by 3% compared to previous years at 6%

The ADS industry has experienced 5 consecutive years of growth and this is expected to continue through the next 20 years with the industry reaching in excess of $5 trillion.  

Key companies in the top 100 ADS organisations include; Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Rolls Royce.

Certification Standards

The high tolerances that aerospace parts and components must be manufactured to demand strong regulations and internal quality control processes. Registration with one of several quality management systems is a requirement of doing business in many regions, and with many defence and aviation contractors.
Some of the most widely recognised aerospace quality standards include:

  • AS9100 - is a broad quality management system designed for use by any organisation that designs, develops and/or manufactures ADS products and assemblies.
  • AS9110 - is a standard designed to help repair stations and suppliers as they implement quality control measures.
  • AS9120 - governs record keeping, traceability, chain of custody and stock control in any business that buys, sells or supplies parts to the aerospace industry.
  • AS5553/AS6081 - are specific standards for mitigating the risk of purchasing and supplying counterfeit parts. AS5553A contains best practices for manufacturers and OEMs, while AS6081 is applicable to distributors only.

Beyond AS9100

AS9100, last updated in 2009, is designed to be general in scope. On its own, it does not necessarily provide tools for combating emerging threats from counterfeit parts and IT security breaches, but within the next revision of the standard in early 2016, there will be enhanced requirements to help mitigate these risks. The IAQG also supports organisations within the supply chain where broader internalisation of the supply chain demands deeper controls and more robust quality management systems.
Contact NQA today for an explanation of the registration route or for gaining certification to this standard.