3 questions to Celia Pelaz, Chief Strategy Officer, HENSOLDT AG

Portraits - Pioneers of the aerospace industry and political decision-makers provide personal insights and their assessment of current industry trends.

1. Where do you see the aerospace industry in 2050? Which technologies that are not commonly used today will we take for granted in the future? 

From a defence aviation perspective, I observe the following trends in particular:

  • We will of course use unmanned and partly autonomous flying systems. These will be supported by AI in their missions, but the “human-in-the-loop” will remain indispensable, especially when it comes to the use of weapons.
  • Airborne sensors will be multifunctional, distributed and networked, providing a situational picture of unprecedented precision and timeliness.
  • A crucial prerequisite for the previous two points is cyber-hardening and the further development of artificial intelligence. We already have powerful algorithms, but we need to train them with real mission data and combine them with knowledge on the diverse missions in the respective domain.

2. How do we achieve the ambitious sustainability goals? What exactly are the drivers of change here?

In the future, military aviation will also revolve more around sustainability. This includes weight reduction, e.g., through 3D-printed components, electric flying and synthetic fuels from sustainable sources. However, electronics can also contribute a lot here, not only in terms of lightweight construction and bionic design, but also through particularly smart sensors that recognise when a maintenance cycle is necessary, for example.

3. Is there any development in the industry that moved you recently? If yes, which one?

I was particularly moved by the recent speeches of Chancellor Scholz and Minister of Defence Lambrecht, both of whom spoke about the need for a real turning point in German security policy. In this context, the Bundeswehr plays a decisive role as the core of the German security architecture - also in Europe and within NATO. For this, we need a strong and combat-ready air force.