The aerospace and defenceindustry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the uptake of advanced technology, and growing importance of technologies such as hypersonics and advanced materials. In the last three years alone, there have been over 174,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defence industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Gas turbine fuel injectors. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

180+ innovations will shape the aerospace and defence industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry using innovation intensity models built on over 262,000 patents, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, bonded fibre laminates, thermoplastic elastomer laminates, and vibration supression devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Centrifugal fan impellers, ceramic composite laminates, and gas turbine engine testing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are protective blade coatings and blade alloy welding, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry

Gas turbine fuel injectors is a key innovation area in aerospace and defence

A fuel injection system is in charge of delivering fuel to the engine, and can alter the amount of fuel as necessary to delivery better fuel efficiency.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of gas turbine fuel injectors.

Key players in gas turbine fuel injectors – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to gas turbine fuel injectors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric 157 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 74 Unlock company profile
Safran 49 Unlock company profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 44 Unlock company profile
IHI 41 Unlock company profile
Siemens 31 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 26 Unlock company profile
CDP Equity 18 Unlock company profile
Alstom 16 Unlock company profile
Doosan 11 Unlock company profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 9 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 8 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 7 Unlock company profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

General Electric is the leading patent filer in this sector. The company is seeking solutions that will enable greater fuel efficiency in existing and future engines – greater efficiencies can provide companies with cost savings. Other major companies include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Safran, which are filing patents for similar reasons. The investment by a variety of major companies will drive innovation across the sector. Other key players include IHI, Raytheon and Rolls-Royce.

By application diversity, Doosan is top, followed by Rolls-Royce and Safran. In terms of geographic reach, Kobe Steel is top, followed by IHI and Porsche.

Innovations in patents in this industry will continue to come from major market players as they seek to create more fuel efficiency, in particular from aerospace companies seeking to make gains in commercial aerospace.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Defence.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.