The sky is no longer the limit in aerospace and defence engineering.
The pilot glances over her shoulder just in time to see the ground vanish rapidly beneath her. She’s strapped into the cockpit of an F-35 plane, but while wearing the jet’s integrated helmet that’s easy to forget. Looking ahead, vast blue skies open up in front of her.
Just as everything from toasters to TVs are becoming ‘smart’, so too are ships, planes and their various parts. The F-35 fighter helmet uses cameras and laser-mapping to project a full 360-degree view of the outside world into the visor of the helmet. Flicking a switch, the pilot can see display panels that change as she moves her eyes.
The world’s first 3D-printed jet engine was developed by researchers at Monash University and the CSIRO in 2015. Key parts of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner are being made in Australia – yet the aerospace and defence industry is about so much more than simply maintenance and manufacturing.
With more tech comes more exciting career opportunities. We are no longer talking about singular machines, but incredibly complex systems. “The F-35 is one of the most complex systems on the planet,”
says RAAF Squadron Leader Nathan Draper (pictured below, second from right), who recently returned from managing Australia’s first two F-35s at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in the US.
These smart systems in aerospace and defence create exciting opportunities for engineers in data analytics, robotics, virtual reality and nanotech!
And just as the areas of innovation are diverse, so are the pathways. Nathan joined the RAAF as an aircraft technician before studying aeronautical and systems engineering, but you can also join the defence force after finishing your studies – or take your pick from one of the many other possible employers in Australia.
– Anna Koefer
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SpaceX, bit.ly/Musk_SpaceX for exciting updates
Defence Jobs Australia on Facebook bit.ly/ADF_jobs
Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical Engineering) Australian Defence Force Academy
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Aerospace) UNSW Sydney
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/ Bachelor of Information Technology Monash University
Graduate Diploma in Systems Engineering The University of South Australia
Industry Experience Program, Department of Defence | UQ Summer Research Program, Centre for Hypersonics | Qantas Engineering Apprentice Program
Aerospace engineer, Australian Defence Force: $74,842
Senior systems engineer: $100,612