Blog post

Digital Engineering maturity in the Aerospace & Defense industry

Written by Roel Van De Velde

March 27, 2023 · 5 min read

ESTECO airplane

Automate business processes and engineering workflows for collaborative MDAO and simulation data management

On March 14-15, 2023, the 4th edition of our A&D Technology Days were held at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. The Technology Days differ from our traditional Users Meetings in format, as they are usually focused around a particular industry or technology; the smaller scale provides for a more intimate setting where attendees can freely engage with one another and have stimulating conversations. Participants were coming from industry, academia and software technology partners.

This year’s event was heavily focused on the application of VOLTA in the A&D industry, an industry that is seeing some of the biggest change in decades. Commercial aviation has to reinvent itself and become greener, which is leading to the development of new propulsion technologies and airplane configurations that are quite different from the current, traditional tube-and-wing model. Investments in electric urban air mobility are significant.

Geopolitical instability is leading to the biggest defense spending since the end of the cold war, and with potential adversaries leveraging new development methods, often unconstrained by bureaucratic red tape, the pressure is on to “develop something better, faster and cheaper”. The industry has to re-think their traditional siloed waterfall based development methods, which frequently lead to program delays, cost overruns and sub-optimal designs. Real time collaborative digital engineering is needed to enable change, but outdated desktop clients by default cannot support such a cultural shift.

VOLTA modern microservices architecture compliant with Lockheed Martin Space kubernetes cloud environment

ESTECO VOLTA, our server-based digital engineering framework for MDAO and SPDM, is different. It allows engineers, managers, suppliers and customers to truly collaborate on the next gen design, with everyone having access to the same data at the same time, not constrained by geographic boundaries.

schema volta

ESTECO VOLTA Container Deployment at Lockheed Martin Space.

It is built on a modern Kubernetes microservices architecture, which is one of the main reasons why VOLTA was selected by Lockheed Martin Space, as presented by Daryn Decker, IT & Digital Enablement.

Efficient Mission Engineering using VOLTA at Raytheon Missiles & Defense

ESTECO VOLTA is an authoritative source of truth for all your simulation data where workflows, data and files can be tracked, version controlled and shared between all stakeholders.


ESTECO VOLTA allows collaborative creation of MDAO workflow using vetted models developed by Subject Matter Experts.

Danielle Oliver and Tom McCarthy, respectively Systems Engineer and Director of Digital Product Development at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, showed a great example of how domain specific subject matter experts can collaborate in VOLTA to enable efficient mission engineering.

ESTECO vision for VOLTA: enabling the digital thread with Business Process Management, collaborative MDAO, and simulation data management all in 1 framework

From our side, we presented our strategy and vision to support our customers' journey to an integrated digital thread. Through our openness, independence, API and partnerships with other software vendors we can link business processes (using the BPMN 2.0 standard) to requirements to engineering simulation workflows to lifecycle management.

ESTECO vision for VOLTA

Carlo Poloni, President of ESTECO, took a look forward at the future of our digital engineering technology.

We also elaborated on how we, over the past few years, transitioned VOLTA from a monolithic to a microservices architecture to be fully cloud-ready.

Finally, we presented a couple of MDAO applications: one focused on a fidelity forward approach to propeller design trading aero-propulsion with aero-acoustics and structural performance, and one focused on a typical aero-structural application leveraging RSM techniques.

Colonel (ret.) Richard B. Bushong reflected on his experiences as a WW2 B-17 pilot

Everyone agreed though that the highlight of the event was our very special guest speaker.

Colonel Richard Bushong

Retired Colonel Richard B. Bushong, a WW2 B-17 pilot who flew 28 missions in the European Theater of Operations, shared his experiences and celebrated his 100th birthday with us. His visual stories of courage, commitment, luck and bad luck were horrifying, sometimes funny, but always inspirational. A remarkable experience!

We would like to thank all participants and we are looking forward to doing it again in 2025. Meanwhile, if you want to hear more about our A&D Technology Days and get access to the proceedings, please contact us at

Enabling the digital thread with VOLTA SPDM

Overcome silos and make the best of simulation-driven product development.

Enabling the digital thread with VOLTA SPDM

Overcome silos and make the best of simulation-driven product development.

Read eBook

Enabling the digital thread with VOLTA SPDM

Overcome silos and make the best of simulation-driven product development.

Read eBook