Key MATLAB and Simulink Capabilities for Aerospace and Defense

Key MATLAB and Simulink Capabilities for Aerospace and Defense

Explore MATLAB and Simulink capabilities that can help aerospace and defense organizations with control systems, system design, and physical modeling.

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The aerospace and defense (A&D) sector has long been infamous for large cost overruns and schedule delays. As the industry faces growing pressure to modernize and evolve, many organizations are adopting new technologies to streamline their processes, increase efficiency and overcome these persistent challenges. In the text that follows, we’ll be highlighting MATLAB® and Simulink® capabilities that can help aerospace and defense organizations with control systems, system design, and physical modeling.

Control Systems

The Controls product group offers a range of solutions for system identification, control design, predictive maintenance, and reinforcement learning. These products work together to enable customers to create models of linear and nonlinear plants using measured test data and design and fine-tune feedback controllers such as PID and model-predictive controllers in MATLAB and Simulink. Additionally, users can develop algorithms to determine the remaining useful life of a machine and use reinforcement learning to solve complex control- and decision-making difficulties.

System Design

Engineers use MATLAB, Simulink, and System Composer™ together to close the gap between model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and model-based design.

System Composer can complete many common systems engineering and design tasks within the same, single environment, which keeps all elements in the architectural and design worlds in sync.

Simulink provides engineers with a set of languages to describe complicated systems, from physical domains such as drivetrains and electrical machinery to software domains such as block diagrams and finite-state machines. These capabilities allow engineers to omit unnecessary details, which frees them up to focus on what’s truly important for the project.

MATLAB, Simulink, and System Composer empower engineers to: 

  • Quickly and easily sketch system components and interfaces and then begin to develop them incrementally
  • Extend the basic elements of System Composer with your own custom metadata using profiles & stereotypes
  • Trace according to system requirements and refine those in parallel with the architecture
  • Simplify the complex with filters and auto-generated views
  • Analyze system characteristics and quantitatively evaluate choices
  • Allocate between functional, logical, and physical architecture models
  • Define behaviors and keep them synchronized with your architecture
  • Link design models to components and ensure consistent interfaces.


System Composer can scale up to large systems of realistic size, improve efficiency, and lets engineers use model-based design directly from the MBSE tool.

Physical Modeling

The nature of the aerospace and defense sector means that it demands precise and comprehensive modeling of physical systems in order to ensure the successful development and execution of aircraft-, spacecraft-, and defense systems. Modeling these complex systems entails numerous challenging tasks. MATLAB, Simulink, and Simscape™ offer engineers multiple solutions to build models that accurately reflect the structure of a physical system, enabling them to test and validate their designs early on in the development cycle.

Simscape empowers engineers to: 

  • Design control systems for any physical system in Simulink
  • Create physical component models based on physical connections that integrate directly with block diagrams and other modeling paradigms
  • Develop control systems and test system-level performance
  • Create custom component models using the MATLAB®-based Simscape language, which enables text-based authoring of physical modeling components, domains, and libraries
  • Parameterize models using MATLAB variables and expressions
  • Deploy models to other simulation environments, including hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems.


Moreover, Simscape supports C-code generation, and Simscape add-on products provide additional complex components and analysis capabilities.


In conclusion, the aerospace and defense sector is under immense pressure to modernize and overcome its persistent challenges: cost overruns and schedule delays. Using MATLAB and Simulink can help organizations meet these challenges head on, and provide a competitive advantage to users so they are able to rise above their competition.

Featured products

All products mentioned in this blog post are developed by MathWorks.

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