Aerospace Engineering and Aviation

We develop enabling technologies for next generation air transportation systems at the aircraft and airframe level and at the system level.

We are an Australian leader in aerospace engineering and aviation research, with Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA 2018) rating RMIT at "well above world standard" for aerospace engineering. Our research has an integrated engineering approach to systems development, operations and life-cycle management across three main areas: aviation, urban transport systems, and integrated transport logistics and life-cycle management.


Our research activity encompasses four capability areas, each supporting several key technologies.

Aerospace materials and multifunctional composite structures

  • Through-life support of ageing airframes and life cycle cost
  • Integrity assessment and airworthiness
  • Damage tolerance, progression and failure
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Robust design and optimisation
  • Smart materials and structures

Unmanned aircraft systems design and field operations

  • Architecture and system design autonomy
  • Flight operations and airworthiness
  • New generation from bio-inspired and MAV to high-altitude long endurance UAS
  • UAS integration, sense and avoid
  • Safety and regulations

Aerodynamic loading and multidisciplinary design and optimisation

  • Flow-structure – fluid-structure interaction and hydrodynamics
  • Aeroservoelasticity and vibration suppression
  • Advanced solutions to enhance air-platforms performance including manoeuvrability and control effectiveness
  • System identification
  • Energy harvesting
  • Hypersonics

Avionics, air traffic management and mission systems

  • Future ATM and avionics systems (CNS+A)
  • Key technology enablers and systems for a sustainable aviation
  • Mission systems for civil and military aviation
  • Human factors engineering solutions
  • Sensors, multi sensor systems and data fusion
  • Intelligent Transport Systems

Our impact

We work with a range of Australian and global organisations to provide innovative solutions across civil and defence industries. Our partners include:

  • ACS Australia
  • Airbus
  • Australia Advanced Aerospace Technologies (AAAT)
  • Boeing Aerostructures and Boeing Defence
  • Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
  • Capability, Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG)
  • Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA)
  • Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG)
  • Defence Science Institute (DSI)
  • DefendTex
  • Department of Defence (Australia)
  • Department of Defence (USA)
  • Flight Data Systems
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Electric
  • LEAP Australia
  • Lockheed Martin
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Pratt and Whitney
  • Thales

Highlights of our current research include:

  • multidisciplinary design and optimisation
  • development of hydrocarbon fuel system for hypersonic airbreathing vehicles
  • cognitive human-machine interface and interaction for ATM systems
  • cost-benefit assessment of future aerospace concepts for defence
  • state-of-the-art nonlinear aeroelastic solver developed within the ANSYS suite
  • bragg grating fiber laser ultrasonic sensors for structural health monitoring
  • improved autonomous surveillance for UAV flight in complex urban terrains
  • submarine dynamics and control

Research centres and groups

Our expertise and facilities contribute to many research organisations across Australia.


Our work is supported by major state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

  • Advanced Manufacturing Precinct
  • Composite Fabrication Facility
  • Green Engines Laboratory
  • Aerospace Intelligent and Autonomous Systems Laboratory
  • Flight Simulators
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Laboratory
  • Wind tunnels
  • Noise Vibration Harshness Laboratory

Who we are

Aerospace Engineering and Aviation staff

Latest news

RMIT takes out top honours in national defence awards

RMIT researchers have been recognised for their work in defence research, with one taking home the top prize of Scientist of the Year.

Researchers look to the skies for stroke response breakthrough

How do you put a 500kg CT machine in an Air Ambulance helicopter or fixed wing plane? That’s the challenge researchers face in a bid to transform access to emergency stroke treatment.

Uber in the air: flying taxi trials may lead to passenger service by 2023

Uber Air will start test flights of its aerial taxi service in 2020, and move to commercial operations by 2023, the ABC reported today.

Making defence research partnerships work

Becoming an industry partner of choice requires several key ingredients, writes RMIT aerospace and defence research centre director Professor Michelle Gee.

Applying for a postgraduate degree?
Flag Image One Flag Image Two

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information