The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing capability and applicability of drones, coupled with falling costs, and growing importance of technologies such as quadcopters, drone modularisation, and HAPS. 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 Drones in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Aircraft brake control systems.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Aircraft brake control systems is a key innovation area in drones 

Aircraft braking systems are used to slow down or stop aircraft movement. Aircraft brakes are disc brakes and operate hydraulically or pneumatically. Several types of aircraft braking systems have been developed, including single-disc, double-disc, multi-disc, and rotor disc brakes. 

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 aircraft brake control systems. 

Key players in aircraft brake control systems – 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 aircraft brake control systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
COSCO Shipping Holdings 428 Unlock company profile
Airbus 312 Unlock company profile
Safran 252 Unlock company profile
Boeing 157 Unlock company profile
Crane Holdings 61 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 43 Unlock company profile
Meggitt 33 Unlock company profile
Xi'An Aviation Brake Technology 28 Unlock company profile
General Dynamics 16 Unlock company profile
Bombardier 15 Unlock company profile
Axscend 11 Unlock company profile
Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 8 Unlock company profile
Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault 6 Unlock company profile
Embraer 6 Unlock company profile
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Leonardo 6 Unlock company profile
ARTUS 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Amongst aerospace and defense companies, Airbus is the leading patent filer in aircraft brake control systems. The company produces a wide range of manned and unmanned platforms, ranging from commercial aircraft such as the A330 and manned military aircraft such as the A400M to unmanned aircraft such as Eurodronw, Zephyr, Sirtap, and VSR700. Airbrake systems are essential components of any aircraft, including unmanned platforms. As such, given Airbus’ large portfolio of aircraft, the firm is highly invested in development of the technology. Other key patent filers include Safran, a major aircraft engine producer, and Boeing, an aircraft OEM prime.

In terms of application diversity, Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault holds the most widely applicable patents in airbrake control systems. Raytheon Technologies and Safran stand in second and third spots, respectively. By geographic diversity, Airbus holds the top position, followed by Bombardier and Meggit.

Aircraft brake systems are essential components of all aircraft, allowing the aircraft to land safely and quickly. As unmanned platforms continue to proliferate both horizontally and vertically, the demand for aircraft brake control systems is expected to continue to increase. 

To further understand how drones are disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Drones in Aerospace and Defense.


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.