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Strategic Implementation Plan

An artistic representation of Earth showing North and South America surrounded by aviation-themed graphic icons that symbolize the six strategic research thrusts of NASA’s aeronautics investigations.
This image from the cover of the Strategic Implementation Plan represents NASA’s vision for aeronautics research for the next 25 years and beyond. The plan encompasses investigating a broad range of technologies to meet future needs of the aviation community, the nation, and the world for safe, efficient, adaptable, and environmentally sustainable air transportation.
NASA / Lillian Gipson

This Strategic Implementation Plan sets forth the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) vision for aeronautical research aimed at the next 25 years and beyond. It encompasses a broad range of technologies to meet future needs of the aviation community, the nation, and the world for safe, efficient, flexible, and environmentally sustainable air transportation.

First released in 2015, the document has been updated three times – most recently in 2023 – to best reflect emerging trends, new entrants to the industry, and periodic reassessment of ARMD’s research portfolio by NASA’s aeronautical innovators. It includes perspective on the key drivers of the aeronautics industry.

This latest version sets forth a renewed focus on enabling and innovating sustainable aviation using green technologies, and working with partners in government, industry, and academia to achieve the U.S. Aviation Climate Plan’s goal of net zero greenhouse emissions in aviation by 2050. While embarking on this ambitious challenge, NASA will continue its leading-edge research on safe, efficient, and scalable air transportation technologies and practices. This cross-cutting, transformational vision for the skies above our communities is organized into six “strategic thrusts” guiding and directing ARMD’s activities.

The six strategic thrusts are:

  • Strategic Thrust 1: Safe, Efficient Growth in Global Operations
  • Strategic Thrust 2: Innovation in Commercial High-Speed Aircraft
  • Strategic Thrust 3: Ultra-Efficient Subsonic Transports
  • Strategic Thrust 4: Safe, Quiet, and Affordable Vertical Lift Air Vehicles
  • Strategic Thrust 5: In-Time System-Wide Safety Assurance
  • Strategic Thrust 6: Assured Autonomy for Aviation Transformation

We Welcome Additional Input for the Plan

This plan is a living document through which ARMD communicates with the aviation and research communities to elicit feedback. It will be updated as the conversation continues on achieving a vision that enables the current aviation system to best meet future demands and opportunities.

All comments will be reviewed and distributed to those responsible for the document(s). A response to each email is not guaranteed. No attributed comments will appear in NASA reports or documents without permission from the sender.

Send comments and questions on NASA Aeronautics’ Strategic Implementation Plan to ARMD Strategy.

Additional Information

Studies by the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine
The National Academies continues to provide a national perspective on research needs for each of the Strategic Thrusts in NASA Aeronautics’ strategic plan. Completed studies are available here.



Last Updated
Aug 14, 2023
Jim Banke
NASA Headquarters