Product development, especially in aerospace, has become more and more interconnected with its operational environment. In a constant changing world, the operational environment will be subjected to changes during the life cycle of the product. The operational environment will be affected by not only technical and non-technical perturbations, but also economical, managerial and regulatory decisions, thus requiring a more global product development approach. One way to try tackling such complex and intertwined problem advocates studying the envisioned product or system in the context of system of systems (SoS) engineering. SoSs are all around us, probably in any field of engineering, ranging from integrated transport systems, public infrastructure systems to modern homes equipped with sensors and smart appliances; from cities filling with autonomous vehicle to defence systems.
Since also aerospace systems are certainly affected, this work will present a holistic approach to aerospace product development that tries spanning from needs to technology assessment. The proposed approach will be presented and analysed and key enablers and future research directions will be highlighted from an interdisciplinary point of view. Consideration of the surrounding world will require to look beyond classical engineering disciplines.