I have never had a clear understanding of the difference between aircraft assembly and integration. My understanding is that putting together the airframe alone is assembly and putting together the avionics and other systems in order to get the aircraft flight-ready is integration. I'm not sure if this alone captures the difference. It would be great to have inputs regarding this.

Thanks in advance!

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Av.SE! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Mar 18, 2021 at 4:51
  • $\begingroup$ integration is the process to figure out what/how to put together, while assembly is actually putting things together. one is done by a team of engineers, while the other is done by a factory of workers. $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2021 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ It makes sense. So Integration comes first and then assembly. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – jocasta17
    Mar 18, 2021 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ No. The process of figuring out how to assemble something like an airframe is called Process Planning, or Methods. Your question post is closer to the answer. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Mar 18, 2021 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


I was many years with an OEM. Integration is process of coordinating and incorporating, harmonizing you might say, the unique engineering of systems and processes of two engineering and production organizations or products, to make them work together in the final product. To integrate them.

For example, a manufacturer designs and builds an airframe. An avionics suite, or some other system, designed and manufactured by a second party, not specifically for a given type, is selected to be used in this new airframe.

Someone has to integrate, or adapt, the pre-existing avionics suite into the airframe and systems of the host. The integrator is responsible for all of the activities of incorporating that system; where/how it fits, how it interfaces with host systems, etc. In other words, the integrator is responsible for making the second party system work smoothly in the host system.


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