Jia Xu is a senior engineer and associate director for the RAND Acquisition and Technology Policy Center. His research interests include aircraft design, unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomy and AI, operations research, applied optimization and scientific computing. He recently led a comprehensive study of future Air Force combat search and rescue (CSAR) operations, RAND’s analytic support of DARPA’s initiatives to build the foundation of future radar systems, the development of an advanced UAV conceptual design tool for RAND and an integrated assessment of drone delivery at city scale.
He has also made core technical contributions to RAND analyses of technologies for future air dominance, air-recoverable UAVs, the robustness of the Air Force global mobility network, and the future of the NASA flight test enterprise. He developed and taught a course on Computational Methods for Operations Research and Data Science at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Prior to joining RAND, he led the aerodynamic design of the MQ-9 ER wing at General Atomics and was the aerodynamic focal of the Sea Avenger program.
Xu received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford. He also holds an M.Sc. in Advanced Computational Methods for Aeronautics from Imperial College London and an M.Sc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics – both completed under the tenure of a Marshall Scholarship.