The history of INAV begins in 1950, together with more entities of the aerospace domain, the foundation of "Applied Mechanics Institute" as part of The Romanian Academy. Later, in 1965, the institute separated from Applied Mechanics Institute and became the Institute for Fluid Mechanics oriented on aeronautics and space. Starting with 1968 the Aerospace Research and Development Institute has been born and later was organized as Fluid Mechanics and Aerospace Research Institute (IMFCA). This institute assumed the primordial role in the Romanian aeronautical and space research.
Ten years later, IMFCA was restructured and become The National Institute for Technological and Scientific Research and in 1985 was renamed as the Institute for Aerospace Scientific Research and Technological Engineering (ICSITAV).
In 1990, the entire national aeronautical field was restructured and ICSITAV became The National Aviation Institute, at that time the only research entity in aerospace for Romania.
Later, in 1991, the institute was restructured together with all of the aeronautical industry onto research and development entities: ORCAS, IMFDZ, STRAERO, INAV, ELAROM, SIMULTEC and CPCA.
The institute became member of SCR Group in 2009.