Technology Access From the FS-X Radar Program

Lessons for Technology Transfer and U.S. Acquisition Policy

by Ike Chang

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This report explores the issue of U.S. access to Japanese technology related to the FS-X, an aircraft being developed cooperatively by the two countries. It focuses on the possible transfer of technology from the Japanese FS-X radar, the first active phased array radar operational in combat aircraft. The author concludes that U.S. industry could benefit from transfer of the composite materials technology for the antenna, the built-in test algorithm, and the high-volume, low-cost manufacturing methods used for transmit/ receive modules. However, such transfer faces several obstacles, among them conflicts with proprietary interests, differing program needs, and complex transfer procedures. Greater benefit might result from learning about Japanese practices in industrial R&D, such as the development of dual use technology, and in defense acquisition, such as rapid system prototyping and incremental improvement.

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This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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