Cover: Ready for Takeoff

Ready for Takeoff

China's Advancing Aerospace Industry

Published Mar 24, 2011

by Roger Cliff, Chad J. R. Ohlandt, David Yang


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This monograph assesses China's aerospace capabilities and the extent to which China's participation in commercial aerospace markets and supply chains is contributing to the improvement of those capabilities. It examines China's commercial aviation manufacturing capabilities, its commercial and military capabilities in space, Chinese government efforts to encourage foreign participation in the development of China's aerospace industry, transfers of foreign aerospace technology to China, the extent to which U.S. and other foreign aerospace firms depend on supplies from China, and the implications of these issues for U.S. security interests.

China's aerospace industry has advanced at an impressive rate over the past decade, partly due to the increasing participation of its aerospace industry in the global commercial aerospace market and the supply chains of the world's leading aerospace firms. China's current ability to meet demand with indigenous aircraft is limited, however, and much of the demand will be filled by imported aircraft. China's space capabilities have improved rapidly, on the other hand, and it has developed and deployed an increasingly wide range of satellites. China's growing civilian aerospace capabilities are unquestionably contributing to the development of its military aerospace capabilities, but whether the United States could significantly improve its security through alterations of its policy toward civil aerospace cooperation with China without having a significant negative effect on its own economic interests is unclear.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division.

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