Cover: Keeping a Competitive U.S. Military Aircraft Industry Aloft

Keeping a Competitive U.S. Military Aircraft Industry Aloft

Findings from an Analysis of the Industrial Base

Published Jan 16, 2012

by John Birkler, Paul Bracken, Gordon T. Lee, Mark A. Lorell, Soumen Saha, Shane Tierney


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For at least two decades, policymakers have expressed concerns that further consolidation could erode the competitive environment for military aircraft and degrade the industry's abilities to develop, manufacture, and support innovative designs. This monograph responds to a request by Congress to evaluate programs to ensure that more than one aerospace company could support design, development, and production of fixed-wing military aircraft in the future. It reviews a 2003 RAND evaluation of the risks and costs of the United States having little or no competition among fixed-wing military aircraft companies; examines changes in industrial-base structure and capabilities that have taken hold since that analysis was performed; and assesses how these and future changes will affect the industrial base. The authors find that only by involving two prime contractors equally in performing RDT&E (research, development, test, and evaluation) on a new large program, such as a bomber, could DoD sustain two firms through 2020 with RDT&E funding and through 2025 with procurement funding.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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