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Price Pressure (P2) and the Emerging Technologies (ET)

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Journal article

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Today, I would like to talk about fighter aircraft, although my observations will be equally applicable to other items of major military hardware, such as ships and tanks. Pick up any one of the military trade journals such as Aviation Week, The Armed Forces Journal, Defense and Foreign Affairs, Interavia, or International Defense Review, and you are as likely as not to find two interesting articles in the same issue. The first article describes the next generation fighter aircraft. It could be the U.S. Air Forces ATF, the U.S. Navys ATA, Europes EFA, or Grummans X-29. The article describes in great detail the aircrafts new high-technology features, such as the use of new composite materials or exotic metals, as well as more powerful radars and thrust engines, and systems integration of all controls. The new emerging technologies ET are well represented in the designs of these aircraft. Turning to the second article, we are confronted with a description of the spiraling costs of todays hardware and attempts to control them. Often this article centers around a congressional budget hearing and includes profound observations about such items as program cutbacks, reduced quantities, postponements, and cancellations. We often pass over these two articles as if they were totally unrelated, having no direct connection. However, I contend there is a direct relationship that deals with the high cost of the new ETs and its effect on programs. This subject I choose to call Price Pressure P2. I like to think of this P2 as that combination of rising costs and reduced budgets that causes programs to be cut back, postponed, or cancelled. In response to this situation, many nations are modernizing older aircraft and entering into multinational coproduction programs.

Subject Categories:

  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft
  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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