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Multinational Aircraft Management

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Journal article

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The relationship between U.S. arms programs and the armament programs of our European NATO allies, along with their industrial base, have changed from complete European dependence on the United States at the end of World War II to almost complete independence from the United States at the present time. I would like to discuss this subject from a military, economic, and political viewpoint. I will be focusing on fighter aircraft, because it is in this area that this trend is most visible. Also, I will be discussing general trends and relationships rather than specifics and would have you realize that there is an exception to almost every subject I will cover. In summary, the commitment to strengthen NATO forces at a reasonable price increases the probability that collaborative programs will become the rule, rather than the exception, for major weapon procurements. In such cases, it is imperative that the critical decisions be made during program initiation, as they were for the F-16, rather than leaving them to become problems handled on an ad hoc basis. Today, on both sides of the Atlantic, basic plans are being formulated for the next generation advanced technology fighter aircraft, the cost of which is certain to be much higher than todays aircraft. These costs, whether handled separately or in groups, can put a severe strain on any nations military budget. However, the NATO allies can share the burden of these price increases by entering into a genuine collaborative program that encompasses design, development, production, and deployment. To borrow a term from space technology, the window is now open for collaborative planning for this weapon system. This moment should not be allowed to pass.

Subject Categories:

  • Aircraft
  • Government and Political Science
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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