Helicopter Suppliers Must Modernize, Says Defense Industrial Policy Chief
Colucci, Frank, National Defense
The Defense Department predicts that military helicopter suppliers likely will recover from the current slump in aircraft production, but the cure will require significant investments in new manufacturing technologies.
Existing overcapacity in the helicopter industry should subside as programs such as the V-22 Osprey and other aircraft begin full production, says Suzanne Patrick, deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy.
Helicopter manufacturers, additionally, will need to gain a competitive advantage by becoming more innovative in their designs and production, Patrick tells National Defense in a recent interview.
Robust manufacturing programs, she says, will attract engineers and help revitalize the aging rotorcraft industry work force. In a report Patrick released last year, she concludes that remanufacturing and upgrades alone would not compel the helicopter industry to develop next-generation technologies needed for 2020, and beyond.
"We've tried to get at the root causes for the lack of innovation," she says. The report warned that without improved technology, major U.S. rotorcraft manufacturers could lose business to foreign competitors.
All three major domestic military helicopter manufacturers are busy remanufacturing or …
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Publication information: Article title: Helicopter Suppliers Must Modernize, Says Defense Industrial Policy Chief. Contributors: Colucci, Frank - Author. Magazine title: National Defense. Volume: 90. Issue: 620 Publication date: July 2005. Page number: 24+. © 2009 National Defense Industrial Association. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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