U.S. aerospace industry sales grew by 4 percent to $228.4 billion in 2014, but sales of military aircraft and missiles remained flat at $87.3 billion, according to preliminary estimates of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). Department of Defense (DOD) spending on spacecraft and satellites increased.
Military exports included an increase from 2,700 complete aircraft in 2013 to 4,972. Export aircraft consisted of 3,138 transports; 1,296 helicopters; 168 gliders, balloons and airships; and 370 used and rebuilt aircraft. U.S.military imports totaled $4.8 billion, including 31 complete aircraft—all helicopters.
While foreign military sales remain a focus of U.S. defense companies, the export growth will not offset declines in DOD procurement spending, the association warned. It called on Congress to repeal “the mindless budget caps” the legislative body established in 2011 legislation. “The solution is also clear. The budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 must end,” the AIA said. “The caps on discretionary spending, both for defense and non-defense programs, are set too low to address the global security threats we face today.”
AIA president and CEO Marion Blakey was blunt in the speech she gave at the review’s release in mid-December, directing her remarks at members of the incoming 114th Congress and politicians eyeing the 2016 elections. “Look at the polls. The American people are fed up with Washington, fed up with elected officials letting ideological extremism serve as an excuse for failing to listen to the public as opposed small factions of party activists,” Blakey said. “[W]hen the Joint Chiefs tell you American lives will be lost if we don’t restore defense investment to adequate levels, listen very carefully.”
Separately, Lockheed Martin said the DOD accepted delivery of its 36th F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on December 22, meeting the program’s production goal of 36 deliveries in 2014. “Delivering the most F-35s in program history is a clear demonstration of our growing stability and ability to ramp up production,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin F-35 program general manager. With the year’s last delivery, the manufacturer has handed over 109 operational F-35s to U.S. and partner nations. (Ainonline)