Ready for Takeoff

Ready for Takeoff: China's Advancing Aerospace Industry

Roger Cliff
Chad J. R. Ohlandt
David Yang
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 162
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  • Book Info
    Ready for Takeoff
    Book Description:

    An assessment of China's aerospace manufacturing capabilities and how China's participation in commercial markets and supply chains contributes to their improvement. It examines China's aviation and space manufacturing capabilities, government efforts to encourage foreign participation, transfers of foreign technology to China, the extent to which U.S. and foreign aerospace firms depend on supplies from China, and their implications for U.S. security interests.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5208-7
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    China’s aerospace industry has advanced at an impressive rate over the past decade. While some of this progress can be attributed to rapidly growing governmental support for China’s aerospace sector, China’s aerospace capabilities have also benefited from the increasing participation of its aerospace industry in the global commercial aerospace market and the supply chains of the world’s leading aerospace firms. This monograph assesses China’s aerospace capabilities and the degree to which China’s participation in commercial aerospace markets and supply chains is contributing to the improvement of those capabilities. Most major aviation manufacturers—Boeing, Airbus, General Electric (GE),Rolls-Royce, and Pratt &...

  10. CHAPTER TWO China’s Commercial Aircraft Market
    (pp. 5-24)

    China is already the world’s second-largest national air travel market, trailing only the United States. This market, moreover, is likely to grow rapidly over the next two decades—an estimated 4,000 new passenger aircraft are expected to be purchased by Chinese airlines over this period. This represents approximately one-eighth of the total world demand during the next 20 years. The markets for cargo aircraft, general aviation, and helicopters in China, although significantly smaller than that for passenger aircraft, are also expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

    In 2007, China’s major airlines¹ booked more than 230 billion revenue passenger-kilometers...

  11. CHAPTER THREE China’s Current Commercial Aircraft Production
    (pp. 25-34)

    Essentially all aircraft manufactured in China, as well as major components such as engines and propellers, are produced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) and their subsidiaries. AVIC was created in 1993 from portions of the former Ministry of Aerospace Industry (Medeiros et al., 2005, p.157). In 1999, AVIC was split into two corporations, AVIC I and AVIC II, but, in 2008, they were recombined and COMAC was spun off as an independent corporation (Perrett, 2009, p.313).

    This chapter describes the current output of China’s commercial aircraft industry, as well...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR The Role of Foreign Firms in the Development of China’s Commercial Aviation Manufacturing Industry
    (pp. 35-88)

    The aviation industry requires advanced, high-quality products that are produced at the minimum possible cost. Simply having cheap labor available is in most cases not sufficient to be competitive. The technologies for the most advanced products, such as turbine blades, composite materials, and complete integrated systems, are closely held by the companies that developed them. Designs and production technologies for other types of products may be more widely available or easier to develop, but here, the key is being able to produce them with sufficient precision, quality, and efficiency to be competitive.

    Foreign firms have played an important role in...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE China’s Space Capabilities
    (pp. 89-114)

    Like aviation technologies, many space technologies are inherently dual-use. The development of capabilities to produce civilian space systems, therefore, contributes to China’s capability to produce military space systems. Launch vehicles can be used to launch military as well as civilian satellites, and communications, weather, earth-observation, and navigation satellites can be used for military or civilian purposes. Military missiles, even ballistic missiles, generally use different types of rocket motors and launch methods than space launch vehicles, but certain components, such as guidance and control systems, may be similar.

    Foreign involvement in China’s space industry is significantly less than in the aviation...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Conclusions
    (pp. 115-124)

    China’s aerospace sector has advanced at a rapid, though not unanticipated, rate over the past decade and will continue to advance in future years. At present, however, it still lags behind the state of the art in virtually all areas. Nonetheless, the development of China’s civil aerospace sector is unquestionably contributing to the development of its military aerospace capabilities, increasing China’s ability and possibly its propensity to use force in ways that negatively affect U.S. interests and would increase the costs of resisting attempts to use such force.

    Until the creation of COMAC in 2008, all of China’s civilian and...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 125-142)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 143-143)