Press Release

AIA Unveils New 5-Year R&D Plan – Asks for a Vision for Aeronautics

By SpaceRef Editor
February 26, 2004
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The Aerospace Industries Association put forward its second five-year research and development plan at a briefing today, asking the administration to develop a vision for aeronautics similar to the one proposed recently by the president for space exploration. Clayton M. Jones, chair of the AIA Board of Governors’ initiative on aerospace research and development and chairman, president and CEO of Rockwell Collins, presented the plan. “The most spectacular enhancements of life in the 21st century will be tied to discoveries made in research and development for aerospace,” he said.

This plan follows on the heels of AIA’s first five-year plan, which soughtóand accomplished significant funding increases for defense R&D. The new plan calls for a continuation of DoD’s strong levels of R&D funding, and seeks increases for NASA and the FAA over the next five years.

Jones said that AIA’s plan calls for the government to reverse declining funding for the FAA’s aeronautics research and development budgets and its facilities and equipment modernization budgets. In the administration’s ’05 budget projection, FAA funding for modernization has been reduced significantly. The aerospace industry has serious concerns about cutting funding for air traffic modernization just as air traffic is reaching saturation in some cities and flights are being cut back, he said. AIA’s plan calls for an increase in FAA funding of $3.8 billion over the next five years for civil aeronautics R&D. AIA’s plan also calls for increases of $34 billion over the next five years for NASA, and seeks to increase funding for NASA aeronautics next year to $1.7 billionóup from the current ’05 projection of $900 millionóan 11 percent drop from 2004.

AIA President and CEO John W. Douglass said that the president’s vision for space “charts an essential course for space exploration and answers many of industry’s questions about the kinds of technologies that will be needed in the future.” Although AIA supports the president’s plan, which increases funding for exploration capabilities by $12 billion over the next five years, the association believes the administration should be challenged to create a new human-rated space exploration vehicle by 2010, rather than 2014. The current NASA plan calls for retirement of the space shuttle by 2010 and a new manned vehicle by 2014, leaving a four year gap in which maintenance of the International Space Station would be accomplished by Russian or French space vehicles.

Jones said the aerospace industry was also concerned that funds would be diverted within the NASA budget from aeronautics to the space program. Industry is asking that NASA maintains a continued balance between space and aeronautics budgets.

He said that AIA fully supports the formation of the multi-agency Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), tasked with modernizing our air traffic modernization system. He said AIA’s members will work with the JPDO to develop a unified

inter-agency R&D program, coordinated across the government. He also said AIA’s plan encourages public/private partnerships to develop the National Airspace System (NAS) modernization plan for new technology in safety, ATM development and deployment, NAS transformation, propulsion and fuel systems, advanced materials structures, environmental impacts, and for rotorcraft.

AIA’s five year plan, covering the years 2004-2008, does not ask for increases in funding for defense R&D (’05 budget projection calls for an increase of $69 billion) but seeks a reallocation of funds to areas that are critical to the industry and have been under funded in recent years: solid rocket motors, avionics, rotorcraft, propulsion systems, GPS modernization, and aircraft engine component improvements.

For a copy of AIA’s new five year R&D plan, go to:

Visit AIA’s homepage at

P.A. Rel. 2004-7


Contact: Janet Neale, AIA

(703) 358-1076

SpaceRef staff editor.