Northrop CEO pushes for unmanned export reforms

Northrop CEO pushes for unmanned export reforms

Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush said Wednesday the United States must relax its controls on the export of unmanned systems or it’ll risk harming the nascent industrial base that builds them. Bush warned that America risks repeating a phenomenon that hurt its space industry, when U.S. companies were forbidden from selling communications satellites to American allies because policymakers feared losing the edge in space. But international clients didn’t stop wanting space technology, they just developed it themselves or bought it elsewhere, hurting America’s industrial base without helping its national security.

“Today, the U.S. is struggling to sell unmanned aircraft to its allies while other nations prepare to jump into the marketplace with both feet.” Bush said. “The thinking seems to be allies won’t buy their own, nor build them,” but established and growing militaries, like India’s, want UAVs no matter what, and if American companies don’t build them, others will.

The “good news,” Bush said, is that DoD officials are on board with reforming America’s export controls, “building higher walls around fewer things.” He encouraged an industry audience in Washington at the conference of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International to keep up pressure on Congress and the rest of the Obama administration to lower the barriers to more international sales.


Defense industry complaints about U.S. export restrictions are nothing new, but they’ve taken on a heightened pitch as companies eye the coming decades of diminished Pentagon budget growth. Even though international defense spending also will likely stay flat or shrink, American firms want to get the most business they can while they have the biggest technological edge in unmanned technology.

Thomas Kalil, deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told AUVSI attendees the Obama administration is onboard with export reform – he cited an official finding that today’s rules are hurting both America’s economic and national security interests. But Kalil didn’t give any specifics about how or when the White House could act on its own – or enlist the help of Congress – to change the rules.

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Yeah, the bastards want to outsource more jobs. Hell, the US spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined, but the real market for UAV’s is in India? Right.

Another greedy CEO that is eager to exchange our security for profit.
These people belong in prison.

“The thinking seems to be allies won’t buy their own, nor build them,” — This is exactly the notion behind most of US export control laws, which seem to assume that technical advancement is possible only in the US, and therefore if no one else can develop technology we don’t supply. That’s no longer true.

Besides that, limiting the customer base to the US military means all development expenses can be recuperated by US taxpayers only. It also ensures that per unit prices remain high by robbing the industry of economies of scale.

The Global Hawk has a range of 22000 miles. Foriegn countries could use these to spy on any of our European allies or our mainland. If they want to sell the airframe that is not too significant, but no to any sensor equipment. That would be just plain stupid. Northrup makes enough money just on depot maintenance of the B-2 and has more unmanned aircraft in the pipeline. (XP 47B).

I wish, just for once, one of these guys would be honest. He sells it like he’s actually bolstering national security and creating jobs… but the simple truth is he wants to make a buck in a market that has yet to be exploited no matter what the risks. UAV technology is new and the U.S. is the only country to really use them effectively as combat tools… it’s a little early to be shipping them around the world to our “allies”.

Yes… but that will happen anyway. Any new system developed for the U.S. military isn’t available for export for years. Other nations will never chip in for the R&D costs and the chances of Northrop or Lockheed lowering a per-unit price just because they’re selling more to other countries is extrememly slim.

Defense R&D costs can (and should) be recovered from sales revenue, just as they are in every other industry out there. I think the current practice of putting taxpayers on the hook for dev costs right off the bat leads to abuse as it provides a disincentive for contractors to deliver workable and cost-effective products.

Not that actual foreign sales are even the actual point of what this idiot, Wes Bush, is saying, but we have always conveniently ignored the fact that when the US taxpayer funds the development of a weapon we are never reimbursed for our costs by sales of these weapons to foreign governments. It would be one thing if these companies were covering their own development costs and then selling them abroad to broaden their sales base and reduce the amount of overhead each customer had to pay for, but in this case they are simply ripping off the US taxpayer with foreign sales. One more way to use you as a cash pinata.

The fact is, the weapons we develop are way too expensive for export because of our “profit on development” procurement system, and this is not about selling weapons overseas. It is about relaxing defense technology regulations so they can outsource more of our defense development and production to foreign countries. “Engineers” in India cost 1/8th of what a real engineer in the US costs and engineering hours can all be billed at the same rate when you’ve got a contract with the US government, so what the hell, let’s tell them all our secrets and let them develop our weapons. What could possibly go wrong?

This ass wipe showed up at Space Park acting his part destroying what dignity remained after Northrop grabbed TRW. He took the joy out of serving this nation and lead complete nonsense projects, spent billions to implement systems coded in China and India defining what a complete ass meant to me to this day. I would work for this country in a second but under Wes Bush, you aren’t working for this country at all.

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