Buying Aircraft - Materiel Procurement for the Army Air by I. Holley

By I. Holley

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Aircraft engine exports climbed from 147 in the rock-bottom year 1922 to 1,048 in 1937. Foreign sales in spare parts, replacements, and accessories tell a similar story, growing from $250,000 in 1922 to something over $12,000,000 in 1937. 40 As an important attribute to national defense, aviation was subsidized in one form or another by all the major powers. For this reason, none of the great nations offered much in the way of markets for aircraft exported from the United States, at least not in normal times of peace.

375,000,000 Refrigerators (retail) . . . . . . . 328,000,000 Typewriters and office equipment . 153,000,000 Aircraft parts and engines . . . . . 86,000,000 Combining all these factors—low unit volume, low gross dollar volume, and lack of production tooling—the plight of the aircraft industry in the late nineteen For automobiles, value of product denotes value of automobiles only. thirties can be summarized as follows: low-priced airplanes waited upon the introduction of production techniques in the industry, but high-volume production could be justified only by a mass market, which waited upon low-priced airplanes.

3; Bu- 1938), p. S. in Chicago (Chicago, 1939), p. 8. 49 1938, p. 458. Air Commerce Bulletin (15 May 1938), p. 280. 46 20 BUYING AIRCRAFT increased the probability of mass produc- larger percentage of bombers, which tion and strengthened the nation's posi- tended to drive up the average. Where tion of readiness for war. But even at there had been but one bomber to every their best, the domestic carrier and ex- four pursuit planes in 1926, by 1937 there port markets were less important to the were eleven bombers to nine pursuits, and cause of national defense than the mar- the bombers were in many cases fourket for military aircraft in the United engine rather than two-engine craft.

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