Tag Archives: China

Post Card From Dallas: Wind Energy Extravaganza

Made in America? Not so much.

So you’re probably asking… “Why is a defense guy at a wind energy trade show?”  Well, it’s a long story.  In the interest of maintaining my (already miniscule) readership, I’ll spare you the details and get to the point:  the US manufacturing base is getting our butts kicked in a big-time emerging industry.

For those who live solely in the world of defense contracting, things don’t always seem so bad.  With made in the US requirements, the DoD manages to keep some of our advanced manufacturing base in business.  After this week at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) annual trade show, I’ve got a little less swagger.  Walking the floor at AWEA felt more like a China-Europe expo with a nod to the American host country.  Nearly all of the major OEM’s hail from Europe, and the Chinese have come a long way in a very short period of time in the metals business.

Granted, the US was late to the wind game, and the industry here is just getting started.  What concerns me isn’t our trailing position in renewable energy (although that’s important).  My worry is just how much of the fundamental stuff is now being done elsewhere.   

If we want a healthy defense industry base, our manufacturers must have more customers than the DoD.  Seeing all those Chinese made ring bearings and gearboxes made my heart sink a little.    While a wind turbine is no F-22, there’s a lot more long-term money in it.  It would sure be nice if our manufacturers had something like this to keep their cash flow healthy.  Such economies of scale might just benefit Uncle Sam a little, too.

[Steps off soapbox]

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You’ve Got to be Kidding Me…

What do you think... Dual Use Item?

For anyone who has dealt with an International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) headache, you may wish to avert your eyes.  Seriously.

Apparently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force decided to rip off the P-8 Poseidon before it’s even operational (think Soviet Space Shuttle) with this beautiful “new” surveillance aircraft, which is built on a… wait for it… Boeing 737-300 airframe! (Read the complete story here.)

Since the production line for the -300 series ended a long time ago, there isn’t likely anything that can be done about it from an enforcement standpoint, but still.  How bad does this look? (Hint: Pretty Bad.)  No wonder the Chinese looked at picking up the Hummer badge from GM last year.  The People’s Liberation Army must have been shopping for a new ride.

Big props to Stephen Trimble over at The DEW Line for picking this up.

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