|Quoting Revelation (Reply 49):|
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 38):
Nope. US Government would never allow it, among other things.
I'm wondering if you'd clarify this. If, for instance, Boeing decided they couldn't make money building the 737 replacement in-house and it was built by a Japanese firm instead, and marketed and supported by Boeing, why and how would this be disallowed?
I really doubt the US Government has much if any willpower to block the plans of any large US corporation. Decades ago we had the breakup of Standard Oil, and then AT&T, and now we see the same entities recombining themselves. without a peep from Uncle Sam.
There are a couple of reasons the U.S. Government would try to block it. First and foremost, Boeing is by far the largest exporter in the US (by $'s). Singlehandedly, they have a big effect on the US trade balance. It would be politically very difficult for any US government to allow the trade imbalance to go farther negative than it already is, which it would if Boeing moved assembly out-of-country.
There is also the security issue...although Boeing Commercial and Defense operate independently, there are several cross-over products. Also, by being in the US, Boeing can use a variety of EAR and ITAR controlled technologies for commercial production (e.g. FADEC engine controls, large capacity multi-axis milling, etc.). If they try to move any of that outside the US they instantly lose almost any chance of converting those commercial products to military use and there are a bunch of technologies they'd have to leave at home.
There's also the fact that final assembly is an enourmous number of jobs and the political fallout of letting a very American company send that many jobs overseas would be huge.
That's all about the why.
The how is fairly simple...given the nature of the product, Boeing has to play very carefully with the Department of State, Commerce, and Defense. Any one of those can block many types of request that a company makes to do business outside the US.
Obviously, Boeing always has the option to go completely extra-US but that would shoot access to one of their largest markets in the foot and there may never be a business case to do that.
|Quoting Revelation (Reply 58):|
As for the level of outsourcing, after reading the various books on the history of Boeing, I never thought I'd see the wings outsourced. Again, according to these sources, the wings are what make or break an airplane, and even if they kept the design in-house and just outsourced the manufacturing, I can only imagine a partner could learn almost all they need to know from the amount of information they have as a manufacturer.
Actually, they can't learn as much as you might think. Given a design, a partner can learn very well about the aerodynamics and construction techniques of that design. However, by itself this doesn't allow you to do much other than copy that design. A wing is aerodynamically and structurally complex enough that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reverse engineer the design techniques from the final product. It wouldn't tell them that much about designing a different wing (which is where the value would be).
Once upon a time, building a wing was something that only the OEM's could do. That has obviously degraded with time as more manufacturers develop the required manufacturing expertise and tooling. That's a trend you see in all industries and Boeing can't stop it or ignore it. The sensible thing to do is let go of the things that other people can do better and hold on to the things that have huge value-added or only they can do. Wing design is still something that only the OEM's can do really well. The 787 may have tipped over the line a little to far, but I don't think any of the partners learned enough from their experience to run off and build an airplane of their own just using what they learned from Boeing.