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“I work for a manufacturer of parts for military aircraft. We are a small company that sells our parts to the large companies you have heard of (Raytheon, Northrop Grumman).

At least in my experience we are (now) working three shifts already. After a lull the business has really picked up and we are just about at capacity. I would say that there are several reasons that the production can’t just be ramped up by adding factories.

The first is the byzantine nature of military purchasing. We usually hear about a job long before it gets to us… and by the time they get to us everything is already late.

The second is turf battles. If you have created a company that makes a specific part you are not particularly willing to share the engineering and process it takes to make that part with someone opening a new factory. It will take them a long time for any new entrents to the market to get up and running.

Thirdly – mil-spec. There are very demanding specifications for the manufacture of anything for the military. Many comapnies aren’t particularly interested in, nor do they have the capacity to do the detailed work for the military. There are many hoops to jump through for every part. As each part is tested it may be approved – or it may be kicked back for repair or to be scrapped.

This is not like WWII when the nation was mobilized to build tanks for victory. I don’t think the major automakers are going to shut down their minivan assembly lines in order to produce up-armoured Humvees.”


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