Lean Times

Boeing Advanced Systems president Darryl Davis Monday said Boeing’s Phantom Works shop isn’t in any immediate danger of going out of business, but he did say that unless the Pentagon starts putting more money into advanced technology concepts, maintaining such an organization will be “challenging” by the middle of the next decade. Davis, at a briefing for reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in Washington, D.C., said that Boeing has plenty to do across “the breadth” of technology development in military and civil aviation and space, but needs to see commitment to things like the Air Force’s 2018 bomber and the Navy’s F/A-XX sixth-generation fighter to keep its R&D capability healthy. “I would have to agree with the pundits that the tech base is eroding,” Davis said, adding that the Pentagon should put more money into prototyping new systems, even if they aren’t destined for operational service, to keep the R&D base alive. “You can’t expect industry to pay for that ourselves,” he said.