This book examines the history of the aircraft industry and air power, mainly focusing on dual use, arms and technology transfer, self-sufficiency in defence and indigenization from a global perspective. During the half century from disarmament between the wars until the Cold War, the production and trade of military and civil aircraft dramatically increased on a global scale. We look at many case studies drawn from Europe, Asia and the Americas. Nine chapters based on original research aim to determine how the aircraft industry expanded and proliferated air power over the past century.
The Japanese Army recognized the importance of balloons and used them as a combat weapon in the Russo-Japanese War. When technology progressed to the point that balloons and heavier-than-air crafts were becoming prominent, the development of aviation in Japan became predominantly that of elite civilians and group efforts within the military establishment.
In 1909, the Rinji Gunyo Kikyu Kenkyu Kai (Provisional Military Balloon Research Association: PMBRA) was established within the military structure. The members of the association were selected from the army, navy, Tokyo Imperial University and the Central Meteorological Observatory. PMBRA was the only Japanese organization to direct its efforts towards balloons and powered heavier-than-air flights.
In 1910, PMBRA sent Capt. Yoshitoshi Tokugawa to France and Capt. Kumazo Hino to Germany for pilot training and to purchase aircraft for the army. In 1911, PMBRA began building a series of heavier-than-air craft of their own, thus marking the start of the aircraft manufacturing effort in Japan, although most of them imitated or imperfectly refined western ones. It is also remarkable that PMBRA formed the Teikoku Hiko Kyokai (Imperial Flying Association) in 1913 to develop civil aviation, and under the international treaty, the Civil Aviation Bureau was formed in 1918 in the army ministry to control civil aviation.
By the beginning of the First World War, both the army and navy had expanded their aviation departments. However, with the cessation of hostilities and the ability to assess wartime experience, it was obvious to Japanese military leaders that their respective air arms were far short of world standards both in training and equipment. The army was the first to initiate a modernization programme with the purchase of fighter aircraft and the invitation of French military instructors, an aviation mission led by Colonel J. P. Faure (1919–1920) to Japan.
In parallel with these efforts by the army, private aircraft companies, particularly the first three major aircraft builders – Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Nakajima – began to provide aircraft to the army that were dependent on the technology transfer from French companies. In addition, Tokyo Imperial University began to turn out aircraft engineers in 1918 .
In the First World War, the technological backwardness of Japanese aircraft production was revealed. To modernize the aircraft industry and attain its indigenization, the Japanese Navy imported the latest foreign technologies, expanded industrial-research establishments and brought in private companies for their military purposes. The development of Japanese naval aviation could not be accomplished without arms and technology transfers from Britain and Germany between the wars. Britain faced financial difficulties and had surplus aircraft from the First World War, and Germany was forbidden to build military aircraft under the Versailles Treaty. Thus, it was not difficult for Japan to utilize the technology transfers from these two countries, including the invitation of the British unofficial aviation mission and the import of German aircraft constructed of metal.
The Japanese Navy requested the help of a British military group to provide instruction to the navy. Arriving in April 1921, a group of twenty-nine instructors with Col. Master Sempil in charge began their training program at Kasumigaura, the Navy’s first airbase for both landplane and seaplane operations. The British air mission affected Japanese military aviation and aircraft design. This led to the need for aircraft to be manufactured in Japan and, as a result, brought about the creation of the Japanese aircraft builders such as Mitsubishi and Nakajima.
Despite the German aircraft industry’s relatively small output in the 1920s, it had a small but important export sector. Many products such as the Dornier Wal and Junker F.13 were sold in a number of countries. The F.13 was the first real transport plane constructed of metal. Japan bought Junkers K.51 four-engine heavy bombers and built them under license as the Ki-20. The very advanced Dornier and Rohrbach metal aircraft easily found many foreign customers, including Japan.
All of the above mentioned contributed to the development of Japanese naval aviation in the 1930s. Throughout the three-year program (1932–34) aimed at manufacturing new models of naval aircraft, the Japanese Navy established the self-sufficiency of its military aircraft, including the Mitsubishi Navy Type 96 land-based attack aircraft. As the Washington Disarmament Treaty of 1922 limited the tonnage for capital ships and aircraft carriers for the US Navy, Royal Navy and Japanese Navy, the London Disarmament Treaty of 1930 limited the number of smaller ships including cruisers. As a result of these limitations, Japanese Navy planners recognized the capability of navy land-based bombers that could be used to supplement and reinforce fleet activities.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, a number of severe restrictions were imposed on the German aircraft industry. However, after his seizure of power, Hitler secretly started massive air force construction, and only after two years did he openly declare the construction of the Luftwaffe (Air Force), immediately showing off Germany’s air power at home and abroad.
Three companies in the German aircraft industry—Junkers, Heinkel and Dornier, played a central role in the secret Milch plan of 1934–35 for the construction of the Luftwaffe. Junkers produced the supplementary bombers, Dornier produced bombers and reconnaissance (long- and short-range) and Heinkel produced fighters, reconnaissance and dive bombers. Under the severe restrictions of the time, how and why was this possible?
1. At the end of the First World War, 77 aircraft companies existed and had 65,000 employees. Demobilisation severely limited the possibility of survival for the German aircraft industry, and the Treaty of Versailles imposed a ban on production and exports. However, under the severe conditions of 1919–33, approximately 15 companies produced approximately 3,000 planes. Most of these were civilian aircraft, because military aircraft had been strictly prohibited.
2. The German aircraft industry was highly developed during the First World War. Junkers F-13, which was developed in 1919, was all metal and the most advanced civil airplane in the world. Many neutral and developing countries focused on obtaining German planes. Immediately after the end of the war, Sweden, the Soviet Union, Japan, Poland and even the United States tried to obtain German airplanes.
3. Hugo Junkers was a genuine, reliable Democrat and had a strongly independent spirit. He was a member of the German Democratic Party. He was confident of the peace building by civil airplanes. His company strove for the production of good, cheap and safe civil airplanes. Junkers also attempted the construction of the airlines with his machines in Europe, South America and Asia.
4. Heinkel was able to continue producing military aircraft in secret with the cooperation of Japanese friends who were on the control commission. He made the airplanes in violation of the prescribed limit, and the Reichswehr trained with them secretly in Lipezk near Moscow. Heinkel made also civil high-speed airplanes for the postal service.
5. Junkers established a factory in Fili near Moscow through secret German–Soviet military cooperation and by 1925, had produced approximately 100 military planes. However, no sufficient support from the Reichswehr could be obtained. Junkers invested in the A. B. Flygindustri in Limhamn (Sweden) for the international business and withdrew from Fili in heavy debt. Meanwhile, Dornier established factories for great civil and military planes in Italy and Switzerland.
6. These companies were fiercely competitive at home and abroad and established many world records. Their planes made many expeditions around the world and contributed to airline expansion. They achieved a high level of technical complexity and set the standards for mass production.
7. Anti-imperialist Hugo Junkers was expelled from his company, which had been completely nationalised during the secret rearmament.
Under the yoke of the Versailles treaty, the military sovereignty of Germany was severely restricted. The Weimar Republic was put under Allied control in the field of both airplane production and the air transportation industry. After this restriction was partly eased and the construction of airplanes with limited performance was permitted in 1922, the Germans, under the pretext of “civil aviation”, started to produce airplanes in such factories as Junkers, Heinkel and Dornier to prepare for the “dual use” of the machines in the future.
Germany also made every effort to expand network worldwide in the field of air transportation and organized the state-owned Deutsche Lufthansa. The German national flag carrier not only did everything in its power to expand air networks in Europe but was also eager to establish airline routes towards non-European continents, especially North America and East Asia.
In cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Public Transportation, Deutsche Lufthansa organized the Chinese-owned Eurasia Aviation Cooperation in Nanjing and began to participate in the air transportation business in East Asia. At first, Lufthansa planned to establish a Siberian route via Manchukuo, or Outer Mongolia, but Nationalist China refused to permit these routes because according to them, these “states” should be subject to Chinese sovereignty; thus, Chinese-owned Eurasia should not fly over these regions.
Under the influence of the international crisis after the Mukden Incident on 18 September, 1931, and especially after the National Socialist takeover in Germany on 30 January, 1933, Lufthansa began to lean towards the Japanese side. At the end of 1936, keeping in step with the conclusion of the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Japan, Lufthansa signed the German-Japanese-Manchurian Aviation Agreement with state-backed Manchurian aviation cooperation, which was in those days called the air force of Manchukuo. By the order of the Kwantung Army and in cooperation with Deutsche Lufthansa, Manchurian aviation cooperation made every effort to establish a central Asian air route via Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Persia, Iraq and Greece en route to Germany, from which air raids would be made in case of war against the Soviet Union.
This paper will attempt to trace these militarization processes of Deutsche Lufthansa in East Asia.
The interwar naval disarmaments gave more importance to cruisers, destroyers and submarines in place of battleships and battlecruisers. However, Japan and the USA faced each other across the Pacific Ocean and were in an utterly different geopolitical situation than European naval powers, such as the UK, France and Italy. Thus, both countries still needed a much greater number of cruisers, destroyers and submarines to defend their respective territories and islands against their potential enemy’s naval attacks.
However, the London Naval Disarmament conference in 1930 introduced a new limitation on the total tonnage of cruisers, destroyers and submarines commissioned in the treaty powers and new conditions on the individual size and power of destroyers and submarines. Therefore, Japan and the USA experienced more difficulties in defending their territories from their counterpart’s attacks across the ocean. These difficulties in the early 1930s simultaneously opened up an entirely new idea of naval airpower in both countries.
The first phase of naval airpower from the early 1920s until the first half of the 1930s was characterized by a dependence on the sea. Flying boats took off and landed on the surface of the sea, and carrier-based aircrafts were carried and operated on aircraft carriers floating on the sea. This was the ground for the inferiority and inconvenience of flying boats and carrier-based aircrafts compared to land-based aircrafts. If a land-based patrols and attack airplanes could fly across the sea, searching for enemy fleets in an illimitable ocean and attacking them with bombs and torpedoes, Japan and the USA would be released from the burden of deployment of thousands of cruisers, destroyers and submarines, which were severely limited by the London Disarmament.
In the first half of the 1930s, technological conditions for the new naval airpower in the second phase were fully provided, such as all-metal semi-monocoque structures, retractable gear and reliable high-power engines, which enabled land-based long-range patrol-attacker. The Mitsubishi 96 Rikkou G3M (“Nell”) and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress were pioneers of the second phase of naval airpower that was independent from the surface of the sea.
However, these forerunners were developed for defence from enemy fleets coming across the Pacific Ocean. The Mitsubishi 96 Rikkou was first used in strategic bombing against China (Shanghai, Chongqing, etc.). And it became the first case of long durative strategic bombing against enemy air defence. It thus had to fly very high in the stratosphere, and crews could not survive without oxygen masks, heating jackets and leather gloves.
Strategic bombing, acquired the pressurized fuselage, became one of the main methods of attack in the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and led technologically and geopolitically to new standards of military airpower and civil air transportation in the latter half of the twentieth century.
This paper examines the role of Adam Opel A.G., a 100% subsidiary of the General Motors Corporation in the U.S. as a supplier of main parts for German medium bomber, Junkers Ju 88, during World War II. Adam Opel A.G. began to contribute to Nazi Germany’s military motorization programme as a main maker of military-use trucks, for example, the Blitz 3t. Truck, in the latter half of the 1930s. Beginning in 1938, the company also tried to make connect with the German air ministry, and simultaneously the German government, from the viewpoint of its mass-production abilities. It approached Adam Opel A.G. and its parent company, the General Motors Corporation, to get Adam Opel to produce aircraft engines for German bombers. In early 1939, Adam Opel signed its first contract with the German air ministry for the gear plant of an aircraft engine constructed by Daimler-Benz A.G. After World War II began, in September 1939, the German government pressured Adam Opel to convert the entire productions of the company’s main factory of passenger cars into the production of aircraft parts for the German bomber Junkers Ju 88. A complicated negotiation developed between Adam Opel A.G. and the German air ministry, and inner-corporate conflict occurred within the top management circle of the company. Finally, Adam Opel A.G. decided to enter into the German aircraft industry as a main parts supplier for the German medium bomber Junkers Ju 88. Simultaneously, with the consensus of the parent company, the General Motors Corporation, the company reorganized its corporate governance structure, after which the executive officers, or Vorstand in German, of Adam Opel A.G. became only German nationals, and American nationals took positions on the company’s board of directors, or Aufsichtsrat in German, until the U.S.’s entry into World War II. The author evaluates this process as a typical reaction of a multinational enterprise in World War II. This paper is mainly based on General Motors documents relating to World War II corporate activities in Europe, Group No. 1799, Manuscript and Archives Division, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT, U.S.
The purpose of this chapter is to clarify why Germany could rearm and establish its air force under the framework of interwar disarmament by analyzing the US- German competitive relations in Latin America’s military and civil aviation during the interwar period. In the 1930s, one of the rare fields that was able to develop was aviation, including the aircraft industry and international air transport. After the First World War, Germany was prohibited from having an air force by the Versailles Treaty but was permitted to maintain its civil air transport activity in its own territory owing to the support from the US delegation. As referred to in previous chapters, Germany could develop its aircraft industry and expand international air routes beyond its borders. In the early 1930s, Germany was one of the leading countries in international civil air transport, expanding its route from European countries to China and Latin American countries. In addition, Germany exported the newest models of military training aircraft to Latin American states.
Latin American countries suffered from geographical difficulties in constructing land-transportation networks, and they wanted to develop their air transport system. Thus, they were markets for European countries – specifically Britain and France – to transfer air arms and sell obsolete surplus airplanes. Territorial conflicts also motivated Latin America countries to establish their own air forces, so European countries sent their military air-based missions to Latin America. In the 1920s, France and Britain influenced Latin America’s military and civil aviation. After the Great Depression, Germany and the United States began to intrude into the Latin American market. Then, their flag carriers—Deutsche Lufthansa and Pan American Airways—began to compete, managing their affiliated companies.
By the outbreak of World War II, Germany’s position in Latin American aviation seemed superior to that of the United States due to its newest airplane, the Focke-Wulf 200 Condor, a full-metal, long-range air-transport plane. Theoretically, the plane could be converted into a long-range bomber. Germany already used catapult ships for flying boats to access from Western Africa to the bulge of Brazil. In addition, Germany acquired a long-range land airplane that could fly cross the Atlantic. The United States traditionally regarded Latin American countries as a sphere of influence and strategic partners during the 1930s. The advance of German military and civil aviation into Latin American countries caused severe competition between Germany and the United States. Considering this situation a serious threat to hemisphere defense, the US government began the de-Germanization of Latin American aviation in 1940.
This chapter explores the development of the Canadian aircraft industry in the inter- and post-war eras through the cases of Canadian Vickers, one of the leading aircraft manufacturers in Canada, and its successor, Canadair. It especially focuses on the transfer of aircraft and production technology within the British Empire and from the United States.
In the 1920s, aircraft manufacturing appeared in Canada. Canadian Vickers promoted the technological transfer of aircraft manufacturing from Vickers Ltd., Britain, and developed original aircrafts in Canada on the basis of transferred technologies. However, the Ministry of National Defence and Royal Canadian Air Force were unwilling to purchase combat aircraft due to Canada’s geographical “free security” and desired non-combat flying boats and seaplanes for forest protection from fire and aerial surveys. Canadian Vickers kept developing such types of aircrafts as Vedette, Varuna, Vancouver and so on during this period.
After the sale to Montreal businessmen’s group from Vickers Ltd. in 1926, Canadian Vickers gave up developing original aircraft and reduced its aircraft production. However, Canadian Vickers resumed its aircraft manufacturing under the British rearmament policy in the late 1930s. It joined Canadian Associated Aircraft Ltd., a joint company established in Canada by the British Air Ministry in 1938, to manufacture and export Handley Page Hampden bombers to Britain with five other Canadian aircraft manufacturers.
Canadian Vickers was engaged in manufacturing PBY Cansos, coastal patrol flying boats, for the Royal Canadian Air Force on license from Consolidated Aircraft in the U.S. after the breakout of World War II. Nevertheless, the board of directors of Canadian Vickers strongly emphasised shipbuilding for the British, U.S. and Canadian navies over aircraft production. They decided to close the aircraft division, the business of which was taken over by Canadair, established in 1944, by C.D. Howe, the Minister of Munitions and Supply. In addition to the production of Cansos, Howe asked Canadair to manufacture DC-4, a passenger plane designed by the Douglas Aircraft Company in the U.S., on license. Canadair was devoted to the production of passenger planes to promote post-war commercial aviation in Canada.
In the inter- and post-war eras, the Canadian aircraft industry aimed to develop original flying boats and seaplanes but did not intend to grow out of technological dependence concerning aircraft production on Britain. Rather, it increased in the export of aircrafts produced using transferred technologies from Britain. In addition to Britain, Canada deepened its technological dependence on the U.S. through passenger-plane production while laying a critical foundation for the post-war aircraft industry.
India was in no position to be “self-sufficient” in defence equipment. Self-sufficiency in defence requires all stages of defence production (starting from design to manufacture, including raw materials) to be carried out within the country. However, self-reliance does not preclude accessing external sources for technology and systems or external help at any stage of the production cycle. India acquired a substantive proportion of weapons and equipment from European countries, mainly from the Soviet Union.
At the same time, India made a great effort to establish a defence system. Since its independence, India has faced a hostile external-security environment. It has been involved in several military confrontations with Pakistan and China. To meet this challenge and strengthen its military capabilities, India has developed a diverse military-industrial-research complex. This chapter will review the historical development of three segments of this complex and their interrelationship: the Indian Air Force (IAF), Hindustan Aeronautics Company Ltd. (HAL) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). All are the products of global arms and technology transfers.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is the largest of the defence public sector’s undertakings and, since its inception in 1964, has been actively involved in the licensed manufacture of aircraft for IAF. Five IITs were established with the assistance of four nations： the Soviet Union, West Germany, the US and the UK. IIT Kharagpur had aid from all of these countries in 1951; IIT Bombay had Soviet Union aid in 1958; IIT Madras had West German aid in 1959; IIT Kanpur had US aid in 1960 and IIT Delhi had UK aid in 1963.
This chapter will focus on the relationship between the department of aeronautical engineering of these five IITs and the Indian aircraft industry and how the IITs contributed to establishing the self-reliance model in HAL under the Soviet licensed production arrangement. HAL began licensed production in 1960s and carried on through the next decade. This process was accompanied by reduction in indigenous design and development activities.
Then, Joint Venture, Indo-Russian Aviation Company, was established in 1994. It was designed not only to serve Indian aircraft but also to act as a base from which to expand into the growing market for military aircraft in Southeast Asia. It should provide India the opportunity to export its own designed aircraft. It seems safe to assume that India is changing from being a recipient to a sender of arms transfer.