Commercial Aircraft Sales Should Not Require An Arms Export License
January 1, 2004
Modern aircraft use sophisticated avionics equipment to help keep themselves stable and on course. Precise and reliable microprocessors, sensors and other electronic devices are widely used in both military and civil avionics. The avionics package on the Boeing 737 and many other airliners use a chip named the QRS11. This chip is also used in military aircraft and missiles. The use of this particular chip on a passenger aircraft means that an agreement to sell thirty new passenger aircraft to Chinese airlines was delayed while the U.S. government decided whether it must be approved as an arms sale. The sale is now being criticized for releasing military technology, but this charge has more to do with politics and out-of-control regulations than with national security and for allowing passenger aircraft to go to China without a license.