Government financing of aeronautics research and technology pays large dividends in civil and military aviation and shouldn't be cut, a a White House report said yesterday.
The conclusions of a study group composed of key officials from half a dozen agencies were disclosed by presidential science adviser George A. Keyworth II in a speech yesterday.
The panel had been asked to decide whether continued federal investment in aeronautics research was justified.
"Aeronautics research and technology continues to have immense strategic value -- both for defense needs and for the economic benefits to the nation from a healthy civil aviation manufacturing industry," Keyworth said.
The study found that the necessary research won't be conducted in the private sector because companies seek a high and quick return on investment, and find it difficult to justify investing in longer-term aeronautical research.
Keyworth, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which coordinated the six-month study, said the consensus of the group should mean continued federal support for aeronautics research. Keyworth said he would be "very surprised" to see fiscal 1984 funding reduced below the current $280 million funding.
Working on the study were officials of the Office of Management and Budget, Departments of Commerce, Defense and Transportation, Council of Economic Advisers and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The review found that aeronautics research and technology is still at the "frontier of science," he said.
Benefits expected in coming years from continued research and development include changes in aircraft range, capacity and operating efficiency "ranging up to 100 percent improvements over today," he said. "Clearly, there's still plenty of return to be gained on investments in aeronautics research and technology."