我要飛上青天——台灣航空工業蓄勢待發

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1989 / 8月

文‧劉麗真 圖‧黃麗梨


今年五月二十八日,經國號(IDF)戰機首度試飛,當它慢慢在跑道上滑行,然後順利升空的剎那,航發中心研發人員一顆顆緊繃的心才算落了下來……

 

經國號這一飛,不但活生生地公佈航發廿年的成績,也飛出了國人對台灣發展航空工業的期待。


近年來,由於全球航空量增加以及大多數六○、七○年代出廠的老飛機面臨「退休」的命運,使得歐美各大航空公司在供不應求的情況下,積極物色勞資較便宜的新興工業化國家,作為新的合作生產對象。

我國在電子、機械等方面的人才、技術,在亞洲各國中除日本外,居領先地位,加上資金取得不難,因此頻頻接收到傳自歐美航空業者發送的熱情眼波。

例如四月初在台北舉辦的中華民國第一屆航空工業會議,就吸引了不少國外航空業者前來參加。其中美國麥道、法國空中巴士、英國航太、美商聯合訊號和勞斯萊斯引擎公司更出資贊助,由此可見他們的重視程度。

受到別人重視,固然值得高興,但重要的是,憑藉目前的實力,我們能不能抓住別人有意送上門來的機會呢?

「中山科學院航空發展中心,是目前國內唯一有能力生產高精密鑄造航空零組件的單位」,在美國教授航空工程、兼任應太科技公司顧問,應邀回國擔任經濟部工業合作辦事處主任的沈正中表示。

至於從事航空工業「上游」鍛造品(金屬經初級加工而成之毛坯)生產的全特公司,則是國內唯一獲得美國波音、蓋瑞特公司驗證合格的民間廠商。

全特公司是行政院科技顧問組在民國七十一年,透過北美工程師協會推薦,邀請在等溫鍛造方面頗有成就的美國銓特公司,與國防工業發展基金會、交通銀行共同投資新台幣二億元,於楊梅工業區成立的一家高科技鍛造公司,生產之鍛造品主要用於飛機引擎的推進器、壓縮機及渦輪圓盤等。

然而,國內像全特這樣擁有「顯赫家世」的民間廠商,算得上「絕無僅有」。因此,有心向航空工業進軍的民間廠商,透過航發中心的技術轉移,可能是「入門」的唯一途徑。

航發中心「成年」了

回顧台灣過去航空工業歷史,不難發現軍方的濃厚色彩。

曾擔任空軍航空發展中心(中科院航空發展中心前身)主任,現任工業總會顧問的顧光復先生表示,我國由於遭逢外交困境,高性能戰機採購無門,為確保領空安全,不得不致力軍機發展,而執行這個任務的第一要角,即是航發中心。

今年,航發中心正好滿廿歲。「成立之初是由最基本的零配件製造,以及經由合作生產,慢慢累績經驗的」,航發中心計畫組祝如竹博士指出,航發中心過去和Northrop合作生產F-5E戰機,和Bell合作生產UH-1H直升機等所累積的技術,正是為發展經國號所做的奠基工作。

如今,隨著經國號的順利試飛,廿年來付出的心血也終於得到回報。更重要的是,在這段期間,航發為達成軍方交付任務,不惜投下鉅資所培養出的人才、技術,正可以為我國未來欲發展全面性航空工業,以至提昇我國整體工業水準,提供最大的資源。

事實上,飛機的製造過程極為複雜,由軍方獨立生產並不符合經濟效益,外國的軍機也多由軍方發包民間製造。因此,為了降低軍機生產成本,並同時配合我國航空工業的發展,航發中心根據參謀總長郝柏村所提「開發在軍方,製造在民間」之指示,已積極著手致力經國號戰機量產作業,和推動零組件外包計畫。

尋找「情投意合」的伙伴

為徵求航空零組件外包民間製造廠商,航發中心早自去年十一月起即四處尋訪,透過工業局、工業總會、機械工業同業公會等單位居中介紹,試圖找到「情投意合」的理想對象。

找到理想對象看來不難,因為航空工業涵蓋的範圍極廣,如機械、電機、電子、材料業等都是。

有些廠商依恃過去製造機踏車、汽車零件的經驗,便信心勃勃地表示願意參與航空零組件製造。事實上,根據專家表示,由於這些工業與航空工業的層級不同,精密程度亦相差甚遠,因此並不如想像中那麼容易「升級」。

沈正中主任說,航空工業為一高精密技術工業,製造過程絲毫馬虎不得。以零組件製造部門為例,由於大多數工具機皆由電腦控制,操作人員如果技術不夠嫻熟,按錯電腦鍵程序,很可能就會使一座價值數百萬美元的工具機整個報銷;複合材料的廠房更需控制在無塵的狀態。

他記得,去年十月普惠公司品保小組來台找合作對象,對航發中心、工研院機械所、全特公司進行品質驗證,花上大半年,歷經種種複查程序,才全數「及格」。

廠不在大,量不在多

航空工業不但在技術上要求精密,同時投資大、回收慢,這對慣於低成本、回收快的國內業者來說,真要「丟錢」下去,算盤珠子恐怕還得多撥幾下。

然而根據美國航空工業統計資料顯示,資本額約四百萬美元左右的小廠商平均每廠從業人員年產值約十一萬美元,為美國製造業平均年產值之一.七倍,為我國製造業平均年產值之二倍餘。由此可見,航空零組件製造有極高的附加價值。

「除了產值高,航空工業還有少量多樣的特性,頗適合我國以中小企業為主的產業結構」,祝如竹說。

成大航太所所長趙繼昌舉例,美國的波音七四七飛機百分之廿以上的零組件,是由全美二千多家工廠分別購得的。這些工廠的規模都不大,平均每廠員工約四十名,正好是台灣中小企業的規模。所以,如果我國有意發展「全機」,早期也許需要大企業投資做為先鋒,但一旦佔有市場之後,中小企業便有相當大的開發空間。

「只要廠商有興趣參與,可以先到航發申請試製」,祝如竹博士說明軍方支持民間廠商的做法,「試製的材料完全由航發中心供應。」

試製一些基本的零件後,若彼此「感覺」不錯,廠商便可進一步提出申請,經由一連串評鑑和技術輔導等過程(見附表1),達成合作協議。

為了確實扮演好技術轉移的橋樑角色,航發中心在技術輔導上採取「服務到家」的方式,只要廠商有任何技術問題,即立刻派員前往指導。此外,廠商也可依照規定,申請進入航發學習。

一朝被蛇咬,十年怕草繩

不過,目前航發中心在外包流程中,有一項手續頗「不合常理」,那就是在訂約時,廠商必須先交出一筆保證金,這種情況和一般由買方墊付頭款的慣例正好相反。

「一朝被蛇咬,十年怕草繩」,沈正中指出,因為過去碰過商人扯爛汙,訂了約到時又無法如期交貨,延誤執行任務時效,因此現在反過頭來要求保障。如此一來,廠商成本增加,還得忍受不信任的待遇,合作意願自然降低。

當然,如果真的有利可圖,精明的商人可能不會那麼在意流程如何,所以,過去廠商最主要的疑慮,恐怕還是在於市場不明確。

「航發交下來一年的東西,我們三個月就做完了」,全特公司工程副總經理劉忠仁表示,剩下的時間為免閒置機器,只有設法向「外」發展接訂單。

目前情況卻大有轉機。除經國號戰機零組件外包經費在未來八年預估總值高達七十三億九千四百萬元(見附表2),政府還計畫運用「工業合作」方式,為民間業者提供更多的市場和技術。

去年初,華航向美國購買了十架飛機,首度透過談判,與三家美國航空公司簽訂「對衝合作」協定,意謂三家公司將撥出不同比例的購機價款,做為技術轉移費用,或承諾購回我國生產的飛機零組件,總金額三億四千萬美元,目前由航太小組工業合作辦事處規畫執行中。

據劉忠仁所知,經國號「露面」之後,國外廠商對其風評不錯,因此,紛紛提出「共險投資」的建議。由國外廠商提供資金、技術(包括基礎構型、設計和生產過程),利用航發中心現有風洞、實驗室及人力,共同設計生產。

「如此一來,既可分攤風險,又可進一步達到技術轉移的目的,提供國內廠商更大的資源,對我國發展航空工業更為有利」,劉忠仁說。

麥道飛機公司前任總裁馬文,在來台參加第一屆航空會議時指出,未來飛機的需求量必定有增無減,預計一九八八至一九九八出廠的民航機,將是上一個十年的一.四倍,成長率高達百分之四十。

時機已到,掌握趁早

整個航空工業大環境的有利情勢,加上國內航發中心的技術轉移策略,台灣航空工業呈現一幅「水到渠成」的可喜景象。

正如總統府資政李國鼎先生所說,發展航空工業正當此時。「過去,我們眼看著一扇扇緊密的窗,從我們眼前一一掠過,而今好不容易盼到一扇敞開的窗,如果再不抓住機會跳進去的話,恐怕下次就很難再碰上這扇窗了」,他舉例。

看來目前國內欠缺的似乎只是一套航太工業長程發展政策,有了這「臨窗一跳」,或許便能適時地將航空工業帶動起來。

〔圖片說明〕

P.101

經國號戰機帶來了國人對發展航空工業的期待。(鄭元慶翻攝)

P.102

F-5E戰機、UH-IH直升機和AT-3教練機,都是航發中心與國外航空公司合作生產的代表作。(航發中心提供)

P.103

圖為經國號戰機在裝配廠之作業情形。(鄭元慶翻攝)

P.104

上圖是一部數值控制靠模銑床,操作人員正以其複製一件機身結構。下圖是安裝在工具機上的各式銑刀,可以切割出不同功能的結構件。

P.105

航發中心膠合廠的工作人員正在進行複合材料製作。

P.106

附表1

航空零組件外包流程[圖表]

P.106

附表2

經國號戰機外包經費總預估表[圖表]

相關文章

近期文章

EN

All Systems Are Go--But Where To?

Liou Lih-jen /photos courtesy of Lily Huang /tr. by Phil Newell

On May 28 of this year, the Ching-kuo fighter plane completed its first test flight. As it slowly rolled down the runway and smoothly lifted into flight, the personnel of the Aero Industry Development Center (AIDC) felt like it carried away their tensions with it. This flight was not only an announcement of the fruits of two decades of aerospace development, it also caused the expectations of people toward aerospace in Taiwan to soar.


In recent years, because of the rapid increase in the airline industry and the aging of planes built in the 60's and 70's, major aircraft manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe have, unable to meet rising demand, made the newly industrialized countries partners in cooperation.

The ROC stands second only to Japan in Asia in electronics and machinery. Add to this that capital is abundant, and it is clear why the aircraft industry is making eyes. At the beginning of April, for example, the First Conference on Aviation Industry in ROC was held in Taipei, attracting numerous foreign manufacturers. Among them, MacDonnell-Douglas of the U.S., Airbus of France, Aerospace of Britain, and others provided funding, showing the importance they place on the ROC

Getting attention is fine--but what's important is whether or not the ROC can seize the opportunities offered.

"The Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology's Aero Industry Development Center is the only unit in the ROC which currently has the ability to produce high precision molded parts for aircraft," notes George Shen, general manager of the Industrial Cooperation Program Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Chen-Tech Taiwan Industries Corporation, which undertakes upstream forging production, is the only domestic enterprise doing this work deemed qualified by the Boeing and Garratte companies of the U.S. CTTI was established in 1982 by the Science and Technology Advisory Group of the Executive Yuan. On the recommendation of the North American Chinese Engineer Association, it invited the U.S. Chen-Tech corporation, which has considerable achievements in forging production, to enter a joint investment with the Military Defense Industrial Development Foundation and the Bank of Communications of NT$200 million. It was established in the Yangmei Industrial District to produce parts for engines.

However, there are no private sector factories with this kind of "lineage." Those trying to get into aerospace manufacturing must go through the AIDC.

Looking back over the history of aerospace development in Taiwan, it is not hard to discover a strong military flavor. Ku Kuang-fu, formerly director of the predecessor to AIDC, notes that because of diplomatic setbacks it was hard for the ROC to buy high performance fighter aircraft and it became necessary to make them at home.

This year the AIDC is twenty years old. Dr. David R.C. Chu, chief of the Planning Department at AIDC, recalls that in the early period, there was only basic maintenance and manufacture of spare parts. Later, the center did joint production with Northrup of the F-5E fighter and with Bell of the UH-1H helicopter, gaining experience and laying the foundation for the Ching-kuo fighter.

Besides military work, the large capital investment and cultivation of talent can provide enormous resources for the future development of a complete air industry and for raising the level of domestic industry in general.

In fact, aircraft manufacturing is very complex, and for the military to produce independently is not economically efficient. Foreign military aircraft are mostly contracted out to the private sector. Thus, AIDC, under the guidance of Chief of General Staff Hau Pei-tsun's theme "develop in the military, manufacture in the civil sector," has already begun to find compatible partners to contract out parts for the Ching-kuo.

The search does not seem hard, because the aircraft industry encompasses a broad scale, including machinery, electronics, raw materials, and so on.

AIDC's Jeffrey C.S. Hao explains that "the enterprise only needs to be interested; then it can go to the AIDC to apply for trial production." The raw materials are provided by AIDC. Even if the product is a failure, the enterprise need not pay compensation. If the two sides feel things are adequate, the enterprise can go one step further and apply to complete a cooperation agreement after passing a series of oversight and technological guidance procedures (see diagram 1).

To guarantee that it plays its role as a bridge in technology transfer well, AIDC does "housecalls." If the enterprise has any technology problems, the center will immediately dispatch someone to undertake guidance. Also, the enterprise can, according to regulations, apply to enter AIDC to study.

However, the AIDC also has a few unusual procedures in the process of contracting out. In making up the contract, the enterprise must first deliver a guarantee deposit. This is the exact opposite of the ordinary situation of the buyer putting down a down payment. "Once bitten, twice shy," says George Shen. In the past, because some businessmen were unreliable about deadlines, now guarantees are required.

Of course, where there are profits to be made, businessmen don't care much about the process. The biggest obstacle has been the lack of a clear market.

J. R. Liu, vice president for engineering at CTTI, says that "The work sent to us by AIDC in a year can be completed in 3 months." The only thing they can do is take orders from outside to fill time.

Currently the situation is changing. Aside from the NT$7.394 billion expected to be contracted out for the Ching-kuo fighter, the government plans to use the "industrial cooperation" method to provide even more markets and technology to the private sector.

Liu says, after the coming out of the Ching-kuo, foreign businesses appraised it well. Therefore they made numerous offers of joint risk investment, in which the foreign enterprise provides capital and technology, and uses AIDC facilities and personnel for joint design and production. This way risks can be spread out, and goals of technology can move one step closer to realization, providing domestic industry with better resources.

Former MacDonnell-Douglas Director Donald Malvern pointed out at the aviation conference that demand for aircraft will increase inevitably. From 1988 to 1998, the number of civil aircraft coming off the line will be 1.4 times the previous ten years. This offers the happy prospect of Taiwan's technology transfer strategy picking up a tailwind from the broad environment of the industry as a whole.

Senior advisor to the president K.T. Lee recently noted that the opportunity offered may not come again. All that's lacking, it seems, is a flight plan.

[Picture Caption]

The flight of the Ching-kuo fighter caused expectations of the aerospace industry to soar.(photo by Arthur Cheng.)

The F-5E fighter, the UH-1H helicopter, and the AT-3 trainer are all examples of aircraft coproduced by the Aero Industry Development Center with foreign aircraft manufacturers. (photo courtesy of the AIDC)

A photo of the Ching-kuo fighter in the assembly plant.

(photo by Arthur Cheng)

The upper photo is of workers using a digitally controlled drill to construct the frame of a fuselage. The lower photo shows various drill bits used t o cut parts for different functions.

Workers at the AIDC making alloyed materials.

DIAGRAM 1

Process for Contracting Out Aircraft Parts[Picture]

DIAGRAM 2

Estimates of expenses to be contracted out for the Ching-kuo fighter[Picture]

 

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