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Détente and Beyond

Anglo-Romanian Relations in the Aviation Industry (1966-1993)

by Mauro Elli (Author)
©2018 Monographs 274 Pages
Series: Euroclio, Volume 102

Summary

By the mid-1960s, the whole European aviation industry had begun looking at two main solutions in order to survive competition from the USA: European cooperation, and exports to markets still closed to the Americans. Against this background, Anglo-Romanian dealings in the aviation industry over a period of almost thirty years are a case of converging politico-military interests with major interpretative potential. This holds true for the history of East-West relations and infra-Western commercial competition, but also for the transformation of domestic decision-making patterns and the change in economic priorities. While Britain became Romania’s first commercial partner in order to offer a new outlet to the aviation industry, Bucharest was looking at the U.K. to pursue a strategy of industrial modernisation and political visibility. The story of their intersection sheds light on the lower-level reality of Détente in Europe. The degree of collaboration across the Iron Curtain was not just the product of a generally improved diplomatic atmosphere, but – at least in the present case – the result of a peculiar mixture of political ambition, economic viability, and technological expertise. Indeed, the change of economic paradigm in the UK (from Neo-Keynesianism to monetarist Neo-Liberalism), along with President Ceauşescu’s fixation with foreign debt, played a crucial role in the vicissitudes of Anglo-Romanian relations in the aviation industry in the period between the demise of Détente and the end of the Cold War. This points to a reasonably articulated model, which is hinged on the category of ‘transfer’, rather than on the category of ‘cooperation’.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acronyms
  • Introduction and Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 1. Western Wings for Romania
  • 1.1 Antipodes in Détente Europe: British Industrial ‘Decline’ and Romanian Economic Development
  • 1.2 Competition for TAROM’s Modernisation: the Choice in Favour of BAC
  • Chapter 2. Counter-trade: the B-N Islander Production Line in Romania
  • 2.1 The Vagaries of Insolvency
  • 2.2 The Quest for Good Workmanship
  • Chapter 3. Military Aviation: JUROM and Beyond
  • 3.1 The Brezhnev Doctrine as a Propeller
  • 3.2 The Rolls-Royce Viper Engine and CoCom Issues
  • 3.3 The Chinese Spin-off
  • 3.4 Afterburning
  • Chapter 4. Chartering the Modernisation of Civil Aviation
  • 4.1 Shrinking Perspectives in the UK
  • 4.2 BAC and US Competition in Romania
  • Chapter 5. Rombac
  • 5.1 Competing with the Germans
  • 5.2 Queen Elizabeth II’s Guests
  • 5.3 Licensing the 1-11
  • Chapter 6. Epilogue: Re-engining the 1-11
  • 6.1 The ROMBAC Programme in ‘Epoca de Aur’
  • 6.2 Post-Revolutionary Demise
  • References
  • Index
  • Series index

Détente and Beyond

Anglo-Romanian Relations
in the Aviation Industry
(1966-1993)

Mauro Elli

About the author

Mauro Elli, Ph.D., is currently Adjunct Professor in Contemporary History at the State University of Milan. He has published several contributions on the reciprocal feedback between foreign policy and technology during the Cold War, with a focus on nuclear power developments.

About the book

By the mid-1960s, the whole European aviation industry had begun looking at two main solutions in order to survive competition from the USA: European cooperation, and exports to markets still closed to the Americans. Against this background, Anglo-Romanian dealings in the aviation industry over a period of almost thirty years are a case of converging politico-military interests with major interpretative potential. This holds true for the history of East-West relations and infra-Western commercial competition, but also for the transformation of domestic decision-making patterns and the change in economic priorities. While Britain became Romania’s first commercial partner in order to offer a new outlet to the aviation industry, Bucharest was looking at the UK to pursue a strategy of industrial modernisation and political visibility. The story of their intersection sheds light on the lower-level reality of Détente in Europe. The degree of collaboration across the Iron Curtain was not just the product of a generally improved diplomatic atmosphere, but – at least in the present case – the result of a peculiar mixture of political ambition, economic viability, and technological expertise. Indeed, the change of economic paradigm in the UK (from Neo-Keynesianism to monetarist Neo-Liberalism), along with President Ceauşescu’s fixation with foreign debt, played a crucial role in the vicissitudes of Anglo-Romanian relations in the aviation industry in the period between the demise of Détente and the end of the Cold War. This points to a reasonably articulated model, which is hinged on the category of ‘transfer’, rather than on the category of ‘cooperation’.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Acronyms

AA Associated Aerospace

AEI Associated Electrical Industries

AMEJ Papers of Julian Amery, Churchill College, Cambridge

ANR, CC The National Archives of Romania, Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, Bucharest

ARB Air Registration Board

BA British Airways

BAC British Aircraft Corporation

BAe British Aerospace

BDOHP British Diplomatic Oral History Programme, Churchill College, Cambridge

BEA British European Airways

BHC British Hovercraft Corporation

B-N Britten-Norman

BP British Petroleum

CAA Civil Aviation Administration

CIAR Headquarters of the Romanian Aeronautical Industry (Centrala Industriei Aeronautice Române)

CMEA Council for Mutual Economic Assistance

CNIAR National Centre of Aeronautical Industry (Centrul Național al Industriei Aeronautice Române)

CoCom Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls

CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union

CSCE Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe

DBPO Documents on British Foreign Policy Overseas

DOI Department of Industry

DOT Department of Trade

DTI Department of Trade and Industry←9 | 10→

EBRD European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

ECGD Export Credits Guarantee Department

EMBRAER Brazilian Aeronautics Company (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica)

ERC Exporters Refinance Corporation

FAA Federal Aviation Administration

FCO Foreign & Commonwealth Office

FOI/DTI Papers obtained by the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills pursuant the Freedom of Information Act

FOI/FCO Papers obtained by the UK FCO pursuant the Freedom of Information Act

FOIA/DoS Papers obtained from the U.S. Department of State pursuant the Freedom of Information Act

GAB Bucharest Aeronautical Group (Grupul Aeronautic Bucureşti)

HAEC Historical Archives of the European Communities

HSA Hawker Siddeley Aviation

IAR Romanian Aeronautical Industry (Industria Aeronăutică Română)

IATA International Air Transport Association

IAvB Bucharest Aircraft Company (Întreprinderea de Avioane Bucureşti)

ICI Imperial Chemical Industries

ICPAS Institute for Aerospace Design and Construction (Institutul de Cercetări și Proiectări Aerospaţiale)

ILS instrumental landing system

IMFCA Institute for Fluid Mechanics and Aerospace Constructions (Institutul de Mecanica Fluidelor şi Construcţii Aerospaţiale)

INCREST National Institute for Scientific and Technical Creation (Institutul Național pentru Creație Științifică și Tehnică)

IRMA Enterprise for the Repair of Aeronautical Material (Întreprinderea de Reparaţii Material Aeronautic)

LAR Romanian Airways (Liniile Aeriene Române)

MAEF Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères←10 | 11→

MAER Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MBB Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blöhm

Mintech Ministry of Technology

MoD Ministry of Defence

NARA, ADD National Archives and Records Administration, access to archival databases

NSF National Salvation Front

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

OEEC Organisation for European Economic Co-operation

PCL Polytechnic of Central London

PMR Romanian Workers’ Party (Partidul Muncitoresc Român)

RCP Romanian Communist Party (Partidul Comunist Român)

RMFA Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

SBAC Society of British Aircraft Constructors

SNECMA National Society of Research and Construction of Aviation Engines (Société nationale d’étude et de construction de moteurs d’aviation)

STOL stort take-off and landing

Tarom Romanian Air Transport (Societatea de Transporturi Aeriene Române)

TARS Romanian-Soviet Air Transport (Societatea de Transporturi Aeriene Româno-Sovietice)

UKNA The National Archives of the United Kingdom

VFW United Flight-technical Company (Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke)←11 | 12→ ←12 | 13→

Introduction and Acknowledgements

This book has come together almost by chance. I was mainly concerned – and I still am – with nuclear power and in 2010 I was completing a research on one of the two atomic power plants that the British managed to export in the 1950s, specifically the one purchased by the ENI Group for Latina. I was looking for a new topic, convinced – as I was back then – that my job would always be historical research, a field that possibly had nothing to do with nuclear power, because – it was suggested – it would be appropriate for my academic future to show the ability to be flexible, not to focus on one single theme to be rehashed at any given opportunity.

On the one hand, I wanted to investigate something that had to do with Romania, because in previous years I had been able to develop a special bond with this country for personal reasons. On the other hand, I had a very cursory knowledge of its history, and I had never had dealings with Eastern Europe. It was then that one of my colleagues in Milan, an expert on such topics, with his good-naturedly brazen ways, told me that if I wanted to try and research a significant theme that involved both the Romanians and ‘my beloved English’ I would have to consider planes.

Aeroplanes, for me, were just a means of transport – and not a very comfortable one. However, I jumped aboard one heading for London and for a couple of weeks I lost myself in that extraordinary place of study still known at that time as the Public Record Office. During that stay, I could not do much, apart from seeing the amount of material available and understanding, though still in an obscure way, the enormous quantity of historical links that such research could offer. Accustomed as I was to take the availability of low-cost carriers on European routes for granted, I still remember my amazement upon learning that one of the first aircraft operated by the newly-formed Ryanair – the Spirit of Dublin – was a ROMBAC 1-11 manufactured in Romania.1

Details

Pages
274
Year
2018
ISBN (PDF)
9782807606753
ISBN (ePUB)
9782807606760
ISBN (MOBI)
9782807606777
ISBN (Softcover)
9782807606746
Language
English
Publication date
2018 (March)
Published
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2018. 269 p.

Biographical notes

Mauro Elli (Author)

Mauro Elli, Ph.D. is currently Adjunct Professor in Contemporary History at the State University of Milan. He has published several contributions on the reciprocal feedback between foreign policy and technology during the Cold War, with a focus on nuclear power developments.

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