When the Air Force buys a new weapon system, typically it allows the manufacturer to retain ownership of the blueprints, designs and technical data. Companies prefer it that way because it guarantees them lucrative aftermarket work such as repairs, upgrades and training simulators.
The Air Force thinks it can save money by shifting more of the repairs and maintenance work to its own depots. From now on, it will be asking manufacturers to sell the rights to the technical data to the Air Force as a condition for receiving a production contract.
“You will see more discussion about data rights,” says a senior Air Force official. The plan is to ask contractors to price the data rights for all new hardware in their proposals.