When jet propulsion appeared, decades of piston-engine knowledge no longer gave established companies great advantages over newcomers. Realizing this, the U.S. government put World War II jet work in the hands of General Electric (GE), which had some applicable technology but had never built an aircraft engine. Soon it was building plenty. Similar thinking underpins a push to enlarge Japan’s small presence in the subsector making onboard systems for civil aircraft, where the ...

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