Kallman Worldwide, the organizer of the USA Partner Pavilion, where most of the American exhibitors are to be found, sees the show as creating a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievement of Apollo and showcase how its legacy of focusing the American government-industry partnership on bold goals can take it into the future.

According to Tom Kallman, company president and CEO, and producer of Apollo 50: America’s Invitation to Partnership, “Team USA at the Paris Air Show includes more than 5,000 U.S. men and women in business attire and in uniform whose dedication and professionalism assure continued success of one of America’s most vital export sectors.” More specifically, that’s 276 companies on display; 64 of which are new to the show; 48 of them new to the French market.

To preview what’s on offer this week, Kallman hosted a panel of industry representatives at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, earlier in the month. Among those present were the Honorable Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; the Honorable Ellen Lord, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; Eric Fanning, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA); NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine; and Col. Al Worden, USAF-Ret., Command Module Pilot of Apollo 15.

 “We are the largest exporter of aerospace equipment in the world and we will have a strong contingent of federal government officials attending the Paris Air Show in addition to myself,” explains Secretary Ross. “Today, thanks to the infusion of new blood, new thinking and a youthful category of enthusiastic engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs, the U.S. space industry is being transformed.”

“Paris provides an efficient and effective venue to meet with our NATO allies, international partners and industry leaders,” says Under Secretary Lord. “It represents each of the national defense strategy’s three lines of effort; lethality, strengthening partners and alliances and reform. It is important in that it provides opportunities for substantial dialogue, the sharing of ideas on how to strengthen our transatlantic industrial base and further collaboration amongst key attendees.

“We understand the importance of our allies and their suppliers to our own U.S. industrial base.”

AIA spokesman Fanning adds, “As the voice of American aerospace and defense, AIA takes pride in showing off our industry’s impact. Our role in Paris is largely that [of] a convener. We work closely with senior government officials to make sure that the U.S. delegation has the engagement that it wants with U.S. companies from suppliers to prime contractors during the show.

“We support the service members and host the Department of Defense corral where the U.S. government displays the latest in military aircraft. We host two major receptions to bring together AIA’s members and others to network.

“I’m proud to announce that AIA is releasing the preliminary facts and figures report that shows 2018 was a strong year for our industry. Our industry, including our manufactures, services and the entire supply chain, generated more than 929 billion dollars in economic output, and we saw a positive trade balance of nearly $90 billion. Those numbers are both up over 2017. Our workforce has grown to more than 2.5 million people representing 20% of the nation’s manufacturing workforce, up from 2.4 million the year before.”

Says astronaut Worden, “I’m really looking forward to the Paris Air Show. [It’s] not just a show to go watch flights, to watch acrobatics, to watch new airplanes. [It’s a] place where international cooperation starts and this is where we meet people on a level ground. We talk to them eye to eye and establish a relationship that’s going to do us all well in the future.”

In a message that would not be lost on U.S. aerospace circles today, Worden invoked memories of the crisis of confidence in the space program after the tragic events of 1967. “We had a fire at the Cape in ’67 and everybody thought, ‘Oh man, that could be the end of it. But we had a few meetings and there were enough of us that said, ‘You can’t do that. A guy takes up a brand-new airplane, crashes it and dies. Do they stop building the airplane because of that? No. What they do is they find out what went wrong, they fix it, and then they keep on going.’”