Issues of cost and improved metal processes could hold down growth for polymer matrix composites in future military aircraft, said industry consultant Jeff Hendrix of Annandale, Va.
``Composite content has peaked at 20-25 percent,'' Hendrix said in a Jan. 20 briefing on funding for U.S. defense programs.
In awarding contracts, procurers have flipped to emphasize the cost factor instead of performance specification. Previously, performance ruled.
``Composites will still be traded aggressively against metallic structures, but the metallics community has come a long way,'' Hendrix said. ``The high-speed machining of aluminum has made them more competitive than in the past.''