The changeover from placing the most emphasis on manned aircraft to placing it on missiles had, of course, been expected. The military had planned an orderly transition over a period of five to ten years, but budget cuts and Russian successes in missilery forced it to leave missile funds almost intact while making most of the cutbacks in funds for manned aircraft. For instance, the same week that Lockheed Aircraft Corp. received $62,000,000 for development of the Polaris missile at its Missile Division near San Francisco, cutbacks in manned aircraft forced it to discharge 5,000 employees at its Burbank, Calif., plant. The same picture held true for just about every major aircraft company.
Government expenditures for guided missiles increased from $21,000,000 in 1951 to an estimated $1,500,000,000 in 1957 and $2,039,000,000 in 1958. Aircraft expenditures, on the other hand, while still greater than missile funds, have been decreasing steadily since 1954. In the next few years, experts foresee missile spending equaling and perhaps surpassing that for manned aircraft.
- Aviation in 1949: New Airplanes (Firebird Missile) (egrejeen.wordpress.com)