JSF Price Tag Now $112 Million Per Plane; Program $382 Billion

JSF Price Tag Now $112 Million Per Plane; Program $382 Billion

The price tag of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the military’s largest weapons program, has jumped once again and is now projected to cost $382 billion, 65 percent higher than the original estimate in 2002, according to the Pentagon’s own independent cost analysis group.

The per plane cost, including development and production, now sits at $112 million; nearly 85 percent higher than the original estimate of $62 million for an “inexpensive” replacement for the ageing F-16 fleet

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V-stol kills.

All hail Secretary Gates the Sagacious for having canceled the expensive, “Cold War” F-22 and increased funding for the inexpensive F-35. All hail Secretary Gates!

Kind of ironic that one of the few paths to reducing cost (propulsion competition) Gates is totally against. It just doesn’t make sense.

Good Evening Folks,

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that we were told the price was frozen, no more surprises on the F-35. The program was on track and planes would be coming off the line in 2016.

Byron Skinner

Since our leaders have declared that we will not have to engage in any first-world to first-world conflicts, and don’t need the F-22, etc., etc., etc., then why do we need the F-35 — - or any other modern weapon system? Can’t we just empty the Tucson boneyard and break out the cosmolined “Sally Springfield” rifles for replacements? F-4s, F-100s, diesel submarines and coal-burning surface vessels should be sufficient to counter the unwashed and uneducated insurgents around the globe.

Anyone wanna guess what’s gonna happen next? They will cut the numbers.…well heck..that don’t work either!! CANCEL THE PROGRAM!! Let’s rebid…have a new competition.…between the same 2 vendors again, because that is all we have left in this country. Wanna bet after awarding the contract multiple times (and cancelling..and rebidding..ect), that the next-next gen warplane will be in the same boat? Over time and over budget.

What a suprise!!
And again the project limbs on.

Maybe its time to quit the multipurpose things and get specialized aircraft again, its a valid option to work out the details.

Since anything you have spent to date is sunk, the only thing that really matters is what it will cost from today. Of note, since the Pentagon is negotiating a price for the next batch of LRIP aircraft that is 20% lower than their own stated estimates, who knows what the real cost will be? I would be more interested to see what the unit cost is at this point, then you have something to compare against an F-22.

The Ponzi scheme is being uncovered for what it is.

It doesn’t really say anything other than a pentagon independent assessment was done. We don’t know what assumptions were made about pricing of various components and what they are basing the assumptions on.
The US Navy “Fighter Gap” is based upon the assumption that we will be in two regional conflicts in those years;
which means if we pull out of Iraq, it changes again. The costs of R&D are not normally included in the recurring unit costs and we don’t know if the pentagon lumped R&D into the assessment. This article doesn’t have any point of reference?

This is quite predictable, sigh. Look for the other shoe to drop — as delivery is delayed and specs are not met. We need a lower tech aircraft to do the job while we wait for the wrinkles to be ironed out on the new ones. Maybe the F-15E?
The problem here is that the aircraft has expensive technology — stealth, vectored thrust, etc. And it has lots of new software (always a LONG pole in any tent). So this will take a long time to get it to all work.

Just kill JSF F-35 plan altogether. Its very expensive and not cost effective. The international countries production involvement were making this jets expensive because of imported raw materials and imported services. What we need from them are just technologies not imported raw materials. We already seen the plan layout and we need to have an american mack 6 jets of our own. Two of JSF jets design may have mack 6 capabilities. But we already know the concept. So why not make it all american materials and components? Start with the drawing board, use light body skeleton like what we used in F117A Nighthawk, improved/ modified JSF engine design layout concept and new aerodinamic design from combine Boeng and Lockheed Martin design concept

They should have just built new F-15s with completely updated avionics, smooth out some of the edges. Idiots.

Now, lets see. My students asked me the following question about this —

“Miss, isn’t $382 billion divided by 2,443 (the number of aircraft) more like $156.4 million for each aircraft rather than the $112 million stated in the media?”

Gotta love what comes out of the mouths of children (and basic arithmetic).

It’s not to late to back out of the current disastrous acquisition programs. F-15 is still in production for Korea, Singapore, & Saudi Arabia, and Boeing is proposing a variant called Silent Eagle, and F-16s are in production for Egypt.

You are correct. The more we are suckered into trying to salvage sunk costs the digger of a hole we dig for ourselves. Replacing old airframes is a real problem, and there are real, lower risk solutions to that problem. When a system is not correctly engineered from concept, it is doomed to failure — a death march. Kind of like buliding a house on sand.… Govt needs to define requirements, recompete acquisitions, use firm fixed price contracting, then help the contractors get the job done, not keep on interfering, changing requirements, leading to failed programs. Unfortunately this kind of thinking — to efficiently use taxpayers money, and build real defense capability, is not conducive to the careerism of our corrupt leadership.

I guess the REAL question is, what is the cost WITHOUT the R&D sunk cost? It’s all well and good to calculate all the money wasted over the years, but the only real figure that matters is the flyaway cost per plane without all the accounting math.

if you’re going to argue we buy something else/scrap the program, what is the $/unit without all the modifiers? Then and only then can you justify buying something else.……but then again if you did that the story wouldn’t be quite so sensational.

The $156.4M is probably the Program Acquisition Unit Cost, which is calculated by summing all RDT&E and Procurement costs and dividing by total quantity. The $112M in the original story probably incorrectly states that it includes development. The $112M is probably the Recurring Production Unit Costs (no RDT&E — no other Procurement elements like Initial Spares & Fielding)..

Looked up the Pentagon estimates. Looks like the F-35 will be approx. $89.5M flyaway.….so let’s call it $92M.
So the difference between the stop gap F/A-18 E/F 70’s jet that can’t fly far or carry much and the plane of the future is ~$30M. So what’s the story again?

When will this insanity stop?

Glad we killed the “unaffordable” F-22. Oh boy 308 mistake jets to sit on hangers and in depots.

The $200B program is now at $382 and climbing.

Gates/LM/JPO, you got some ’splainin’ to do…

On the computations, look at the December 2009 Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) to get the earlier numbers of $328B for 2,457 U.S. aircraft. With a revised amount of $382B, which includes R&D and military construction, to get to a $112.4M unit cost requires adding in the foreign buys of at least 942 aircraft. $382B divided by the U.S. only buy of 2,457 aircraft computes at $115M per aircraft. $382B divided by 3,399 aircraft = $112.4M.

I meant $155M per U.S. only aircraft. Not $115M. My mistake.

It’s unfortunate that the JSF is in this position. However, like many of you pointed out, we have billions in sunk cost and to cancel now would not really benefit any of us tax payers. The critical step to be taken now it to look at how we can reduce costs going forward. Like TRG stated above, one method to reduce cost is the alternate engine which projects a 1B savings in the next five years and 20B over the 30yr life of the F35. This is not small change and I don’t see any better ideas being proposed that actually do provide some cost savings to the tax payer. It was the USG’s own GAO report that projected savings with the alternate engine and keeping competition going forward. What other sub-systems can be competed that would have cost benefits???????????

Sunk Cost Fallacy… it’s like a gambler caught bluffing who is too proud to lay down his hand, going all in on a losing bet. Of course DoD is willing to recklessly gamble with taxpayer $$, they didn’t generate the capital (like a private investor would have to) nor will they be the ones really paying the costs (our kids will). The promises of cost benefits are so far out in the future, anyone who is estimating these promises with precision is either ignorant or dishonest. If the GAO report that DoD entered into JSF production before adequate testing is done, then the F-35 program truly is fatally flawed. There are always less risky alternatives to accomplishing national security objectives, which is what DoD is supposed to be about.

foreign country close first this program and USA will buy it alone

Overlapping development with production is called concurrency. It’s a risk DoD takes in all its big acquisition programs, as contractors (and DoD program managers) make the case that they don’t need to lay people off who built the R&D units for testing. They can produce some operational units and, if testing shows some problems, backfit those early production units later. There is some validity to the argument when the technical risks are low. But it is a major cost issue when technical and testing issues are understated. Personally, I’m a “fly-before-you-buy” advocate and am not concerned with contractor employment goals. I’m concerned with taxpayer goals, which is cost minimization (with a good product outcome, of course).

R&D cost i guess

however that is some major R&D Spending?

The thing I want to see is the price per aircraft MINUS development costs. As in how much will it cost to put the plane together once the production line is running at speed.

Sure sounds like the buying a new car! All cost, little features but I bet plenty of incentives for the unions.

Put an end to the debate of do we really need it or not once and for all, I say pit a couple of NAVY F18’s against some Air Force F35 to keep it as competetive as possible because they both think they are better than the other and dont want to loose to the other, put them in a simulated dog fight and mission intercept to see if the 35 is really that much of an advantage, If the 18’s score a kill then kill the 35 once and for all and find something really better rather than just mildly.

And how many kills is the F-35 supposed to score in this simulation?

It’s time for Gates to admit he made an expensive mistake by going ahead with the F35 and he needs to step down. Those F22’s look beter and better every day. Go F22!

It’s not going to matter in the long-run. F-35 is just a stop-gap until more versatile UAVs are brought online. What people don’t understand are the non-kinetic capabilities the F-22/35 bring to the fight. It’s not your grandad’s pickle dropper anymore. IMHO, I feel any platform (air/navy/groudnd) should be designed with the ability for growth. Build the platform and add the upgrades later w/different money (if you have it). If the qnty or requiements change, then the govt pays (but there shouldn’t be any), if the contractor underbids, then they eat it. Of course, that not saying they won’t just push the costs to other programs. Oh well.

If they are truly superior the 18’s should not get any kills. I’m all for updating and moving foward with better gear, it should just be actualy better and not just new. If the old gear can defeat it then we are not truly gaining anything when we could get more bang for the buck buying more new 18’s, thus far they have proved superior in al war games with other countries. If the 35 is that good then go ahead, if its not then move on, perform the same test with some 22’s and see how they stack up to prove they are worth the cost if the 35 is not, if neither can truly outperform what we have now then the money is better spent elsewhere is all I’m saying.

Everyone forgets we did a major redesign of the aircraft around 2002 for the Marines. I would have given the Marines enough F-35C models to replace about 100 Harriers, focused on the F-35A and –35C models and then begun a program to lose the weight for the F-35B. The redesign cost a couple years and many billions of dollars. As our only real modern fighter Lockheed Martin has no incentive to keep costs down. Personally, I think we should award a winning design and required both LM and Boeing build production lines. Whoever had the better line would be given mroe orders. Just think of what a pickle we will be in if a torado decides to take out our Ft Worth plant!

Also, 20 F-22s a year at about $10 per person (or about $3 billion as year) in the country doesn’t seem so bad anymore. What did we spend that $875 billion stimulus package on anyways?

For 1 hour flight this plane needs 3 hour for maintenance and the maintenace cost per plane is $40,000* 3 = $ 120,000. The country that owns 10 planes could go bankrupt like Greek.

As for the unit costs, the figures cited in article are in Base Year 2002 $‘s.
The Then Year (TY$‘s) average procurement unit cost (APUC which does not include the RDT&E costs) is more like $133.1 million, according to Christine of CAPE&Co and would be the unit cost figure (since this is an average) sometime after 2025. Christine also says this is ‘reasonable’, whatever that means, though not sure if it qualifies for being called ‘affordable’, any more.
Oh, she also says her level of confidence in these figures is approx. 50%. Them’s great odds — NOT!

Frankos: Suggest you might want to check your arithmetic along with your logic.

I believe if there were Robert McNamara awarts for “Astonishingly Idiotic Minsmanagement Blundres in Defense”, Roberts Gates would be a top candidate. I mean, this is no pure luck, he has systematically worked on suppording F-35, be it firing or silencing people that didn´t like it, removing competitive programs from its flightpath (or rather taxipath, seeing where the program is now), and creatively working with numbers, aka “F-35 will cost 77 million USD” and making reformistic statements “USA may not afford not to have this plane”. When is he going to resign? LM may give him one surpluss F-35 (AA-1 they don´t need anyway) as a pension bonus.

If the F-22, Eurofighter, or Rafael had been subject to thesame sort of Independent Cost Analysis they wouldhave been projected at something like $0.5 Billion each.

But it was because of something like the F-22 that this charade was introduced — remember the F-X was supposed to be a $35M aircraft (when F-18’s were selling for $20M) before it turned into the F-22.

There are lies, damned lies and Independent Cost Analysis!

How ’bout a dose of reality? New technology costs money. This from the DoD explaining the increases,

“Other aspects contributed to the breach: the Navy reduced its buy by 409 aircraft. Also, contractor labor, overhead rates and fees have increased significantly. This last is the single-largest contributor to cost growth, officials said. They called this cost growth unacceptable and vowed to drive those costs down.”

You cut the numbers bought you increase the unit cost because R&D is a fixed price. Also when you cut numbers your overhead goes up because much of the required equipment and personel is the same whether you’re building ten aircraft a year or fifty so your overhead costs get distributed amongst fewer airframes. Those of you saying (in essence) “this program is a waste/loser because costs are all over the place and nobody knows what they’re doing” need to pull your heads out and actually try to understand the nature of the issue. To think we can just keep on with F-16s or Hornets is laughable to the point of idiocy. To think “let’s cancel it and start over because that will be cheaper” well, that just defies reality.

sferrin has the right attitude on this one. But we need to tighten up the Lockheed costs. The F-35 is being assembled in that mile-long factory in Ft Worth. The aircraft was designed to use a point-assembly approach. The government really needs to gets its head out of its *** and start banging Lockheed heads together on what us taxpayers are willing to pay. There is lots of excess capacicty we shouldn’t pay for that Lockheed is billing us for. And with that expanded overhead, comes “management” costs on which profits are layered as a percentage of the contract. Wall Street bankers aren’t the only ones ****ing the government.

I’d like sferrin to explain the “nature of the issue.” That would make for interesting reading. Send the first draft to Robert Gates and hurry. Does it include issues like Buffett brought up yesterday about what CEOs of failed companies should take with them into retirement? How much do our retired F-35 PMs make today?

Or is sferrin offering just another worn rationalization for our current procurement “system?” We understand the math and those who suggest that costs are “all over the place” are minimalzing at least. “Grin and bear it” just isn’t working but frankly I don’t see it changing ever until we run out of money and have to do it all over from the ground up should we survive.

Meanwhile in reality ACTUAL COSTS have been, are & continue tracking MUCH closer to 2007/2008 projections and governement negotiators are asking LM to deliver FY2010 F-35s for ~25% BELOW the March 2010 BS estimates.

I have seen the final tally for May yet but as of the end of April, the flight test program was 2 flights AHEAD of schedule.

I agree Gates must step down and all this finger pointing he did and firing Heinz was to cover his butt. Its funny how the F35 went to 92M a copy late last year and Gates said now we have everything under control and the new schedule will keep us on track; Gates said this a few months ago and the JSF jumped up to 112M a copy this week. I wonder if Gates should fire the new JSF Program Director for this 20M increase in three months???

What pfcem said.
Gee. this story is getting passed around Military​.com like the town punchboard. And of course this one omits the little detail that the CAIG is using new rules to estimate, and that the numbers projected by these new rules are just estimates.

So, when the JSF comes in under whatever estimate the Gov’t is making up next week, I’m SURE all the innumerate hand-wringers popping off here will be suitably contrite, fine fellows that they are. (yeah riiiiiight)

The F-35 is “on track” to meeting the projected JET2 report total of one trillion dollars total project costs, which will make it the most expensive military aerospace program in history.

Those two flights ahead of schedule are in stripped down block 0.5 aircraft with basic avionics and no war-fighting capability (no EOTS, DAS, AN/ASQ-23, etc, etc). And to make matters worst, to get the aircraft closer to MTOW, the dry bay fire extinguisher systems had to be removed to reduce weight.

With another 4000+ test flights still to go, does anybody really think that more funding in R&D and production won’t be required to update and fix other issues yet undiscovered?

And with the international partners leaving the program like rats from a sinking ship, what will that do to the cost per aircraft for the US military?

I stand in awe of the level of moronic stupidity that canceled a functioning in production fighter, for a plane with half the performance of the Raptor, and which is going to end up costing the same amount or more.

Bravo! The Peter Principle in action!

I don’t know where you heard this stuff about the fire extinguisher system being removed but I highly doubt that is the case. The weight reduction program for the F-35B also factored into the F-35A and F-35C variants also.

I want something like the F-35 to replace the F-16, AV-8, and possibly the older models of the F/A-18. We cannot afford to screw this up.

The DOT&E report documented the removal of the dry bay system, and other changes that greatly increase the chance of a fire in the test aircraft.

Other issues of concern are the longer then expected take off distances, and higher landing speeds which now will compromise landing gear tire safety when operating in hot climates. These symptoms are classic examples of an aircraft being over its designed MTOW, the plane is overweight again.

I agree with your concerns and the need to replace the aircraft you mentioned. Unfortunately at this point, I don’t know of the F-35 is capable of doing what’s expected of it.

Absolutely agree…runs 180 degrees out of phase with common sense, past experience from the Great Engine War, and Gate’s new acquisition policies which advocate, actually require, competition throughout the Life Cycle. So what is the underlying reason for his insistence on the death of the F136? Worst yet the termination of the program will likely ensure PW will be the sole provider of the next seires of combat propulsion systems for the lost to GE is apt to drive them out of the military combat propulsion business…no wonder PW is fighting so hard to keep them out…they want be able to name their price.

Don’t Need F-35. It’s too risky since DoD has messed up the development. Just keep existing aircraft (F-16) lines open and replace airframes that are end of life. When DoD demonstrates it can estimate correctly and manufacture products within budget maybe we can trust them with big billion $B RDT&E projects. The nature of national security has left the F-35 behind. IEDs, cyber attacks, NBC attacks, oil spills, humanitarian disasters, and an unstable economy are all greater national security threats than whatever the heck F-35 is going to defend us against that we can’t manage by other means.

“The nature of national security has left the F-35 behind. IEDs, cyber attacks, NBC attacks, oil spills, humanitarian disasters, and an unstable economy are all greater national security threats than whatever the heck F-35 is going to defend us against that we can’t manage by other means.”

Heh. That is just TOO classic, Even placing the so-called (and non-DoD) ‘threats’ aside, and getting past the unthinking discounting of the F-35’s missions, this kind of logic is akin to “I don’t have locks on my windows because I have locks on my doors.”

BTW: If you want to start up the F-16 line again so that it could support the kind of volume you’re imagining it would cost a ton. Right now, the production levels for F-15 and F-16s around the world are little more than high-tech cottage industries making boutique goods in comparison. And even of you could revive the lines at an outrageous price, you’d still be just buying expensive targets for the next near-peer competitor(s).

If you don’t run a number of trials you’re betting the farm on a single roll of the dice. Great way to make policy, there.
I assume you are not aware that your scenario has been run, along with more scenarios than you or I could ever have dreamed up, thousands of times using validated (unlike Global Warming) government-owned simulations. Otherwise I would have to assume you would have to be hapless enough to believe the innumerate mob with the pitchforks somehow have a better grasp of National Defense needs than the people who have to place their a** in harms way — and I prefer to believe no one could be THAT stupid.

What he’s talking about was a design change to modify the fire suppression system to reduce coverage in a small area of the plane as part of the scrubbing of the design to reduce overall weight (an exercise I still question the wisdom of). The elimination was done via a careful risk assessment that weighed risk vs. benefit of getting rid of coverage in that area. There was almost certainly more thought that went into such a desicion to take it out that nthere was to put it there in the first place. It happens all the time throughout the life of any airplane design.
The wussy hand-wringing over what it might do to vulnerability in combat is just nay-sayers popping off what they wish were true. There’s a little thing called Live Fire Testing (also of questionable value for a stealth aircraft that will take care of that.

And a teacher more qualified to discuss the topic would have responded “Perhaps there are program costs that are not associated with the actual airplane?” Among other such costs, OGC costs come to mind. A superb an well-prepared teacher would have noted that the program is bing managed to Total Ownership Costs. Therefore, independent of this late-employment of questionable cost estimation methods, there actually will be increases in unit costs to implement changes and improvements to the design: but only if it keeps the TOC the same or lower. A thoroughly qualified teacher would also remind their students that abut 2/3rds of TOC is in O&S costs if the system is operated 25–30 years, and that such investment that impoves the TOC, while increasing unit acquisition cost becomes even more of a bargain when the operating timeframe is extended beyond the traditional 25–30 years into numbers like the now-circulating 60 years operational life.
One wonders how this topic came about in a K-12 class, and shudders to think how ill-prepared are students must be for the real world.

an well-prepared = and well-prepared
bing = being
impoves = improves
are students = our students
60 years = 60 year

Lesson for the Day: One should not type fast when one is PO’d.

You need to read more and expand your understanding of national security beyond enfatuation with gold plated, behind schedule, over budget, shiny toys. The 2010 QDR correctly recognizes a stable economy (which we don’t have) as the foundation for national security, and DoD has been doing MOOTW and humanitarian assistance and homeland defense is why Northern Command was created, and we just created a new Cyber Command to try to prevent an electronic Pearl Harbor. I could try to explain cost estimating, systems engineering, risk, and uncertainty analysis and attempt to reason with you why programs that apply “bait and switch” cost estimating do not deserve to be prolonged. I could expose your hypocrisy by showing that with YOUR OWN money you would not accept bait and switch, but with taxpaery money you don’t care, but none of this matters, because you are too thick. Good luck to you.

I would gladly have taxpayer dollars which includes my money going to new aircraft than bailouts which have done little to stabilize the economy overall. As I have said in the past we can’t just halt all major defense problems and start them back up as you would turn off and on a light.

There is a need for an aircraft that the F-35 promised to be. A capable 5th gen. replacement for the F-16, AV-8, and legacy F/A-18. Perhaps we shouldn’t have tried to base all three around the same airframe, but that doesn’t change the requirements.

Gutting war-fighting assets to focus on humanitarian aid (which the military already does plenty of) is not a sound concept, nor is doing the same when it comes to cyber-warfare. In fact an increased focus on cyber-warfare and electronic warfare means we need dedicated aircraft and other platforms that can exploit an opponents weaknesses in this area.

RE: You need to read more and expand your understanding of national security beyond enfatuation with gold plated, behind schedule, over budget, shiny toys…“
The first joke in that statement is that you think I need to read ‘more’ (broadly or numbers) when by most accounts I should read less (Don’t feel bad they’re wrong as well).
The second joke is that you delude yourself into thinking I don’t understand the nature of National Security. (We ‘well read’ types call that ‘projection’.) FWIW, I view national security as being dependent upon the interrelationship of the six elements of national power. Hey! I should blog about world and national affairs using those elements as the central theme! Oh wait.… I already do– http://​elementsofpower​.blogspot​.com/​s​e​a​r​c​h​/​l​a​b​el/
The only tragedy in your statement is your lack of comprehension as to how the acquisition system works (but we all can’t go to DAU can we?) and your perception that this is all about ‘toys’.

RE: “I could try to explain cost estimating, systems engineering, risk, and uncertainty analysis and attempt to reason with you…“
So, you a System Engineer 1 or 2? (Just asking)
You have no idea how funny I find that statement. I’ll print it out and place it in my I-love-me file, right next to my Best Track Paper award from the 2001 INCOSE Symposium, Oh– and I’ll be sure to send copies to my Caltech SE Profs. But please, do tell me all I need to know, I’ve been getting paid to do that kind of stuff for about thirty years, and I guess I just gotta learn what I’m doing sometime.
BTW: no matter how many times you bark ‘bait and switch’ it still doesn’t make it ‘true’, so as entertaining as it is, StopWastingOther People’$Bandwidth.

forgive me if i’m not impressed by your merit badges. where to begin? OK so your first criticism of my original post was to say that humanitarian assistance, cybersecurity, oil spills, economic instability are “non-DoD” then I show you that they are and reference the top level policy organizations and documents, you don’t respond to that, you make fun of me again, and then you share your blog, where you acknowledge economic security as key to national power. Hmm ok you are a wonderful person to communciate with. You also don’t respond to my charge that you are a hypocrite. With YOUR OWN $$, if someone were to quote you the cost to do a job, and then in the middle they doubled the EAC, you’d be furious, and you’d be certain not to take another RISK on a fool that would put in that situation again. With TAXPAYER $, you are much less careful, since you are willing to spread the RISK of foolish projects to the rest of us.

what about ‘bait and switch’ is not ‘true’ about how most DoD acquisitions work? Just Google “defense cost overruns” and pay attention to the world. I suppose it was a mistake to cancel the A-12 for cost overruns and overall program stupidity right? Of course it was, gotta love that supreme high technology at any cost… And I appreciate the name calling too, that’s a great approach: taking this discussion down to grade school level.

There are several problems with your response. Have some more rope….
Your use of the term ‘bait and switch’ (B&S) indicates a void of weapon systems acquisition knowledge. I suspect you are unaware of the most fundamental of principles and concepts and I doubt there’s enough bandwidth to permit me to divine exactly where your thoughts derail in the matter, but I surmise it begins with thinking of weapon system acquisition as like buying retail. But in any case, your B&S theory is demonstrably false:
from http://​www​.rand​.org/​p​u​b​s​/​m​o​n​o​g​r​a​p​h​s​/​M​G​670
“Total (development plus procurement) cost growth is dominated by [government] decisions, which account for more than two-thirds of the growth. Most decision-related cost growth involves quantity changes (22 percent), requirements growth (13 percent), and schedule changes (9 percent). Cost estimation (10 percent) is the only large contributor in the errors category. Growth due to financial and miscellaneous causes is less than 4 percent of the overall growth.“ Sorry, no B&S to be found.

The sad thing is, your ignorance is self-inflicted: it is an easy thing to actually find out why programs go astray instead of guessing along one’s ideological bent. Rummage around RAND for a while—it has been a hot topic for eons.
The A-12 was a failed program that was stopped for technical reasons. Attributing the program failure to “cost overruns and overall program stupidity” is simplistic to the point of irrelevance. I recommend “The $5 Billion Misunderstanding” by James P. Stevenson. It is as complete a description available as to what happened with the A-12. Although parts are hijacked by the contractor legal team, there’s enough info to read through the smoke. I’d characterize the program as doomed by naiveté by the Navy AND contractors. There’s also an excellent summarization of what happened in RAND’s “Cutting Edge: A Half-Century of U.S. Fighter Aircraft R&D” free online.
Finally: WHAT name calling? Taking umbrage with me asking if you were a SE1 or 2?

We should cancel the F35 and offer our partner countries an export version of the F-22, I am sure they would love F-22s instead anyway. you could still use some of the R&D on making the F-22 better and we could incorperate the upgrades during production on the new F-22s to keep the cost down. The F-22 can do everything an F-35 can do plus it is alot faster and maneuvers way better than an F-35. With 300–400 F-22s and the same of F-15Es there would not be anyone we couldn’t handle. ( did i mention the F-22 has the highest hit percentage with JDAMs in the whole Airforce)

But mr Gates the incompetent strongarm thug that he is , will end up buying about 150 F-35s & 300 or 400 hundred cesnas (because we don’t want our enemies to have an unfair adavantage) and the push the “6th gen” out until 2075 and let someone with a brain in there head to get this countryback to where it should be.

I know simmulators dont do much to provide you for the real world, they are too controld and easy to manipulate. I cant tell you how many times I have seen crews and people get outstanding grades in simulations but fall apart when put to practical use.

my ideological bent is to improve decision making for greater national security in a pragmatic, fiscally responsible way, and to help men & women in the O&M world, please explain what you find so faulty about that. surely you are able to see the connection between “technical reasons” and “cost overruns”? IE, what the B&S-ers do is bait us into believing the technology is feasible and then when the program runs into real trouble expect the taxpayers to bail them out and pay for their cost overruns? And then you agree that the program is “doomed by naivete” — are you able to make the connection between this “overall program stupidity”? how long has DoD been doing this for and how many fail programs do we have to tolerate?

ooh wow you can quote a rand publication. you think that just because the words “bait and switch” do not appear in the report that your case is made? you think that RAND is free to be frank enough in their words that they’d put the words “bait and switch”. let me explain it to you. the Bait and Switch is done by Industry & Program Managers. They don’t plan life cycle properly, they don’t plan system engineering “ilities”, test & O&M properly, they sell gold plated technology that is not Operationally Suitable, and they give us a nice low estimate that they’ve got a great plan to get MS B approval. Then the real problems hit, and instead of admitting they screwed up, they increase requirements & more bells & whistels as a cover up, tell us “the threat has changed”, costs skyrocket, they are forced to cut quantities, and the costs skyrocket even more. In the end, the warfighter and the taxpayer are left with less, more costly systems, and a poorly planned O&M phase.

Question: Who is it that is so smart that they can come up with a suggestion that could win the war of terror and solve Americas financial and energy problems all in 60 days if only the suggestion was followed?

Answer: The person who is stupid enough to write about it in an unencoded message to DODBUZZ where it immiediately disappears, rather than send such a suggestion straight to the President or the Joint Chiefs of Staff so that it could be acted upon with great urgency.

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I saw that.

What? Comment after comment about acquisition costs and then change to talking about the ‘ilities’ effect on O&S (and in turn) TOC costs? That’s B & S!
To summarize: in your noggin it boils down to some imaginary, enduring conspiracy of DoD and Contractors to chase ‘infeasible’ tech at ‘outrageous’ costs ad nauseum? And you find collusion/conspiracy to be a more feasible root cause than accepting the reality that estimates exist when things are not wholly ‘knowable’, and associated risks (and opportunities) are ID’d and tracked, with the mitigation/closure thereof & tracked to the ends of the earth, while regularly briefing same up the chain? And you also can’t accept that even after all that, sometimes ‘s*** still happens’?

Cherry picking the A-12 as a metaphor for all programs is a canard. Naiveté in that program permitted old-fashion effort and good faith to still end in failure. Finally, in the end, the one thing that nails your tautological coffin shut and throws 6’ of dirt on top is that NOWHERE do you deal with the fact that what moves forward in acquisition is ONLY that which holds VALUE to the warfighter. Don’t like the decisions of others? Shocking! PS: I still owe you a reply to your weak-wristed accusation of hypocrisy: It’ll take some care to get under the text limits.

you summarize me wrong, and i’m trying to talk sense with a person who doesn’t find that when jets are promised to cost $50M@ and come out to $100M-$200M that this is not outrageous. you’re hopeless. you are obviously just invested fully in your own project and contractor, and have no ability to think critically and objectively from a defense/national security enterprise wide scale within a fiscally constrained situation.

you are aware of course that warfighters is a nebulous term and that however you may define “warfighters” to be they would not agree on what holds value anyway? modernizing and improving upon current designs (the essence of my position) that hold a lot of VALUE so they have even more VALUE seems pretty logical. ok enough with the nastiness i’m tired of your pseudo intellectualism and inability to understand simple concepts. have a great career and life.

Perhaps the problem resides in yout inability to discern the difference between ‘estimates’ and ‘actuals’. What % of actual cost increases have/will be driven by Congress mucking about with the production rates early on?
BTW: I’m on record as having preferred (when it was still feasible) the AF JSF buy being cut by 1000, F-18E/F production stopped but adding more F-18Gs and plussing up the F-35B (Navy is still learning what stealth means to them), buying ALL the F-22s the AF originally wanted, and acquiring at least 30 more B-2Cs. This would have meant more hardpoints for every mission on fewer airframes. And it would have been all for less projected cost than the current projected force mix. And if we dump the Socialists in office between now and 2012 there won’t be the fiscal constraints you’re now fretting over. Can’t think critically ‚eh? Wow. Another assertion unsupported by fact. Your Hybris is showing.

It helps if you turn down the ‘Emote’ control a bit. If you reread my comment, you will see there are a couple of ways you might have interpreted what I wrote: unfortunately you picked a wrong way (a problem with the medium) . Note my scare quotes around ‘threats’ as well as the parenthetical ‘Non-DoD’. Humanitarian assistance, oil spills, and even economic instability are not DoD ‘threats’. The first is a mission, the second an environmental problem that may pose an Economic (broadest sense) threat, and the third is an Economic threat. The abstract relationship between Elements does not make everything a DoD or even ‘Defense’ threat. I assert you cannot ignore the military threats just because other threats to National Security (again in the broadest sense) exist. I also assert the Defense ‘system’, evolved over time in response to innumerable events (Re: Thomas Sowell’s ‘Vision of the Anointed’) is a far better representation of the balance needed in addressing national security than any one or two of its players, especially political passers-by, who fail to recognize that the evolved system is a product of legions that came before.

Hypocrite? Because I didn’t bother expand on your ignorance on Cost+ contracts? Pffft. But OK, I’ll respond using a personal hypothetical…I want field a new product, iwith new tech, and tech that’s been around but I’m using it a differently. I’ll hire someone with to do what’s never been done. I want & need to field this product. I am willing to invest my treasure to make it happen. I know that since it hasn’t been done before, it might not be doable: MY risk. Since it’s my risk, I pay who I hire X profit above cost. I set milestones where I’ll determine if I want to keep going. I watch the progress. I keep an eye out for changes that may cause cut my losses. The usual snags come along: Some foreseeable & some not. There comes a time where it looks like it MAY cost me more than my estimate. I revisit the $/benefit question. I determine problems can be overcome and it still makes sense ($ still acceptable) to proceed, so I do.
This is also how we buy advanced systems, NOT like your strawman EAC example.

I’m tallking specifically about the Joint Integrated Mission Model in this case, a mission level simulation tool, which as long as you don’t game the sim to defy the laws of physics, is as good a tool to help in decision-making as it gets. There is no simulation that can anticipate all possible scenarios (because people who program it cannot) but it is the best that there is, and infinitely better than gut feel and guessing. As it is, it is an evolved (and evolving) construct that at its core, is something the Gov’t has used to good result over a very long time. Have a good one!

If you really want to drive down unit costs, ramp up production faster to produce the same # of units in less total time. In that ‘mile long’ building, is one of the few places you can set up and feed three final assembly lines at once. get Congress to stop slowrolling the rampup and unit costs plumment .….of course, then you have more concurrency with develoopment and risk if you do it TOO soon. ;-)

Source for numbers please? (So I can understand exactly what the authority and nature are of numbers you are talking about.)

so if you were emperor and we followed your policies, cutting the JSF qty would drive up the unit costs to ??? much greater amount, ie, an even bigger gap between estimate and actual, which i promise you i have a sophisticated view of. by driving up the unit cost AGAIN you will create another NPR/political nightmare for USAF and DoD. Resurrecting F-22 line is another unknown, not too too bad though. But again, more air to air superiority in an area we already have massive overkill in. B-2C may make some sense, but again, another huge unkown. Thank you for taking us on a leap in the dark. There are less risky, less costly, alternatives to national security, leaving more resources for other requirements, many unfunded, in our portfolio of requirements for national security. Plus if you actually think fiscal constraints would disappear in FY2012 if a Republican gets elected, oh yeah, not each Republican candidate would crank up the spigot I’m sure you thought of this already, then you truly are NAIVE.

Heh. If I were Emperor, the TOTAL cost, what matters most, would have been less and US airpower would have been more powerful: A doubly ‘efficient’ approach. Lower total force costs would win any PR war. Note my phrase “when it was still feasible” to describe my force mix, and keep the context: F-22 and B-2C costs in the feasible past tense. At that time the F-22 line was still open, so the costs were whatever LM was selling the next batch for. NG offered the AF 40 more B-2Cs for ~$650M each on a FIRM FIXED PRICE contract as replacements for aging B-52s and/or B-1s. Therefore costs and risks may be seen to have been fairly well understood.
I believe that if ENOUGH leftards get voted out between now and 2012, then we (and the world) will be in significantly better shape. Compare the 70s ‘Malaise’ with the ‘Reagan’ 80s for perspective. Consider the damage yet to be done that can be stopped beforehand. My optimism is based upon historical precedent and belief in the free market. If that’s “naïve”, so be it.

Hmm. If I were emperor I would continue the F-35 program with some modifications, resume F-22A (or improved F-22C) production, and put forth a requirement for a regional fighter-bomber that would fill the role the F-111 once had.

The Navy would get a 5th gen, super-fighter of their own, and a new strategic bomber program would be started and produced in enough numbers to replace the B-52 and B-1 as bomb trucks. In my opinion a new design would be much less costly to maintain and operate than the B-2A.

Regarding the B-2, I think the designation of a new variant would be B-2B. When it comes to the Raptor, F-22B was reserved for a planned two-seater that was cancelled, so it is likely F-22C would be next for any future F-22 upgrade.

The B-2C concept was called ‘C’ because it would have been for ‘Conventional’ missions.
IMAO, regional bombers are of little use to a Superpower that needs to project globally with range and payload to provide sufficient ‘shock’ and then ‘mass’ over time. Mea Culpa– It is my one topic cose to my heart in Aerospace: LRS design methodology was the subject of my Master’s thesis.

When are we going to get eco friendly, quiet jet fighter that can sneak up on varmints and eliminate them silently/

Yes. It certainly makes reading technical jargon more difficult when full of misspellings. Not to mention when using abbreviations without first filling them in. It’s as though the military-industrial cabal would like to leave The People out of the discussion. High money, good retirement. The only socialist system working in these “free” United States.

Want to save money? Cancel it immediately and replace it with nothing.The only aircraft that can touch currently deployed systems are the older systems we have sold to others. All future aircraft are utterly, completely useless if we destroy Western civilization with war, debasement, theft, and spending.

William, why minus development costs? The arms merchants are utterly unique in global business in that they load ALL costs onto their customers, something no entrepreneurial private-sector business could ever get away with.

Exactly! That’s what the Russian are doing with their Mig29’s and Su27

Well golly gee. If time stood still AND the current systems we have would never wear out, then your plan might work. But in this universe, the universe where Pollyannas show up half a year AFTER everyone has left the thread to espouse delusional yet delightfully superficial pap, it just insn’t going to happen. Just what we need: another Brave Sir Robin.

Commercial businesses DO charge for development either directly or indirectly. The product you buy is carrying development costs not only for that product but for products that they spent money on to develop that never made it to market, or were loss-leaders for them. You just don’t usually see the costs. Now look up ‘Monopsony’. Ponder the ramifications of not only having just one Customer with a use for your product, but that Customer wants you to build something that has never been built before based upon your knowledge of something you already have built. The Customer wants, the Customer pays.

Now, please stop adding two cents a half-year after everyone else left. I only came back looking for a quote.

Your point about monopsony is a given and need not be stated. The Customer Wants what The Company Tells Him He Wants.


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