6 RAAF Supers to Growlers (Fewer F-35s?)

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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maus92

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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 00:15

Of course we don't know what is included in the $4B reference (likely more than simply the F/A-18E/F WSC,) but in any event 24 Supers will cost less to acquire and operate than 24 F-35As.
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quicksilver

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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 01:43

maus92 wrote:Of course we don't know what is included in the $4B reference (likely more than simply the F/A-18E/F WSC,) but in any event 24 Supers will cost less to acquire and operate than 24 F-35As.


Really? Show us the numbers.
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weasel1962

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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 02:27

Acquisition cost may be lower but operating cost is unlikely to be. 2 seater vs 1 = half the crew cost. The maintainer numbers per F-35 numbers are touted to be lower than legacy aircraft. 2 engines vs 1 = more servicing cost. Fuel cost will depend on specific consumption but newer engines tend to be more fuel efficient esp if clueless observers think the F-35s fly slower than F-18s. Higher internal fuel loads = less support cost eg tanker flights.

Per canada numbers, acquisition cost = C$9b but operating cost over 30-40 years = C$36b or 4 times acquisition cost. Using the same matrix, how would Hornet operating costs be lower except if one makes unrealistic assumptions like no bonus or pay increments for Hornet pilots ever, no servicing required, no munitions purchased etc. Current legacy aircraft operating cost is lower only because pay is lower 10 years ago compared to 10 years later.
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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 05:04

SpudmanWP wrote:That's 166mil each.... which is more than a WSC FY2014 F-35A. Why do they keep dragging their feet on pulling the trigger on the F-35?

Just commit already :(

Geesh.


Spud -

$4Bn would include MORE than the WSC for 24 Supers and you know it.

Average Unit WSC for say FY14-FY15 buys (not including initial spares at around $2m each jet) would probably be around $82-$86m per F-18E/F.

Compare that to a retrofitted FY14 F-35A WSC cost. (post-redesign fixes).

Unknown, would be if this prudent capability gap-fill acquisition decision would include a mix of F-18E and F variants? They've got 24 F variants so perhaps some E variants would suffice to replace some of the retiring C Hornets?
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 15:09

I know.. just venting frustration at indecision.

That and with every non-F-35 they buy, the price to purchase, maintain, & upgrade what F-35s they do buy goes up.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 16:12

geogen wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:That's 166mil each.... which is more than a WSC FY2014 F-35A. Why do they keep dragging their feet on pulling the trigger on the F-35?

Just commit already :(

Geesh.


Spud -

$4Bn would include MORE than the WSC for 24 Supers and you know it.

Average Unit WSC for say FY14-FY15 buys (not including initial spares at around $2m each jet) would probably be around $82-$86m per F-18E/F.

Compare that to a retrofitted FY14 F-35A WSC cost. (post-redesign fixes).

Unknown, would be if this prudent capability gap-fill acquisition decision would include a mix of F-18E and F variants? They've got 24 F variants so perhaps some E variants would suffice to replace some of the retiring C Hornets?


The article says:

"The government is also expected to soon announce that it will spend at least $4 billion on another 24 Boeing Super Hornet jet fighters from the US Navy to prevent any air power capability gaps."

Does that mean they are "used" or "previously owned"?
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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 20:21

No. It is just that they would be an FMS deal and thus theoretically are acquired via the USN.
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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 05:52

Half-inch crack blamed for F-35 fighter jet grounding: sources By Andrea Shalal-Esa | Reuters 23 Feb 2013

http://news.yahoo.com/half-inch-crack-b ... nance.html

"...It was the second engine-related grounding of the $396 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in two months, and came on the eve of a big air show in Australia, which is considering reducing its planned purchase of 100 F-35 jets.

The Pentagon's top F-35 official and executives from prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp are attending the air show in hopes of convincing Australia that the F-35 program is on track after three restructurings, and Australia does not need to buy 24 more Boeing Co F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Australia is expected to make a decision within the next three to six weeks, said a fourth source familiar with the matter.
The program is also bracing for reductions in U.S. orders if Congress fails to avert across-the-board cuts due to take effect on March 1...."

Crack info reported elsewhere where there is crack info.
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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 15:23

geogen wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:That's 166mil each.... which is more than a WSC FY2014 F-35A. Why do they keep dragging their feet on pulling the trigger on the F-35?

Just commit already :(

Geesh.


Spud -

$4Bn would include MORE than the WSC for 24 Supers and you know it.

Average Unit WSC for say FY14-FY15 buys (not including initial spares at around $2m each jet) would probably be around $82-$86m per F-18E/F...


Hmmm...makes one wonder what happened to those ~50M E/F URFs that everyone wants to quote from the P-1 sheets in the budget, doesn't it? :wink:

Geo, notably in support of your number -- during 2012 the Naval Safety Center estimated the cost of an aircraft loss for F-18F at $84.7M.
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maus92

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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 16:49

quicksilver wrote:
geogen wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:That's 166mil each.... which is more than a WSC FY2014 F-35A. Why do they keep dragging their feet on pulling the trigger on the F-35?

Just commit already :(

Geesh.


Spud -

$4Bn would include MORE than the WSC for 24 Supers and you know it.

Average Unit WSC for say FY14-FY15 buys (not including initial spares at around $2m each jet) would probably be around $82-$86m per F-18E/F...


Hmmm...makes one wonder what happened to those ~50M E/F URFs that everyone wants to quote from the P-1 sheets in the budget, doesn't it? :wink:

Geo, notably in support of your number -- during 2012 the Naval Safety Center estimated the cost of an aircraft loss for F-18F at $84.7M.


Apples to apples.... URF to URF, WSC to WSC. The equation still works out to the same result.
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quicksilver

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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 17:08

Sure does. $166M a pop for 24 E/Fs which is more than F-35A in the budget years Oz wants to buy jets.
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quicksilver

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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 18:34

The point is, if we accept the idea (spin) that E/F URF is ~50M, that means the 'additional' costs (call em what you want) are another ~200% of the URF for a type that they already have in operational service (and has been in MYP for the US customer...a heck of a deal for Oz, eh?).

By comparison, if we accept a ~90M URF for F-35A in 2015, 'additional' costs are roughly anothr 46% of the URF -- for a new jet just being introduced into service where those kinds of costs are typically higher. Go to 2017 and F-35A drops by ~11M/jet but the 'additional' costs remain constant as a percentage of URF. By 2019, F-35A URF decreases another 8M per jet but the 'additional' costs are only another 24% of the URF. And these numbers don't consider the URF reductions that come with the international buys that ramp up during that period. (see SAR 2011)

So, are E/F support costs an additional 200% on top of procurement or is the real E/F URF being significantly understated? Take your pick.
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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 19:20

maus92 wrote:Of course we don't know what is included in the $4B reference (likely more than simply the F/A-18E/F WSC,) but in any event 24 Supers will cost less to acquire and operate than 24 F-35As.

Probably a few new hangars, expanded maintenance facilities, etc. at the F/A-18 facilities like RAAF Williamstown and RAAF Tindall bases.

The $84m figure cited by the Navy Safety Center involves extra equipment like pods, tanks, GFE black-box equipment upgrades etc.

I suspect the RAAF WSUC is going to be $90m-$100m, not including things like hangars, full mission simulators, long-term support contracts etc.
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neurotech

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Unread post24 Feb 2013, 20:08

quicksilver wrote:The point is, if we accept the idea (spin) that E/F URF is ~50M, that means the 'additional' costs (call em what you want) are another ~200% of the URF for a type that they already have in operational service (and has been in MYP for the US customer...a heck of a deal for Oz, eh?).

By comparison, if we accept a ~90M URF for F-35A in 2015, 'additional' costs are roughly anothr 46% of the URF -- for a new jet just being introduced into service where those kinds of costs are typically higher. Go to 2017 and F-35A drops by ~11M/jet but the 'additional' costs remain constant as a percentage of URF. By 2019, F-35A URF decreases another 8M per jet but the 'additional' costs are only another 24% of the URF. And these numbers don't consider the URF reductions that come with the international buys that ramp up during that period. (see SAR 2011)

So, are E/F support costs an additional 200% on top of procurement or is the real E/F URF being significantly understated? Take your pick.


The $50m Unit Reoccurring Cost is the cost of the materials + labor for one aircraft, as per a Boeing Offer for an Extended MYP purchase to the US Navy.
e.g If the DoD/USN buy between 48 and 60 jets combined (Navy SH, Navy G, RAAF FMS) we'll be able to reduce costs to $Y dollars.

One possibility is the USN allow the RAAF to buy the jets already in MYP, in order to accommodate the current Sequestration SNAFU, without penalty or cost to the DoD.

As for the F-35A $90m UFC, I still think that is doable, but the future WSUC is always distorted depending on what side of the debate you're on. F-22 program is a classic example of the cost of planned spiral upgrades, making the jets seem insanely expensive on paper ($350m+ each) when in reality, each aircraft still cost ~ $200m UFC, and increase of ~40% not quadrupled like some people claim.

In FMS purchases, its a total package, which is not always proportional to the cost of the jet itself. If the RAAF want 50 AN/ASQ-228s and 500 AGM-74 SLAM-ER missiles and 2000 JDAMs for Australia's defense, then so be it, but Congressional approval is needed, via the FMS package orders. Remember that FMS packages are not binding orders, and they often put things like "up to 2000 JDAMs" but then reduce the numbers in the actual sale.
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Conan

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Unread post25 Feb 2013, 01:37

neurotech wrote:
quicksilver wrote:The point is, if we accept the idea (spin) that E/F URF is ~50M, that means the 'additional' costs (call em what you want) are another ~200% of the URF for a type that they already have in operational service (and has been in MYP for the US customer...a heck of a deal for Oz, eh?).

By comparison, if we accept a ~90M URF for F-35A in 2015, 'additional' costs are roughly anothr 46% of the URF -- for a new jet just being introduced into service where those kinds of costs are typically higher. Go to 2017 and F-35A drops by ~11M/jet but the 'additional' costs remain constant as a percentage of URF. By 2019, F-35A URF decreases another 8M per jet but the 'additional' costs are only another 24% of the URF. And these numbers don't consider the URF reductions that come with the international buys that ramp up during that period. (see SAR 2011)

So, are E/F support costs an additional 200% on top of procurement or is the real E/F URF being significantly understated? Take your pick.


The $50m Unit Reoccurring Cost is the cost of the materials + labor for one aircraft, as per a Boeing Offer for an Extended MYP purchase to the US Navy.
e.g If the DoD/USN buy between 48 and 60 jets combined (Navy SH, Navy G, RAAF FMS) we'll be able to reduce costs to $Y dollars.

One possibility is the USN allow the RAAF to buy the jets already in MYP, in order to accommodate the current Sequestration SNAFU, without penalty or cost to the DoD.

As for the F-35A $90m UFC, I still think that is doable, but the future WSUC is always distorted depending on what side of the debate you're on. F-22 program is a classic example of the cost of planned spiral upgrades, making the jets seem insanely expensive on paper ($350m+ each) when in reality, each aircraft still cost ~ $200m UFC, and increase of ~40% not quadrupled like some people claim.

In FMS purchases, its a total package, which is not always proportional to the cost of the jet itself. If the RAAF want 50 AN/ASQ-228s and 500 AGM-74 SLAM-ER missiles and 2000 JDAMs for Australia's defense, then so be it, but Congressional approval is needed, via the FMS package orders. Remember that FMS packages are not binding orders, and they often put things like "up to 2000 JDAMs" but then reduce the numbers in the actual sale.


It works the other way too. When you open up FMS cases for things like JDAM etc, you can make additional purchases down the track within that same "case."

It's why you often see DSCA announcements for things like 17x AGM-65 Maverick missiles for country X. That Country to maintain a reasonable inventory is going to need more than 17x missiles and FMS allows them to purchase more, without having to announce it every time or open a new case each time.

Countries are understandably sensitive about their warstocks, this system provides a degree of uncertainty over how many weapons are in an inventory. The price included in the DSCA announcement may or may not cover extra purchases, that aren't necessarily announced in that notice...
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