F-35 is a good deal judging by cost-per-effect: think tank

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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marauder2048

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Unread post12 Jul 2020, 00:48

Gums wrote:Salute!

Thank you Luke

Maybe we can get the McCain/McSally folks and some old farts in Congress to look at the big picture.

I do not relish putting all our hopes in a few, highly capable platforms without a mix of low-end, high quantity ones. But $$$ are $$$ and then there's the threat and what is needed to meet the threat.

Gums sends...


Is the record of low-end, high quantity aircraft all that compelling?

The A-4 losses in Vietnam and 1973 were horrific. Which is why I always found McCain's positions on these matters curious.

The cost gap between the F-35 and the other fighters still in production is small or non-existent or in the F-35's favor.
And the O&S gap is positive and trending in the direction you would expect from the bath-tub curve.

Until you get to say, armed T-7's I don't think you'll find a cheap enough argument.
And those would likely never get through modern LFT&E.
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Gums

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Unread post12 Jul 2020, 14:30

Salute!

@ marauder

The F-15/F-16 hi-lo concept worked out really well, especially once folks realized how good the Viper was A2A WVR.

The Eagle mafia got real scared as the AIM-9L showed it would work, giving us a face shot. They were able to keep Sparrows off the Viper, but couldn't do much about the Slammer, as we had the muxbus plus great computer and they didn't. And Slammer didn't need the RF gizmo that Sparrow required. So $$$$$ for the Eagle upgrade, and they just had to grit their teeth. The mod for the Sparrow on the Viper was cheap, but the Eagle folks kept telling everybody that we didn't have a BVR capability. We were a very clear threat.

The Warthog was supposed to be a low end platform, but USAF had to give away the high end Sluf to get it, so it wound up all by itself until the Viper came along to help with CAS and BAI. The 'vaark was useless on the high end and so was the Double Ugly for really close work.
The A-37 was a really good low end plane for the situation at the time, but by the end of 1972 and with the more deadly AAA and MANPAD employment by the Vee, it would not have lasted much longer.
=====================
I am not a big fan of the hi-lo procurement, but if that's one way to get what we need, then I can unnerstan the concept and $$$$.

Gums sends...
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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lbk000

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Unread post12 Jul 2020, 19:18

The intersection of of cost and effectiveness, just like the region of optimum performance in a dogfight, lies in a grey zone that the superlatives found on stat sheets ignore.
Subsequently, the 'Low' side of High-Low turns out to be not quite the same low that Sprey-ites keep pushing. If you want to kill effectively, you must meet critical thresholds in survivability (ya ain't landing a hit if yer dead) and damage application (ya ain't getting a kill if ya can't land a hit) through training and technology. Otherwise, you won't have any marginal benefits to multiply through numbers with.

So how do you overwhelm the enemy if "the magic is merely in the middle?" Does it imply mediocrity wins? Absolutely not. The way I've arrived at understanding military advancements is thus:

Better is not the concept of "more", better is the concept of "just right". Improving on better gives you "more better": a "just right" quantity of "just right". Arriving at this optimum initially involves numbers going up, but it doesn't mean it goes up forever. To recognize and then fixate upon that initial increase as a pattern to follow indefinitely is to fall victim to simple memery.

This means that the correct way to improve upon military capability is not a linear progression but an exponential one; an "optimum of optimums" is an increase in dimensionality:

jrl.png
optimums all the way down... or up?

This is why it's not a crime that the F-35's aerodynamics only settles for small marginal improvements over 4th-Gen designs; this is why it's fallacious to even use aerodynamics as a focal point for evaluating the F-35's value, because sensor warfare, which manifests as sensors, fusion, and stealth, has elevated all that which comes before it: speed, range, maneuver, etc. Sensors, not maneuver, are the new driving exponent around which valuation dialogue must revolve around, because it is the dimension least technologically saturated, with the greatest growth and gains.

If you can't even play the sensor game, you're an entire magnitude short, and so you are as irrelevant and worthless as a sword is to a gun; even a single cent spent would be a waste.
But that right there is the hard bottom line that Sprey-ites and other ignoramuses think they can cheat.
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Unread post16 Jul 2020, 21:15

Please allow me to clarify a few points on the thread topic:

The OP article of this thread supposes to examine why the F-35 is a “good deal” judging by a cost-per-effect (CPE) measure. But while CPE might serve as a useful indicator of efficiency, it is useless as an indicator of value, as quicksilver astutely points out, and therefore, tells us nothing about whether or not the F-35 is actually a good deal. Undoubtedly, efficiency has value, but how efficiency creates how much value is another question that CPE cannot answer.

I will concede, however, that CPE surely is a valid indicator of relative efficiency, unlike its predecessor, CPFH. Over many years I’ve searched high and low for CPFH’s informative value to us, but that’s been a fruitless endeavor because it offers no value either as an indicator of value or one of efficiency. I’ll never understand the mindless fixation with this utterly useless metric among the media, the public, and especially among those who should know better within the defense establishment. Anyone who has questions about this can ask me, and I’ll explain in further detail.

I’m hopeful that CPE will dominate discussions in the future as a dramatic improvement in helping us understand the relative efficiencies of various platforms. My concerns have to do with exactly how an “effect” might properly be defined, quantified, and then communicated to the public in a way that effectively advances our understanding. The public’s reaction might well be to ask, “What the hell is an effect?” (Shrugs everywhere)
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Unread post16 Jul 2020, 21:21

USMilFan wrote:Please allow me to clarify a few points on the thread topic:

The OP article of this thread supposes to examine why the F-35 is a “good deal” judging by a cost-per-effect (CPE) measure. But while CPE might serve as a useful indicator of efficiency, it is useless as an indicator of value, as quicksilver astutely points out, and therefore, tells us nothing about whether or not the F-35 is actually a good deal. Undoubtedly, efficiency has value, but how efficiency creates how much value is another question that CPE cannot answer.

I will concede, however, that CPE surely is a valid indicator of relative efficiency, unlike its predecessor, CPFH. Over many years I’ve searched high and low for CPFH’s informative value to us, but that’s been a fruitless endeavor because it offers no value either as an indicator of value or one of efficiency. I’ll never understand the mindless fixation with this utterly useless metric among the media, the public, and especially among those who should know better within the defense establishment. Anyone who has questions about this can ask me, and I’ll explain in further detail.

I’m hopeful that CPE will dominate discussions in the future as a dramatic improvement in helping us understand the relative efficiencies of various platforms. My concerns have to do with exactly how an “effect” might properly be defined, quantified, and then communicated to the public in a way that effectively advances our understanding. The public’s reaction might well be to ask, “What the hell is an effect?” (Shrugs everywhere)



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Unread post16 Jul 2020, 21:27

jessmo112 wrote:I wish someone would give the USN the memo.
Stealth has been around for 30+years and they still dont get it. Why does it matter if a F-35C costs 120mill
If you need. 3 or more F-18s to do the same job?!
The situation is compounded on a carrier since you can only embark so many planes.


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quicksilver

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Unread post16 Jul 2020, 21:41

"My concerns have to do with exactly how an “effect” might properly be defined, quantified, and then communicated...in a way that effectively advances our understanding."

Include in "defining" etc the point at which we start quantifying the cost of said effect; iow, where is the dividing line between the cost incurred to maintain a capability absent its participation in combat and the cost to produce an effect when the actual shooting starts. How much of "develop, procure, field, train, operate, maintain" gets included in the cost of producing a given effect?
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Unread post16 Jul 2020, 21:46

XanderCrews wrote:
jessmo112 wrote:I wish someone would give the USN the memo.
Stealth has been around for 30+years and they still dont get it. Why does it matter if a F-35C costs 120mill
If you need. 3 or more F-18s to do the same job?!
The situation is compounded on a carrier since you can only embark so many planes.


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Be nice, man


Tribal inertias are very powerful in Naval Aviation.
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marauder2048

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Unread post16 Jul 2020, 22:09

I am not a big fan of the hi-lo procurement, but if that's one way to get what we need, then I can unnerstan the concept and $$$$.


The problem for the hi-low F-15/F-16 or F-14/F-18 mix is that the big gap in acquisition
cost that was claimed really never was.

There was a large gap in O&S particularly between the F-15 and F-16 but so much of that is just
dual engine vs single engine and was it obvious and comparable because they (more or less) had the
same propulsion system.

Capability is a harder metric since the Air Force (seems to have) dropped capability metrics after the teen series.
There was a great talk by Lockheed's senior fighter cost estimator on this matter.


https://youtu.be/zi3eYBYlR5A
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Why has the Cost of Fixed-Wing Aircraft Risen?
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Unread post17 Jul 2020, 00:59

Greetings to you, XanderCrews. It's been too long since we had our last dialogue. Hope all is well with you. Can you please be more specific with how I might help you? Thanks.
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Unread post17 Jul 2020, 01:28

spazsinbad wrote:'Steven of much wondrousness' several authenticated current serving fighter pilots have made it clear recently (over the last few years at least) that 'dogfighting per se' with missiles of today and with various helmet aiming devices is mutual suicide. The F-35 has the best combination of ALL OF THE ABOVE plus the situational awareness of bogies nearby. Just sneak up unseen in your F-35 and blast at the optimum range and say bye-bye or whatever. There are quotes out there.


Not to mention tedious know-it-all engineer-bloggers with posts (https://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/20 ... ility.html) noting same with references to voluminous source data such as that from Skow, Hamilton and Taylor (1985). They observed:
“In the late 1940's and early 1950’s, with the advent of jet propulsion, radical new wing designs and greatly expanded flight envelopes, a corresponding need for more definitive measures of merit for aircraft performance comparisons was generated. When the "century series" fighters were developed and rear-aspect IR missiles became the principal air-to-air combat weapon, point performance comparisons were found to be inconclusive and insufficient to predict superiority. Out of this need, energy-maneuverability (E-M) concepts were formulated and developed. In the 1960's. E-M came into widespread use by aircraft designers and fighter pilots. E-M provided an analog picture of a fighter's performance capabilities over a range of velocities and altitudes. It gave quantifiable credit to measures of merit which allowed the advantages of speed (energy) and turning (maneuverability) to be balanced. These measures of merit were shown to be dominant in determining the outcome of an air battle at that time.
...
But, as they say, time marches on, and in the past 10-12 years, several significant advancements have been made in the capabilities of fighter aircraft and air-to-air weapons. Three of these advancements; the all-aspect IR missile, greatly improved weapons delivery systems, and high thrust-to-weight engines have dramatically altered the character of the air battle, especially the close-in fight. The modern air battle is characterized by (1) time compression – shorter duration maneuvering required and (2) harder maneuvering - nose position at the expense of energy vs. nose position with energy conservation…

Air combat trends have expanded to ever increasing altitudes and speeds for beyond visual range (BVR) combat and conversely have tended to a lower and sometimes slower arena for close-in, within visual range (WVR) combat. … …This changing complexion of air combat, primarily due to the all-aspect IR missile, has altered the relative significance of the various performance characteristics with which we judge relative merit. Table 3 depicts the more common agility characteristics with some relative rankings.”

new-ranking.jpg

Table 3 Reconstruction from “Advanced Fighter Agility Metrics”


C.R. Anderegg in "Sierra Hotel" was far more readable, with no math involved. (https://media.defense.gov/2010/Sep/29/2 ... 29-043.pdf) though. ON page 163:
...Ultimately, the Eagle pilots could not be denied. They started walking into briefing rooms and telling their adversaries, If you come straight down the snot locker today, I will shoot two Sparrows at you and call you dead. If I am out of Sparrows, I will rip your lips off with a Lima before you can get to the merge.Questions?”

In response, adversaries studied the lessons learned by AIMVAL-ACEVAL pilots on how to survive in an all-aspect missile environment. As the reliability of the missiles improved, the culture of long-range missiles slowly spread throughout the fighter force. Of course, clever pilots developed ways to defeat some of the long-range shots, but as they devised one counter, the F–15s developed new techniques based on the lessons of formation discipline, radio discipline, radar
discipline, and shot discipline learned in the weapons schools and at ACEVAL-AIMVAL. The cycle of counter vs. counter vs. counter continued, but the fight did not start at 1,000 feet range as in the days of “40-second Boyd.”

The struggle was starting while the adversaries were thirty miles apart, and the F–15 pilots were seriously intent on killing every adversary pre-merge.If you come straight down the snot locker today, I will shoot two Sparrows at you and call you dead. If I am out of Sparrows, I will rip your lips off with a Lima before you can get to the merge. Questions?”


"All-aspect" and HOBS changed everything.
--The ultimate weapon is the mind of man.
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ricnunes

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Unread post17 Jul 2020, 14:57

smsgtmac wrote:
"All-aspect" and HOBS changed everything.


Ditto!

And Stealth seems to be one of the best ways to deny or minimize enemy "All-aspect" missiles and HOBS.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post17 Jul 2020, 16:05

I will concede, however, that CPE surely is a valid indicator of relative efficiency, unlike its predecessor, CPFH. Over many years I’ve searched high and low for CPFH’s informative value to us, but that’s been a fruitless endeavor because it offers no value either as an indicator of value or one of efficiency. I’ll never understand the mindless fixation with this utterly useless metric among the media, the public, and especially among those who should know better within the defense establishment. Anyone who has questions about this can ask me, and I’ll explain in further detail.

I’m hopeful that CPE will dominate discussions in the future as a dramatic improvement in helping us understand the relative efficiencies of various platforms. My concerns have to do with exactly how an “effect” might properly be defined, quantified, and then communicated to the public in a way that effectively advances our understanding. The public’s reaction might well be to ask, “What the hell is an effect?” (Shrugs everywhere)



USMilFan wrote:Greetings to you, XanderCrews. It's been too long since we had our last dialogue. Hope all is well with you. Can you please be more specific with how I might help you? Thanks.



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Unread post17 Jul 2020, 16:18

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Unread post17 Jul 2020, 19:42

quicksilver wrote:We’ve been here before...

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1178.html


What was revealing in this and the related studies was how much O&S costs had increased
for the F-16 antecedent used in CAPE's estimates for the F-35. A good chunk of which
was down to increased personnel* costs based on speciality.

So it's funny that even with the Air Force itself it's hard to make comparisons let alone across
DOD or internationally.

* No one wants to talk about this but the all-volunteer force does come at a cost which is the cost.
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