Air Force's F-35A Deploys to Middle East for First Time

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post04 May 2019, 15:36

What do you care?

edpop wrote:The US Air Force conducted an airstrike targeting terrorist organization Islamic State’s assets at Wadi Ashai, Iraq using the F-35A Lightning II aircraft for the first time. The conventional take-off and landing fighter jets, performing the strike in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, used a Joint Direct Attack Munition to conduct the air strike to take out an entrenched Daesh tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains. The strike marked the first combat employment of the F-35A. The F-35A aircraft were recently deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, US, to Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE and joined the Combined Forces Air Component team in the CENTCOM area of operations (AOR) last month.



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usnvo

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Unread post04 May 2019, 20:21

edpop wrote:The US Air Force conducted an airstrike targeting terrorist organization Islamic State’s assets at Wadi Ashai, Iraq using the F-35A Lightning II aircraft for the first time. The conventional take-off and landing fighter jets, performing the strike in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, used a Joint Direct Attack Munition to conduct the air strike to take out an entrenched Daesh tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains. The strike marked the first combat employment of the F-35A. The F-35A aircraft were recently deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, US, to Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE and joined the Combined Forces Air Component team in the CENTCOM area of operations (AOR) last month.


From the title, I take it economics is not your chosen profession. It actually hardly cost anything at all, it fact, it probably saved money. Lets consider.

The plane is already paid for, so it is free. It is called "Sunk Cost". Additionally, since there was no possibility of being shot down,the mission didn't even increase the expected attrition for the airframe.
There is no "Opportunity Cost" because there wasn't something else it could be doing while it was doing this one.
The flight hours are also already paid for as well since the planes are on deployment. They fly missions all the time, most of which never release ordnance. Regardless of whether they dropped ordnance or not, they were going to fly those missions. So marginal cost is zero for flight hours.
There are two possibilities of how the aircraft was tasked.
1. It was launched specifically to attack the target. In this case, if the F-35 wasn't used, a different aircraft would be used, so it is basically a wash. But again, it doesn't raise the total of flight hours for the deployment, just how they are used. Shoot, if they were in the states, they would still be flying as well.
2. The aircraft was already airborne circling around awaiting tasking and it was directed to attack the target. This is the most likely scenario. In that case, it actually saved money since the plane was lighter for the rest of the flight and fuel consumption was less! And, you didn't have to launch another, non-scheduled, cheaper aircraft to do the same thing, so you saved on "Opportunity Cost", that other aircraft could do something else. Additionally, from a training standpoint, one pilot checked off dropping JDAMs so the squadron doesn't have to expend as much ordnance in training to maintain periodicity. Win all the way around!

Bottom line, once the decision to deploy and operate the aircraft in theater was made, dropping a JDAM in a benign environment was pretty much free. OK, there was a marginal cost for the ordnance, but that would be the same for whichever aircraft was used.
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usnvo

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Unread post04 May 2019, 20:25

usnvo wrote:Bottom line, once the decision to deploy and operate the aircraft in theater was made, dropping a JDAM in a benign environment was pretty much free. OK, there was a marginal cost for the ordnance, but that would be the same for whichever aircraft was used.


Oops, I missed one. If the USAF is being smart in how they manage their ordnance, the bomb used was probably near the end of its service life. If that was the case, you actually save more money because you don't have to ship it back to the states to be demil'd after it reaches its shelf-life.
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