Royal Norwegian AF CPFH for F-35 is $12, 500 USD / hr

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Unread post19 Nov 2021, 01:01

I projected the 2011 F-16C CPFH forward to the present. Then increased that 2021 F-16C CPFH figure by 25% to derive a comparable proportional cost for F-35A, in 2021 dollars (the Norwegian estimate as a guide).


The current USAF $36,500 is only about $1,500 higher than the 2012 forecast bought forward in 2021 dollars, with proportional 25% added.

The ~25% more expensive than an F-16 per flight hour holds fairly well.

But this also shows clearly that the alleged spiral growth in USAF CPFH is almost entirely due to inflation, increasing the number with time, and that it's not due to excessive ballooning in cost, or an unexpected operating cost rise.

It's actually inside an acceptable error level as far as decade-long fighter operating cost projection goes for an entirely new fighter.

There's room to decrease costs still, but if it gets under $34,500 USD per hour, that would be better than the predicted level in 2012, bought forwards. Anything under under ~$35,000 USD per hour would be a bonus on the 2012 projected cost for 250 flight hours per year with F-35A.

So how can the current $36,500 level be any surprise to Adam Smith, or anyone else? It's not excessive, it's roughly what should have been expected, and is in REAL-terms only 4.3% higher than the projected 2012 CPFH figure, bought forwards to 2021.

So the political grandstanding, condemnations and budget theatrics surrounding that tiny 4.3% rise over a mere projection certainly wasn't justified. It's not what a reasonable person would be overly highlighting or using as a rationale to reduce the buy of the F-35 each year. Just the opposite, the F-35A is doing almost as well as it was expected to cost per hour.

Frankly, it's a disgrace this grubby attempt to reduce production level and acquisition numbers occurred.

I think what the Norwegian number shows is that the price of operation can drop a lot more than the ~$35,000/hr in 2021 dollars once the fleet numbers stabilize in the mid-2030s.

However, given the need for permanent evolutionary upgrades of this jet's capabilities, there is going to be a lot more upgrade cost involved, than with an F-16C. But even that seems to have been factored in early within the 2012 projection estimate, for instance:


So in 2012 a bit over three times as much CPFH cost was to be allocated to ongoing system upgrades, compared to the more static F-16C fleet operation.

So it looks to me like the cost of block upgrade is nothing to be grandstanding about either, given it's already being included in part, in these CPFH estimates.

There may be additional block upgrade costs added to that but what do you expect in a strategic competition when tactical airpower is the key to success?

Anyway, this seems to be satisfactory.

Also, even if that number were to remain at about $36,500 per year from here, this would still actually be a CPFH reduction in REAL-TERMS, because the impact of inflation to make it larger each year is actually being negated by on-going cost reductions.

So again, if in 2022, Adam Smith etal confect another false argument that there was no intervening REAL improvement, that would not be true, as there will have been a drop in real costs of operation even if the CPFH doesn't go down from 2021's level.


What may not be satisfactory though, is directly compared annual operating cost of keeping an F-15E squadron with the same number of aircraft in service when compared to F-35A's cost v performance and capabilities.
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Unread post19 Nov 2021, 06:40

You ask: "how can Adam Smith, or anyone else be surprised?"

They're not surprised. They're liars. They have an agenda and they lie to get what they want.

Now you know, stop listening to them.

Otherwise :bang:


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Unread post20 Nov 2021, 02:07

magitsu wrote:New article which explains the story.

Norwegian Air Force: F-35A Flight Hour Costs €11k

As described by three people, the Chief of Staff, the Chief of Test Flight, Tactics and Training, and the Chief of Logistics and Maintenance of the F-35 and F-16, the current flight hour costs for the F-35A were reported to be NOK 110.000 per hour, which is currently approximately EUR 11.000, including man-hours, maintenance, spare parts and fuel costs.[/b] Since the number is the lowest we had ever heard on the F-35, it naturally amazed us. That’s why I asked how its hourly cost compares to the F-16 still in use. The answer was convergent [among the three]: it is about the same size.

It very much sounds like a reiteration of the 2018 MoD statements of a CPFH of 110000 NOK, which would seem logical as an operational unit would not normally comment on unofficial data. Background from the 2018 media reports: ... e-tviholde

The US Marines are the first military force to deploy the F-35. The Marine Corps Air Force has the F-35 on board ships and in Japan. There are calculations of what it costs to use the plane per. hour, which is now causing great concern in the United States.

According to defense expert John Berg who among other things refers to a hearing in the military committee in the House of Representatives in Washington in March this year, one flight hour now costs 50,000 dollars, or 400,000 Norwegian kroner.

Aftenposten has confronted the Ministry of Defense with the information. The Department does not dispute the flight hour cost from the United States, but nevertheless claims that there is currently no indication that the price per. flight hour for Norway will be higher than previously estimated - namely 110,000 kroner.


As an explanation for the price gap, it is stated that the US Marines' version of the F-35 is different from the Norwegian, that the aircraft are operational, which the Norwegians are not, that the operating costs in the US are higher than in Norway, and that the US adds other things to the price. for a flight hour.

The ministry says that in the long run Norway expects a lower hourly rate than 110,000 kroner, but at the same time that they are currently working hard to reduce operating costs.




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Unread post04 Dec 2021, 00:36

Longtime lurker but newly signed up, hello all.
Put the Norway defense budget request through translate:

Procurement is costing Norway 90 billion krona* for 52 ac, while overall costs are at 316 billion krone, in current year prices mind. Do a little maths and one gets a figure of 216 billion krone. The document doesn't split this figure, saying only it covers "associated operating and further development costs," from 2012 to 2054**.
Even being overly generous and split that figure between all 52 airframes from 2012 to 2054 you get a yearly cost of ~10.8 million dollars per airframe. In any case whichever way you divide up the lifetime cost, cost per flight hour is concerningly high.

* A dollar goes for ~9 krone at the moment.
**Google translates wording very iffy here. Either 2012-2054 is accurate or the requests covers funding beyond that timeframe. I'm assuming the former.

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