Roper Hints NGAD Could Replace F-35; Why? Life-Cycle Costs

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3456
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post11 Mar 2021, 06:46

steve2267 wrote:From where did those figures, recently bandied about in the press, come? I seem to recall CPFH numbers anywhere from $33k to $36k.

These reimbursable flight hours costs must not be true CPFH... because the F-35 is already below $25K/hr in these documents!

In any event, these numbers should be able to provide comparable cost ratios between different aircraft, and show annual trends of the different types.


Exactly. Different rates have been explaine here very well:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=54329&p=416058&hilit=RAND_RR1178.pdf#p416058

Original source:
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... RR1178.pdf

CPFH is widely used by the military services for different purposes. One common usage is for the flying-hour programs (FHPs) used by the services to budget resources to achieve aircrew proficiency. The FHPs use a CPFH defined by DoD guidance that is intended to include only costs that vary with flying hours. FHP decisionmakers want to assess the budgetary impacts that incremental changes in flying-hour levels have on certain cost elements that vary directly with
changes in flying hours (i.e., directly funded fuel, consumable materials and repair parts, depot-level reparables).

A related usage of CPFH is for flying-hour reimbursable billing rates, i.e., how much other DoD, other federal, other customers, and foreign military should be charged on a per-flying-hour basis. These rates build upon the FHP CPFH, adding in cost categories less directly impacted by flying hours such as depot-level maintenance costs.

Another, more challenging usage of CPFH is to compare the O&S costs of different aircraft programs. Typically, these comparisons are between a prospective new system and an antecedent system and are made between their average annual O&S costs.

A key difference between the CPFH used for FHP and reimbursable billing and the CPFH used to compare O&S costs of different aircraft programs is that cross-system O&S comparisons intentionally include some cost categories that are fixed, i.e., do not vary with flying hours. Used in other contexts, such as for decisions about the acquisition of new aircraft programs or the retention or retirement of existing aircraft force structure, decisionmakers likely care about a broader swath of O&S costs including those that vary with flying hours as well as those that do not.

When comparing O&S costs of different aircraft, we recommend that the O&S costs included in the comparison should be clearly defined. The DoD’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office defines a standard O&S cost-element structure that comprises six major elements of: (1) unit personnel, (2) unit operations, (3) maintenance, (4) sustaining support, (5) continuing system improvements, and (6) indirect support.


I think it's pretty clear now that the cost of actually flying the F-35 is very close to desired levels. IMO, F-35C costs give a better picture as they don't have early production jets which likely still increase F-35A costs quite significantly. F-35s are constantly upgraded to higher Blocks and that increases costs compared to say F-16s, which have not been upgraded much in comparison. These things increase O&S costs now. Of course there are also things that need improving, but F-35 is still very new jet and there is learning and introduction issues which go away with time and maturation. I think that aiming for F-16 level total O&S CPFH levels is incredibly ambitious as F-35 can and will be upgraded much more and more often. It's also significantly heavier, a lot more powerful and far more capable jet.
Offline

Corsair1963

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 7255
  • Joined: 19 Dec 2005, 04:14

Unread post11 Mar 2021, 07:05

hornetfinn wrote:F-35 basically combines (and improves) the best qualities and capabilities of F-15C/E (BVR capability, payload, range), F/A-18 (high AoA maneuverability, F-35C carrier capability), EA-18G (ESM/ELINT/EW capabilities), F-117 (stealth), F-16 (dimensions, maneuverability, acceleration), AV-8B (F-35B STOVL) and even F-22 (Situational Awareness, survivability). It also has unit cost about equal to 4+ gen fighters which offer a small subset of those same capabilties. I think it could have a lot higher (like several times higher) life-cycle costs than existing fighters and still be really good value for money. How many 4th gen aircraft and supporting assets you'd need to do what 4 F-35s can do? I'd say several times more, especially against high-end enemies. Even against low-end threats it has so much flexibility due to high payload, range, really great situational awareness and networking that it can do many missions effectively what previously only really dedicated systems could do.



Well said........ 8)
Offline

strykerxo

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 447
  • Joined: 21 Mar 2008, 04:40

Unread post11 Mar 2021, 23:33

Besides the characteristics of the F-35 that put it at the top of the heap and cost equivalency versus legacy. What is the value of stealth?

Image
You can't shot what you can't see - Unknown
Offline
User avatar

doge

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 672
  • Joined: 13 Jul 2015, 16:07

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 02:28

He's aware of it. 8) : The F-35 cannot be defeated. :devil:
https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org ... et-program
JUST IN: HASC Chairman Says Officials Should 'Cut Our Losses' on F-35
3/5/2021 By Meredith Roaten
Officials should find a way to “cut our losses” on the F-35 joint strike fighter program, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said March 5.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said he hopes officials can find a way to spend less money on the fifth-generation aircraft, which has been troubled by a number of issues over the years.
“I want to stop throwing money down that particular rathole," he said at a Brookings Institution event.
The program is the largest acquisition in Pentagon history, with a projected cost of more than $1 trillion. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are purchasing different variants of the plane, as are a number of U.S. allies and partners.
Advocates of the platform, which in addition to being stealthy is also equipped with cutting edge sensors and data networking capabilities, say it will be a critical asset in the U.S. military inventory as the United States competes with advanced adversaries such as China and Russia.
However, the jet, which comes with a high price tag and has experienced a number of technical problems over the years, also has many critics, including Smith.
The full-rate production decision was recently delayed yet again, partially due to technical issues with the Joint Simulation Environment as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith described the program’s issues as “painful” to contemplate, especially in light of its costs. The F-35A now costs about $80 million per plane. Officials and prime contractor Lockheed Martin have been working to drive down the procurement as well as the operation and sustainment costs for the program, which have come down significantly.
"What I'm going to try to do is figure out how we can get a mix of fighter attack aircraft that's the most cost effective," Smith said. "A big part of that is finding something that doesn't make us have to rely on the F-35 for the next 35 years."
Smith added his ultimate goal is to spend funding more effectively in the future and acknowledged the importance of having a fleet that will provide an advantage over adversaries like China and Russia.
“When it comes to fighter attack aircraft, we have certain needs,” he said.
The Air Force recently announced that it would conduct a tactical air study to determine the right mix and quantities of aircraft for the fleet to have 10 to 15 years from now, including examining the F-35, fourth-generation aircraft and a future sixth-generation system known as Next-Generation Air Dominance.

Despite his objections, Smith said he realizes there is strong political support for buying the platform and it will be difficult to make cuts to the program. In recent years Congress has directed the Pentagon to buy more F-35s than it has requested.
Additionally, because the F-35 is expected to be a centerpiece of the fighter jet fleet, it’s not feasible to stop buying the platforms completely, Smith said.
“It just hurts and the problem is that there's not an easy way out of it,” he said.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., recently said he has concerns about the program but said cutting fighter jets would not be a top priority.
Offline
User avatar

doge

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 672
  • Joined: 13 Jul 2015, 16:07

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 02:30

Voice from DOD. 8)
https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Ar ... abilities/
Guard Presence Helps Fill Gaps in Capitol Police Capabilities
MARCH 9, 2021 | BY C. TODD LOPEZ, DOD NEWS

Department Stands By F-35
While some on Capitol Hill have questioned the continued involvement in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, Kirby says the department considers it a valuable weapons system.
"The F-35 remains a premier air system of choice for three of the armed forces, seven international partners, six foreign military sales customers, it routinely demonstrates high-end capabilities at the hands of our joint and international warfighters, and it's performing in combat operations from land and sea," Kirby said. "The department will continue the low-rate initial production at the planned rate that we're currently seeing as directed by congressional authorization and appropriation."
Kirby also said the department looks forward to working with Congress to address the needs of the department and the advancement of the F-35 program.
Offline
User avatar

XanderCrews

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 6963
  • Joined: 16 Oct 2012, 19:42

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 03:03

doge wrote:"The department will continue the low-rate initial production at the planned rate that we're currently seeing


FRP without calling it that basically...
Choose Crews
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 06:48

strykerxo wrote:Besides the characteristics of the F-35 that put it at the top of the heap and cost equivalency versus legacy. What is the value of stealth?


If the word "unmanned" can be added, then the total number of aircrews at risk drops to zero, regardless of range, precision or stealth.
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3456
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 08:16

XanderCrews wrote:
doge wrote:"The department will continue the low-rate initial production at the planned rate that we're currently seeing


FRP without calling it that basically...


LOL, so true. Calling making over 120 aircraft a year LRIP is a joke. During the last 50 years only F-16 has been produced at that rate in any Western country during FRP, AFAIK. Hell, most FRPs have had much lower production rate.
Offline
User avatar

XanderCrews

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 6963
  • Joined: 16 Oct 2012, 19:42

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 08:18

weasel1962 wrote:
strykerxo wrote:Besides the characteristics of the F-35 that put it at the top of the heap and cost equivalency versus legacy. What is the value of stealth?


If the word "unmanned" can be added, then the total number of aircrews at risk drops to zero, regardless of range, precision or stealth.


yeah but it can't, We aren't there yet so its irrelevant.

There's an interesting mixture of aviation futurists and luddites. We need to retain the guns on fighters so our AI-driven next-Gen UCAVs can still "dogfight" since missiles and technology (as it always does!) will inevitably fail. wait...what?

Its not any wonder in some ways. Pierre Sprey and his friends also had a bizarre mix of the traditional and cutting edge complaints.

Image

And don't you dare touch the A-10.
Choose Crews
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3456
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 09:01

doge wrote:He's aware of it. 8) : The F-35 cannot be defeated. :devil:
https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org ... et-program
JUST IN: HASC Chairman Says Officials Should 'Cut Our Losses' on F-35
3/5/2021 By Meredith Roaten
Smith described the program’s issues as “painful” to contemplate, especially in light of its costs. The F-35A now costs about $80 million per plane. Officials and prime contractor Lockheed Martin have been working to drive down the procurement as well as the operation and sustainment costs for the program, which have come down significantly.
"What I'm going to try to do is figure out how we can get a mix of fighter attack aircraft that's the most cost effective," Smith said. "A big part of that is finding something that doesn't make us have to rely on the F-35 for the next 35 years."
Smith added his ultimate goal is to spend funding more effectively in the future and acknowledged the importance of having a fleet that will provide an advantage over adversaries like China and Russia.


Sounds like this Smith person confuses "spending more effectively" with "spending more". Well, that is being more effective at spending money... :roll:

Fact it much of the Western world will rely on the F-35 for the next 35 years. Even those countries that won't buy F-35 will rely on it for most part via alliances and coalitions. Another next generation fighter program would take at least 25 years to replace F-35 capabilities. And it won't likely be cheaper than F-35 in any case. End result would be burning more money or making US (and Western countries in general) air power less powerful.
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2529
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 09:58

Boeing has a big presence in Washington state. Look where Smith represents. I'm not discounting this as a subtle way to claw back some of the market share. The plan ultimately needs buy-in from the air force, otherwise it won't fly. Same thing applies to CVN numbers.

As to unmanned, we're not there yet but its not that far off. I think its worth some focus in the budget on this. MQ-25s, loyal wingman, anyone? I think the evolution towards more unmanned roles/assets is inevitable.
Offline
User avatar

ricnunes

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3089
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2017, 14:29

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 15:27

weasel1962 wrote:Boeing has a big presence in Washington state. Look where Smith represents.


This is IMO the 'culprit' here.
IMO, the US government or parts/representatives of the same government wants to have other companies besides LM such as Boeing back into the fighter/combat aircraft business. I would even bet some money that if NGAD goes ahead that it will probably be made by Boeing or perhaps even by another company such as Northrop Grumman (but of course I could be wrong). Resuming, I would be willing to bet that NGAD won't probably be made by LM.

weasel1962 wrote:As to unmanned, we're not there yet but its not that far off. I think its worth some focus in the budget on this. MQ-25s, loyal wingman, anyone? I think the evolution towards more unmanned roles/assets is inevitable.


I believe that I've said something within these lines in the past:
- Drones, AI combat aircraft or whatever anyone wants to call them will be like guided missiles. They won't replace fighter/combat aircraft but instead complement and improve them. Resuming, Drone will be manned fighter/combat aircraft's future weapons and extended sensors.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
Offline
User avatar

XanderCrews

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 6963
  • Joined: 16 Oct 2012, 19:42

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 16:19

weasel1962 wrote:As to unmanned, we're not there yet but its not that far off. I think its worth some focus in the budget on this. MQ-25s, loyal wingman, anyone? I think the evolution towards more unmanned roles/assets is inevitable.


Image

Its never that far off. just like my lazguns, cybernetics, flying cars, full solar, dome cities, the artificial womb, $exbots, an end to the war on drugs or terror. its all inevitable. end of poverty and world hunger. some if it may even be inevitable in my lifetime. others not. turns out reality is a mess. people were predicting airplanes that could level a city in the 1920s. Its there, but its a journey.

Theres already a commitment to UAVs and we will get there, but the US military is not about to cede the vital air superiority card to the machines just yet.

Remember in the 1960s the white paper the UK published that said missiles were inevitable the death of the manned fighter was here?

Besides If its inevitable, then it doesn't need to be budgeted :wink: We budget for the not inevitable. why not let the tech mature ever more?
Choose Crews
Offline

basher54321

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2233
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2014, 15:43

Unread post12 Mar 2021, 17:59

Bit before my time

Oops.jpg
When Obi Wan logged onto Twitter: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious"
Offline
User avatar

doge

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 672
  • Joined: 13 Jul 2015, 16:07

Unread post13 Mar 2021, 15:45

Voices in favor of the F-35 have begun to rise. :twisted: :devil: :twisted:
Reaction by Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. 8)
https://www.defensedaily.com/fifth-gene ... air-force/
Fifth Generation Fighters Vital to Respond to Future Crises in Pacific Theater, Commander Says
By Frank Wolfe |03/11/2021
Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told lawmakers this week that fifth generation fighters, such as the Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35 and F-22, are vital to respond to future crises in the region.
“Certainly, fifth gen fighters,…

Reaction of more than 600,000 representatives. 8)
https://www.goiam.org/news/iam-bolsters ... 5-program/
IAM Bolsters Support for F-35 Program
AEROSPACE March 11, 2021
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. recently sent a letter to White House advisors Steve Ricchetti, Senior Advisor to President Biden, and Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, bolstering support for the F-35 Lightning II Program. Media outlets have recently reported that the Department of Defense may cut back on the number of aircraft for the U.S. Armed Services.
“The F-35 program strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships, and powers economic growth,” said Martinez. “We are proud to represent workers across the country who produce, deliver, maintain and support this critical defense program. From production workers in Ft. Worth to suppliers in nearly every state, to maintenance depot from coast to coast; the F-35 program creates high-quality, Machinists Union jobs.”
The full letter can be read here.
The Honorable Cedric Richmond Eisenhower Executive Office Building 1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC, 20501
March 10, 2021
Dear Mr. Ricchetti and Mr. Richmond:
On behalf of more than 600,000 active and retires members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the largest aerospace and defense union in North America, am writing to express my strong support the F-35 Lightning Il program.
The F-35 program strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships and powers economic growth. We are proud to represent workers across the country who produce, deliver, maintain and support this critical defense program. From production workers in Ft. Worth, to suppliers in nearly every state, to maintenance depot from coast to coast; the F-35 program creates high-quality, Machinists Union jobs.

The F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft the world has ever known. It is the only 5th Generation aircraft in production, and it is absolutely indispensable in the effort to recapitalize U.S. fighter fleets and those of our allied partners.
Thanks to sustained investment and commitment to the F-35 program, cost per aircraft has been reduced dramatically and continue to fall. The program is currently focused on lowering the costs to operate and support the aircraft while also working to ensure investment in modernization to keep it relevant and viable for decades to come.

Not only is the F-35 the most capable fighter jet ever produced, but the program is also a huge driver of economic growth with more than 1,800 first tier suppliers in 48 states and Puerto Rico and more than $49 billion in economic impact annually. The program supports more than 254,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country. These are high-quality, high-skilled jobs that would be nearly impossible to replace if they were to disappear.

Therefore, it concerns us to see in recent press that the DoD may be backing away from the planned acquisition of 2,456 aircraft for the U.S. armed services, which in turn could threaten plans for 750+ aircraft for our allied partners and foreign military sales countries. Injecting instability into the defense industrial base now during a time of economic uncertainty sends the wrong message to US workers and America's allies who are invested in this effort. Not to mention the negative impact on national security as we work to secure our nation from advanced and evolving global threats.

One of the main necessities of this program has always been economies of scale. To back off now by purchasing aircraft in economic production lots or reducing overall program quantities will only serve to drive up costs and hinder additional capability investment in the program.
We request an opportunity to meet with you to further discuss the importance of this critical defense program on our members, our domestic supply chain, and our national security. We remain confident that at full rate production the F-35 will continue to serve as the future backbone of the U.S. Air Force and many allied air forces around the world.

A decent article while the National Interest. 8) (Well, It's just a compilation of the above two things.)
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... ter-179891
Why Unions Love the F-35 Stealth Fighter
This week the F-35 received some notable support, and it wasn’t from those who have flown the aircraft, but rather from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
by Peter Suciu March 11, 2021
There is no denying that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II has its share of detractors who have criticized the cost of the program—despite the fact that its manufacturer has worked to reduce the costs of the aircraft. In fact, when assessing the cost of the program, it is important to note that the total price tag is actually spaced out through the 2070s. As has been repeatedly noted, the pilots who will likely be flying the aircraft in its final years certainly haven’t been born yet and, in many cases, neither have their parents!
This week the F-35 received some notable support, and it wasn’t from those who have flown the aircraft, but rather from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

In a letter sent to the White House, the top aerospace workers union has sought to throw its support behind the Joint Strike Fighter amid the ongoing debate as to whether the Department of Defense (DoD) should buy fewer of the fifth-generation stealth fighter as part of a cost savings move. In the letter, which was obtained and published by Politico on Wednesday, IAM President Robert Martinez warned that even a potential reduction in F-35 purchases could have an impact on the defense industrial base as well as jobs in the aerospace sector.
“The F-35 program strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships and powers economic growth,” Martinez wrote. “We are proud to represent workers across the country who produce, deliver, maintain and support this critical defense program. From production workers in Ft. Worth, to suppliers in every state, to maintenance depot from coast to coast; the F-35 program creates high-quality Machinists Union jobs.”

It wasn’t just about “jobs” for Martinez either, and IAM went on to praise the aircraft.
“The F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft the world has ever known. It is the only 5th Generation aircraft in production, and it is absolutely indispensable in the effort to recapitalize U.S. fighter fleets and those of our allied partners,” Martinez added.

He noted that thanks to sustained investment as well as continued commitment to the program, the cost per F-35 aircraft has been reduced dramatically and is expected to fall. “The program is currently focused on lowering the costs to operate and support the aircraft while also working to ensure investment in modernization to keep it relevant and viable for decades to come.”
Martinez also noted that while the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most capable fighter to date, it also remains a huge driver of economic growth. There are currently more than 1,800 first tier suppliers in forty-eight states as well as Puerto Rico, and it drives more than $49 billion in economic activity annually.

“The program supports more than 254,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country,” explained Martinez. “These are high-quality, high-skilled jobs that would be nearly impossible to replace if they were to disappear.”
The IAM president requested a meeting with Steve Ricchetti, who currently serves as counselor to the president, and Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, to further outline the importance of the program.

Martinez was not the only one to praise the aircraft this week. During a House Armed Services hearing on the Indo-Pacific region on Wednesday, Admiral Phil Davidson, commander of the U.S. forces in the Pacific, told lawmakers that the F-35—along with the F-22 Raptor—was “critical to any future warfighting we might have in the theater.”
Supporters of the program have echoed Davidson’s opinion that the F-35 would be needed in any potential conflict with a near peer adversary, notably China.

“To go backwards into fourth generation capability as a substitute broadly would be a mistake, in my view, and would actually put us at a severe disadvantage over the course of this decade” Davidson told Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), a co-chair of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus.
PreviousNext

Return to Program and politics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests