F-35 Cost Per Flying Hour: A Tale of Two Numbers

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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 20:11

At last - something else to argue about - this is GOLD GOLD GOLD... :D OOPS! Missed adding the URL - here it is - exscusi

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... b429e5ab99

F-35 Cost Per Flying Hour: A Tale of Two Numbers 28 Feb 2013 by Amy Butler

"The newest disagreement between the Pentagon and F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin is over the stealthy, single-engine fighter’s estimate cost per flying hour.

CPFH is the sort of standard unit of measure to determine how much it will cost to own an aircraft and use it for its intended purpose. And, for the F-35, it is a critical number as customers estimate how many aircraft they can afford – a number dependent upon the estimated price to operate them.

But, as with the unit cost debates of years ago (remember the Pentagon’s per-unit cost versus Lockheed’s “unit recurring flyaway?) the discussion is not simple....

...But, while the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin work to hash out an equitable solution to the CPFH conundrum, the issue of a total ownership cost should not be forgotten. Perhaps computers and targeting pods don’t belong in a CPFH line item, but they do need to be exposed and understood for customers – or they run the risk of buying a hot sports car they can only afford to take out on weekends."

ONLY the first paragraphs and then the LAST paragraph excerpted here - the guts of this complicated question at the URL - go read it.
Last edited by spazsinbad on 28 Feb 2013, 21:27, edited 1 time in total.
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kiwidingo

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:10

Found the URL:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... b429e5ab99

An interesting article. IMHO we should compare the full CPFH of the F-35 as is with the F-16's CPFH with all the extra pod's added and attach to that the benefits the F-35 provides on top of this F-16 configuration such as stealth (which incurs extra maintenance cost for the coating). Same for performance comparisons.
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lookieloo

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:10

There's not really enough background data for an authoritative answer, especially since we're still in testing. The best we can go on is previous types. Fundamentally, the F-35 is just an airframe and engine, no different from any other fighter (though having just one engine is a plus for maintenance). Most of the F-22's maintenance problems stem from skin repair; otherwise, it would appear to be better than legacy types. Of course, the F-35 has more robust VLO materials; so on the balance, I fail to see how it will be any different from older planes in the long term... as long as the coatings hold up to LM's claims.

At this point, one could just make up any numbers and call it a day. Hell, I could say that the things are prone to breaking in half after 3000 hours. Can anyone prove me wrong yet? :twisted:
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neurotech

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:20

kiwidingo wrote:Found the URL:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... b429e5ab99

An interesting article. IMHO we should compare the full CPFH of the F-35 as is with the F-16's CPFH with all the extra pod's added and attach to that the benefits the F-35 provides on top of this F-16 configuration such as stealth (which incurs extra maintenance cost for the coating). Same for performance comparisons.

"Pods" don't dramatically change the CPFH. They add a bit of drag, and require some maintenance, but not to the point of making a F-35 cheaper than a F-16.

F-35 is a better jet overall, no question from my perspective.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:31

How about CPFH per mission?

4 F-35s

vs

6-8 F-16s for strike
2-4 F-16s on SEAD/DECOY
2-4 F-15s for CAP/Escort
1-2 IFR
1 AWACS
etc
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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kiwidingo

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:41

SpudmanWP wrote:How about CPFH per mission?

4 F-35s

vs

6-8 F-16s for strike
2-4 F-16s on SEAD/DECOY
2-4 F-15s for CAP/Escort
1-2 IFR
1 AWACS
etc
Good point. New Zealand could get 4 F-35s and dramatically increase our air force capabilities.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:41

lookieloo wrote:There's not really enough background data for an authoritative answer, especially since we're still in testing. The best we can go on is previous types. Fundamentally, the F-35 is just an airframe and engine, no different from any other fighter (though having just one engine is a plus for maintenance). Most of the F-22's maintenance problems stem from skin repair; otherwise, it would appear to be better than legacy types. Of course, the F-35 has more robust VLO materials; so on the balance, I fail to see how it will be any different from older planes in the long term... as long as the coatings hold up to LM's claims.


Well that's not really a fair comparison either. The F-35's maintenence system was purpose built to operate using a two-level PBL model. According to Canadian planning, the aircraft won't ever go to depot until the end of its first lifecycle; any malfunctioning component will be removed and replaced by a spare. That part will then sent back to the depot rather than wasting time on the flightline trying to repair it. By pushing maintenance tasks to the contractor who will do it for all the services and partners countries, the Program office believes that it should create overall efficiencies.

The problem is that the contractor in a monopoly can just inflate the price. That's why the US government has indicated it will push to open up the ALIS data and make it available to competitors. That raised some criticism from LM (for the usual reasons; proprietary information, security ect), but it will be a major step towards bringing down the price.
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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:49

Why does the government insist on exclusive contracts for parts? Why not open it up to a range of companies that will work on the same part?
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luke_sandoz

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:58

so are these funds in pre Bogdan rant 2004 dollars or are they adjusted for post Obama destruction of the US economy "share the wealth" dollars?

Whatever.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:59

kamenriderblade wrote:Why does the government insist on exclusive contracts for parts? Why not open it up to a range of companies that will work on the same part?


All parts were awarded as part of a competitive process; that's a core element of the JSF program. And that continues over time. The problem is that most components require a significant investment of R&D and time to make it competitive to a existing component. Remember that most parts in a fighter are bespoken to the aircraft's needs. Sourcing alternatives becomes really difficult unless someone invests alot of money just to have the chance to get it considered. The best example of that is the PW vs GE engine; Congress had to fund the second engine in order to keep it going. Same goes for a radar, avionics, sensor, ect. Another example is the HMD: BAE systems would not have tried to compete against the VSI helmet until the USG actually handed over development funds and changed the requirements to allow for a significantly lower capability.

This isn't an effective monopoly however; suppliers must balance the risk they take of a competitor investing the money to provide an reasonable alternative. Moreover there are downward pressures from the prime and government project office to drive prices down. Its much more complex than simple opening up the program to more contracts.
Last edited by hb_pencil on 28 Feb 2013, 22:15, edited 1 time in total.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 22:05

luke_sandoz wrote:so are these funds in pre Bogdan rant 2004 dollars or are they adjusted for post Obama destruction of the US economy "share the wealth" dollars?

Whatever.


Or the Post 2012 Tea Party Caucus "no government" economy...

Just sayin' it could be construed in several different ways.
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quicksilver

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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 13:55

Amy missed the real issue, and the one the services are most concerned about -- assessing fully burdened ownership costs on the DoD side. This has never been done before in ANY aircraft development. And, every TACAIR asset we've operated over the past few decades has been dramatically more expensive to operate than predicted -- all of 'em.

What we see and hear about everyday F-35 are unprecedented 'estimates' in an attempt to get their arms around this ahead of delivery. Central to the problem is that the 'supporting elements' within DoD and the services do not want to fully expose the overhead costs their support services impose, particularly when the USG is getting ready to go through a 'body fat reduction' regimen called 'spending cuts.'

So we end up with all kinds of fantastic and inflammatory estimates leaked into the public domain like $1.5T programs (later revised to 'only' $1.1T) and $15K vs $31K CPFH fantasies. Then we add in other non-realities in support of the claims, like 'it's the cost of the stealth'; nope, and there are numbers that demonstrate but we don't hear about those do we?

The support system for F-35 was not conceived by LM (and obtw the USG still retains 60% of that F-35 support 'business'.) It was conceived by smart folks in OSD and the services some years ago to gore some of the sacred cows (entrenched bureaucracies) of support systems that had become fat, slow, unresponsive and excessively expensive. These holy bovines finally woke and saw that they were about to get slaughtered and arose to fight armed with serious sounding 'studies', leaks, innuendo and their own style of demagoguery. They are fighting what they see as a threat to their equities and, in some cases, their very existence. And in this day and age it plays out almost hourly on a global scale because of the information domain we live in -- a media market incentivized for velocity at the expense of accuracy.

Doesn't have to be lies, only inaccuracies -- and we have the joy of sifting through it all right here on F-16.net. 8)
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deadseal

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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 14:36

SpudmanWP wrote:How about CPFH per mission?

4 F-35s

vs

6-8 F-16s for strike
2-4 F-16s on SEAD/DECOY
2-4 F-15s for CAP/Escort
1-2 IFR
1 AWACS
etc


spudman you are absolutley right in theory, however i would wager you need more A-A missles. so add another 4 ship with external carry (i love the 14 amraam diagram) or add a 4 ship of raptors.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 15:17

You would only need dedicated CAP/Escort if the chance of an enemy A2A threat was real.

With 4th gen the need for CAP/Escort was ever present when the F-35 reduces that need significantly (And NEVER go external with the CAP/Escort).
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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maus92

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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 15:20

deadseal wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:How about CPFH per mission?

4 F-35s

vs

6-8 F-16s for strike
2-4 F-16s on SEAD/DECOY
2-4 F-15s for CAP/Escort
1-2 IFR
1 AWACS
etc


spudman you are absolutley right in theory, however i would wager you need more A-A missles. so add another 4 ship with external carry (i love the 14 amraam diagram) or add a 4 ship of raptors.


Unlikely.
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