USAF 2012 budget and interesting questions about F-35 cost #military #auspol #cndpoli

The charts below are from the U.S. Air Force 2012 budget. They outline how much money the USAF has to fund to procure and field the F-35A.

USAF will be the largest alleged purchaser of this airframe. It is a similar type to what export customers such as Australia and Canada claim that they will purchase.

The sales force for the maker of the aircraft have been stating to countries like Australia and Canada that they won’t pay for U.S. research and development costs like the U.S. Government. What is interesting is that for the charts below, they have nothing to do with research and development costs either. They are only about what the USAF will pay to field the aircraft.

What can Australia and Canada really expect to pay for their F-35s? Follow the USAF. And there is no way that another country is going to get a lower price than the USAF.

Interesting is the more detailed chart. That is $106.756 million for the special roll-away price for the jet without an engine. Add the engine and you are now up to $120.541 million. Then there is another $2.411 million just for engineering change orders. So for 2012, the F-35A costs the USAF $122.952 million to get it out the door with no spares and support equipment.

Maybe if the Canadian DND and Australian New Air Combat Capability (NACC) and their fan base wish upon a star, it will show just how stupid they really are. How low will this price be in 2016? Who knows? The DND and the NACC don’t; that is for sure.


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4 thoughts on “USAF 2012 budget and interesting questions about F-35 cost #military #auspol #cndpoli

  1. We need a new tactical airframe for service under conditions where theater access/base-in denial is a given. IMO, that means that the airframe has to be naval capable.

    The F-35C is incompetent to the Fighter Mission. The F-35B is incompetent to the interdiction mission. The NGAD is going to be late and overbudget. As a (navalization weight penalty) ‘F-22 on a carrier’, it is also going to be incompatible with the USAF Raptor followon. Whose range and weight capabilities are more in line with the 60,000lb F-22 than a 40,000lb classic Hornet.

    Though often considered to be far in the future, a fighter shortfall is fast approaching. Congress needs to begin closing the gap in the pending defense bills. Taking unbudgeted costs into account, a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report assessing the long-term implications of the Pentagon’s FY 10 budget projects serious shortfalls. CBO calculates that carrying out DOD plans for 2010 and beyond could require an annual base budget of $632 million (in 2010 dollars) through 2028—a figure 18 percent higher than current 2010 funding levels.

    Boeing is betting that something will be a clean-sheet, tailless fighter design. Concepts displayed at Navy League show off a 40,000lb-class fighter for carrier decks. The air force would likely need an airframe at least 50% larger to replace the 60,000lb-class F-22. If the airframes are not common, the air force and navy would likely be pressured to share the cockpit avionics and — possibly — engines.

    This means that the services are already posturing to ‘continue the tradition’ of diverse mission requirements leading to separate airframes as turf protection.

    Meanwhile, the only things which REALLY count (beyond the crash of the USD with the post-peak condition of Saudi petroleum and the subsequent unpinning of the RMB as a precursor to the rise of interest rates to enable ‘global’ growth-economies) in the legitimacy of the F-35 vs. ‘any other alternative’, are these-

    In particular:

    1. The armed services are HOTAS dominated and will not remove the 5,000+lbs manning penalty from the front of the airframe to allow the rest of the design metric (heavier navalized structures and gear) to be accomodated within a standardized design capable of meeting both service needs with the same engine class for airframe thrust to weight and specific excess. Nor will they acknowledge the advantages of an airframe that can pull 15G in one axis and 9G in another, at half the roll index requirement to set the turn or recover from the pitch movement.

    2. Lasers and HPM and even EML are the wave of the future.
    EML will put flak back in the market as 30-40Kft replacements for medium SAM. Lasers, while they will likely remain short ranged until the advent of fast rise relay mirrors and adaptive optics can now be seen as a ‘commercial threat’ in that thermal if not PIKL kills are possible using simple fiber-bundle (the same material your AT&T long distance call passes down) instead of complex COIL or ‘digital diode’ pumping. What this means is that manned CAS as we now know it is _over_. Even nominally 300-400 knot jets below 15K will be in trouble and aircraft at 500-600 knots at 20-25K will at least be ‘on the edge of engagement’ in a direct flyover sense. And you can track jets at that altitude, without radar. Just look up at a contrail. HPM will mean the end of non-protected RF apertures. Airframes will have to be EM sealed from the frontend back.

    3. If you won’t go to unmanned systems because to do so is to announce to the world the failure of biology in the face of faster/hardier automation. And you are driven from the penetration game by a horde of simple THEL-on-MAZ type lasers daring manned formations to come close enough (or acting as ballistic PGM killers). You have to look at the next best thing which is swarm tactics with hunting weapons that have more than one pass worth of engagement and (ten times) more than the 20nm effective, all-aspect, NEZ that you can expect with rocket weapons. Specifically, they have to be able to transit at the same supercruise speeds (1.4-1.8) that the next gen jets will do as standard. And they have to be able to spread out in skirmish lines with hunting datalinks to accomodate multiple overlays of multi if not hyper spectral seeker cones. Because the next level of LO is going to be optical, not RF.

    We will never see NGAD before one of the above three conditional threats renders the future manned fighter irrelevant for much the same reason that it was cruel and unusual to send WWI pilots into combat with incendiary firing LMG in doped skin, fuel-stuffed, <150kt airframes, as human torch sacrifices: it is easier, and cheaper to develop weapons than systems. And the world technology state is now such that artificial controls on how military systems are incremented can no longer be guaranteed.

    That said, the key thing to remember here is that-

    A. The very existence of an NGAD is an admission that the 380 billion dollar JSF (3 million dollars per pound of loaded airframe, chuck 24 karat gold at the enemy, it will be cheaper!) is a fraud of monumental proportions which has already failed to meet it's mission spec and now is being effectively design-replaced before it even enters service.

    B. We will not have the money for a future fighter -and- the F-35. Indeed, it is up in the air whether we will have the money for a _single_ variant of the JSF.

    C. We are looking 10 years into the future for the JSF. We are looking 15-20 into the future for the NGAD. The technology threats which will make these systems obsolete are in prototype form _today_. And they will cost less to develop, incrementally, over a longer period than the fighters which are moldline frozen, ten years before IOC.

    _By all means_ bring on the deflector shield technology!

    But if that kind of capability is not present in the black technology world, manned tactical aviation is dead.

  2. why is the f-35c unsuitable as a fighter? weight? the navy jets were never in the f-16 class…

  3. ALL tactical platforms for expeditionary use should be carrier capable. That’s why for years I strongly advocate to build only the F-35C (actually slightly lenghtened and cleaned of all STOVL residues) and drop the other versions. And that plane HAS to be built as it’s the only game in town. (Only nationalize LMCO!)

    NGAD will primarily have to be a striker with a secondary (unconventional) air-to-air capability in the F-111B weight class, to fulfill the range-payload requirements (which I’d put at a combat radius of 1500nm). Forcing a low total number. Which is kinda ok as UAV will make up the majority of the force anyway. Still the F-35 can fill the 10 year gap, especially for the Air Force (which is stubborn not to take SHornets).

    There’s no way there’ll be two different aircraft for NGAD and FAXX. If NavAir – USAF tribalism (aka weak political leadership) continues, neither of them will get anything new beyond F-35 and tactical aviation will be completely UAV’d in the end (2035/40 timeframe). After all, with enough UAV to air-refuel the F-35 even that thing can reach that assumed 1500nm radius.

  4. ” And that plane HAS to be built as it’s the only game in town.”

    This is a poor reason to buy anything espeicailly when it is shit.

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