posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 09:51 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58
If you are looking at an average cost just for the centre fuse overhaul of $40m per airframe (some will need more work, some less) plus other upgrades
and overhauls then it wouldn't surprise me if the full SLEP is north of $60m per aircraft. At that cost and assuming you actually want to plug the gap
then it would make more sense to retire the current fleet now and replace them on a 1 for 2 or 1 for 1.5 basis with the money you WILL spend on the
SLEP. Its not like they have a choice to spend or not, PCA isn't going to turn up fast enough to neatly dovetail with retiring the Eagles in the mid
2020's. This at least could give you somewhere between 150-250 fresh airfames.
If you keep a rigid cost/capability frame on the project, dont put in a single thing that is a "nice to have" but not necessary , and cut off anyone's
fingers who try's to mess with the plan and cause scope creep then I think its a viable (and necessary) option. In addition give Boeing a single fixed
price contract with delivery of around 30-50 new aircraft a year. This gives everyone a known quantity and baseline to work with. It may also assist
in keeping the Boeing production line warm enough should they be in the running for PCA without an unnecessary and expensive cold start a few years
They will obviously need such items as AESA and the TALON HATE pod or similar for F-22 interoperabillity as well as all the usual standard bells and
whistles, but as I said not a single pound or dollar should go into anything gold plated. They need to work with the legacy fleet of upgraded F-16's
and the F-22/F-35 combo until PCA or whatever comes after F-35 arrives, NOTHING more. After that you can either pass them all to Reserve or Guard
units or sell them with modest downstream updates with plenty of hours still on the clock to whomever you see fit at a reasonable price, thereby
recouping some money downstream.
Something needs to be done but I'm not convinced retiring the F-15C/D's and just relying on replacing that capability with upgraded late block Vipers
or life extending the Eagles for another decade or so is the best way.