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Oppertunity Cost of the F-35 Lightning II

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posted on Aug, 25 2006 @ 07:44 PM
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Oppertunity Cost is something that comes up frequently in by busines classes: it considers the next best alternative use of your resources. With The F-35 currently costing $276 Bil. for 2,458 jets, and further cuts and cost increases on the way, I thought it would be interested to see what else those funds could have procured:

The first thing I'd do, should Lightning II get axed, is pour cash into the F-22A raptor. Heck, lets restore the original 750 aircraft buy; as we've already budgeted 185 we'll only need another 565 (@177.6 mil for each additional jet according to defense aerospace):

565 F-22A x $177.6 mil. = $100.3 Bil.

To restore the "bomb truck" requirement, we'll pour enough cash into J-UCAS to get that running. Boeing claimed $10-15 mil fir each UCAS, but we'll budget in some price overuns anyway... and X-47 is intended for Carrier use, so that'll keep the Navy happy.

3,000 X-45C/X-47B @ $20 mil = $60 Bil.

And to round out our bomber fleet, we'll pick up the 40 B-2s Northrop Grumman offered a few years back:

40 B-2 x @ $735 mil = $29.4 Bil.

And heck, let's grab a few Global Hawks to replace the old U-2S

70 RQ-4 x $26,000,000 = $1.8 bil (snerk).

So we've covered air supperiority, tactical and strategic bombing, and we've spent lots and lots of cash. But we've still got plenty left. Next item on the USAF's list seems to be tanker support, so lets grab some KC-767s:

100 x KC-767 @ $200 mil. = $20 bil.

... and lets write a check for some C-17s while we've got Boeing on the line...

150 x C-17 @ $200 mil = $30 bil.

... and order up another batch of C-130Js while we're at it...

300 x C-130J @ $70 mil = $21 bil.

Which should take care of the USAF for a while, and leaves us with over $50 bil. to play with, so lets see what we can do for the Navy. EFV has high priority and funding problems, but we've still got plenty of cash...

$6.7 Bill = 1013 EFVs.

And while we're at it, lets take care of DD(X), there's still enough cash for at least two...

2 DDG-1000 x $3.3 bil = $6.6 Bil.

Which leaves only $200 mil in the bank... call it a rounding error and I'd say we're done.

*****************************************

To be fair, this isn't in any way an accurate exercise, if only because a big chunk of the JSF budget has already been spent on R&D, and military prices are rather hard to pin down accuratley (I did my best) and change quickly. Also, I picked programs based on the pricetag and stated priorities of the services, not nessesarily because I'd want to see them completed.

But it's worth looking at the $276 being spent on JSF not as a lump sum of cash (its hard to immagine numbers at that scale) but as what else we could have if those funds had been directed into other projects.

So I'll leave that as the question for everyone: would you spend your $276 bil. on the Lightning II program, or would you distribute your defense funds differently?




posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 03:38 AM
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What you are saying is totally useless, I'am sorry. I get the feeling that you only want many planes in the USAF fleet.

First of all, what on earth does the USAF do with 565 F-22, that can only engage in air combat. Totally useless because the planes ordered are enough to do the job. You are forgetting that the F-22 is not replacing an other plane, it serving beside other fighters as an air-superiority fighter. And it's win-to-loose ratio is calculated to be enough to take down any enemy air-force.

3000 X-45 C? You must be joking. There is no need for 3000 UCAV. Check how many B-1B the USAF has, and then get back to me. Those bombers are enough and have always been awailable to give air support when needed.

About the B-2, you can't just "pick up some new planes". 21 B-2 are perfectly enough to destroy any target on this planet with one in-flight refuelling. You don't need 40 more. Because that would lead to having 40 planes in the hangar.

You say 150 x C-17 and 300 C-130J more. Again I ask, what to do with those planes. The USAF has enough transport planes in their fleet. Besides I think the C-130J has some problems if I remember correctly.

To answear your question, YES I would spend those 247 billion $ on that program because the Lightning II is a multi-role fighter and can take care of missions required in the future, not missions today.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 05:13 AM
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FIN,

Sorry for the confusion, but I didn't pick out these projects because I thought we needed them. We probably don't need 750 raptors, but that was the original plan so I stuck with it. Likewise at one point or another the Pentagon had stated requirements for 135 B-2s, 350 C-17s, and 32 DD(X) destroyers. My own view is that we don't need all those machines - or the Marine corp. EFVs really - but that wasn't what I was trying to point out.

And I didn't mean to imply that buying military equipment was as simple as swiping your VISA at the register and allowing 4-6 weeks for shipping...

The only goal was to show just how much cash $276 bil. is, in eqivalent defense programs, as compared to a single massive investment in JSF. And yeah, now that you mention it, that did end up buying a whole bunch of airfcraft...


[eddited for miserable spelling *and* grammer]

[edit on 26-8-2006 by RedMatt]



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 05:43 AM
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Originally posted by RedMatt
The only goal was to show just how much cash $276 bil. is, in eqivalent defense programs, as compared to a single massive investment in JSF. And yeah, now that you mention it, that did end up buying a whole bunch of airfcraft...



hell that was an intresting read for me because i never realaised how much the f-35 is costing in terms of equvilent defense projects, but it is a neccesery evil to spend so much even if the us is treating the rest of its partners like poo.

justin



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 06:32 AM
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Originally posted by RedMatt
FIN,

Sorry for the confusion, but I didn't pick out these projects because I thought we needed them. We probably don't need 750 raptors, but that was the original plan so I stuck with it. Likewise at one point or another the Pentagon had stated requirements for 135 B-2s, 350 C-17s, and 32 DD(X) destroyers. My own view is that we don't need all those machines - or the Marine corp. EFVs really - but that wasn't what I was trying to point out.

And I didn't mean to imply that buying military equipment was as simple as swiping your VISA at the register and allowing 4-6 weeks for shipping...

The only goal was to show just how much cash $276 bil. is, in eqivalent defense programs, as compared to a single massive investment in JSF. And yeah, now that you mention it, that did end up buying a whole bunch of airfcraft...


[eddited for miserable spelling *and* grammer]

[edit on 26-8-2006 by RedMatt]


I understand your point now, it's a lot of money, but the only thing we can hope is it will be well spent.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 08:05 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
First of all, what on earth does the USAF do with 565 F-22, that can only engage in air combat. Totally useless because the planes ordered are enough to do the job.


Sorry Fin but according to the USAF that's not true, they have consistently said that they need at least 380 F-22’s to fill 10 squadrons. Right now They’re only getting 183, is this a case of the AF wanting more than is necessary? Perhaps, but they’re fighting tooth and nail and doing everything they can to keep the F-22 alive so they can order more.

Oh and BTW, the F-22 has A2G capability too, although not as much as the F-35.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 08:56 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23


Sorry Fin but according to the USAF that's not true, they have consistently said that they need at least 380 F-22’s to fill 10 squadrons. Right now They’re only getting 183, is this a case of the AF wanting more than is necessary? Perhaps, but they’re fighting tooth and nail and doing everything they can to keep the F-22 alive so they can order more.

Oh and BTW, the F-22 has A2G capability too, although not as much as the F-35.


Yes, 380 planes. But the differnece between 565 and 380 is rather big, 185 planes (wich is the same number they are getting now). I'am not saying that they wouldn't mind more planes. But the 183 are perfectly enough in my opinion. I'am aware of that it has A2G capabilities, but as I see it is just smaller bombs it can carry, not heavier equipment. And I dont' think it will be used much in this role, first of all because there are enough F-35 to do that, and second of all I just think this is somkind of idea to give the plane an other dimension. Like havinga car with automatic gearbox, you can live without it, but it's nicer to have it.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Yes, 380 planes. But the differnece between 565 and 380 is rather big, 185 planes (wich is the same number they are getting now). I'am not saying that they wouldn't mind more planes. But the 183 are perfectly enough in my opinion.


I know, I'm just pointing out that the USAF says they need 380, and no offense but I’ll take the word of the USAF on that one.


And the F-22 can carry JDAM's and in the not so distant future SDM's. I can picture quite a few scenarios where the F-22 could be useful for A2G, first it’s stealthier than the F-35 and if offers kinematics no other "bomb tuck" or bomber can. So for a very heavily defended target an F-22 in conjunction with a few B-2's might be the way to go.

Now that does not mean an F-22 can replace the bombers and the F-35, or that it will be used for A2G often it just means it can be useful in some A2G scenarios.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 11:06 AM
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Great post. It really shows what waste of money JSF is. Just some corrections - the new F-22 would cost only 110 and not 170 millions so you can have app. 1000 of them (and it this case the price will go down app. to 90 millions). Now that's some force! And the talks like F-22 can do only Air to Air job are untrue. Actually it would be much better than JSF for ground strikes because it is stealthier and can supercruise. If enemy finds way to overcome JSF stealth, F-35 is screwed. It is not nearly as maneuvrable as it's oponents and it's speed is not something special too. Surely F-22 has smaller internal bays, but what about those new external stealthy underwing bomb bays? I saw some proposal concernig them. The point is - Raptor could easily carry 4 of them underwing, each with 5000 lbs bunker buster. Surely it would be not able to supercruise with them but JSF cannot supercruise too. I think such stealthy pods would be much cheaper and easier to make than new plane.
Concering bombers I think 40 B-2 are too much but 20 B-2 and new 150 B-1 Regional (B-1 with F-22 engines and supercruise) would be much better option.
Strategic bombers are much better than tactical bombers, because they carry more bombs and HAVE LONGER RANGE. No more need for bases in persian gulf for example. Those bases could be vulnerable especially for new balistic misilles.
3000 UCAVs are too much, i think, half is enough so you'll have 30 billions left - you can give them to Navy to buy more 450-500 Superhornets.
150 C-17 ARE definitely necessary, in fact it would be still not enough.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23

I know, I'm just pointing out that the USAF says they need 380, and no offense but I’ll take the word of the USAF on that one.


And the F-22 can carry JDAM's and in the not so distant future SDM's. I can picture quite a few scenarios where the F-22 could be useful for A2G, first it’s stealthier than the F-35 and if offers kinematics no other "bomb tuck" or bomber can. So for a very heavily defended target an F-22 in conjunction with a few B-2's might be the way to go.

Now that does not mean an F-22 can replace the bombers and the F-35, or that it will be used for A2G often it just means it can be useful in some A2G scenarios.


You'd be a fool to take my word
The USAF spends our defence budget on possible scenarios so I think they know more than me. But my opinion is that 180 is enough, except if they are planning a new war in the not so distant future.

Indeed, it will not be somekind if close air support plane and as you said (and I agree) the F-22 could well be used in high fortification bases.


Great post. It really shows what waste of money JSF is. Just some corrections - the new F-22 would cost only 110 and not 170 millions so you can have app. 1000 of them (and it this case the price will go down app. to 90 millions). Now that's some force! And the talks like F-22 can do only Air to Air job are untrue. Actually it would be much better than JSF for ground strikes because it is stealthier and can supercruise. If enemy finds way to overcome JSF stealth, F-35 is screwed. It is not nearly as maneuvrable as it's oponents and it's speed is not something special too. Surely F-22 has smaller internal bays, but what about those new external stealthy underwing bomb bays? I saw some proposal concernig them. The point is - Raptor could easily carry 4 of them underwing, each with 5000 lbs bunker buster. Surely it would be not able to supercruise with them but JSF cannot supercruise too. I think such stealthy pods would be much cheaper and easier to make than new plane.
Concering bombers I think 40 B-2 are too much but 20 B-2 and new 150 B-1 Regional (B-1 with F-22 engines and supercruise) would be much better option.
Strategic bombers are much better than tactical bombers, because they carry more bombs and HAVE LONGER RANGE. No more need for bases in persian gulf for example. Those bases could be vulnerable especially for new balistic misilles.
3000 UCAVs are too much, i think, half is enough so you'll have 30 billions left - you can give them to Navy to buy more 450-500 Superhornets.
150 C-17 ARE definitely necessary, in fact it would be still not enough.


The F-22 does not cost 110, I think it lies around 120-130 million $.

The F-22 is not designed for A2G and is therefore not as good as other planes. Just because it's manoverable doesn't make it a good attack fighter.

[edit on 26-8-2006 by Figher Master FIN]



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
But my opinion is that 180 is enough, except if they are planning a new war in the not so distant future.


Buddy, this is the United States, a new war is not referred to by if but rather by when.



[edit on 26-8-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 11:29 AM
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F-15 was also not designed for A2G and look at the Strike Eagle. They just added conformal fuel tanks and few sensors and it is now one of the best Atack planes. All it takes to convert F-22 to A2G role is to add some IR and perhaps LADAR sensors into the nose and develop those stealthy pods. It's range is already very good. And as I said after this few adaptations (which will probably add no more than 10 million to the aricraft price) F-22 will be superior to JSF. Not because of maneuvrability but also because of supercruise. Like I said stealth is JSF only weapon in other aspects save range it is inferior even to Eurofighter or Rafale. F-22 has also superior speed and maneuvrability, so it has 3 advantages over oponents. And like said it will not cost substantialy more than JSF.
The best thing about those big planes like F-15, Su-27 and F-22 is that can be adapted to new roles more easily than smaller ones.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23

Buddy, this is the United States, a new war is not referred to if but rather by when.



Joke of the day.



Originally posted by longbow
F-15 was also not designed for A2G and look at the Strike Eagle. They just added conformal fuel tanks and few sensors and it is now one of the best Atack planes. All it takes to convert F-22 to A2G role is to add some IR and perhaps LADAR sensors into the nose and develop those stealthy pods. It's range is already very good. And as I said after this few adaptations (which will probably add no more than 10 million to the aricraft price) F-22 will be superior to JSF. Not because of maneuvrability but also because of supercruise. Like I said stealth is JSF only weapon in other aspects save range it is inferior even to Eurofighter or Rafale. F-22 has also superior speed and maneuvrability, so it has 3 advantages over oponents. And like said it will not cost substantialy more than JSF.
The best thing about those big planes like F-15, Su-27 and F-22 is that can be adapted to new roles more easily than smaller ones.


You make it sounds so easy.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 11:05 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
The F-22 does not cost 110, I think it lies around 120-130 million $.


I did some further looking, and according to GAO (best source I would think) a further 100 Raptors would cost $117 mil per paircraft. By comparison Lightning should cost $118 per jet after the latest delays.

i.e. we're paying more for our low-end jet than our high-end jet. Oops.


The F-22 is not designed for A2G and is therefore not as good as other planes. Just because it's manoverable doesn't make it a good attack fighter.


Actually the F-22 Raptor is an ideal bomber, but it's not manueverability that matters so much as speed. The ability to drop bombs while Supercruising means they can be "thrown" much further than possible with existing bombers. In other words, Raptor with SDBs will probably have greater range than the short/medium range SAMs trying to defend against it.

Where Raptor falls short is the ability to find its own targets. However the AESA radar can be updated to include A2G modes through software updates alone, and in the interim F-22s can accepty target data by other aircraft such as JSTARS.



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 08:40 AM
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Originally posted on RedMatt
Where Raptor falls short is the ability to find its own targets. However the AESA radar can be updated to include A2G modes through software updates alone, and in the interim F-22s can accepty target data by other aircraft such as JSTARS.


Already in the works, and seeing as how during the summer Raptors scored 60 direct hits with JDAM’s even from extended ranges I’d say the A2G systems on it are pretty good.

AN/APG-77 A2G



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 12:56 PM
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Quoting Waynos.


Mainly just the fact that more cost effective in the role, thats all that does it really. With modern airframes you can modify them to do anything, within reason.

For a battlefield ground attack support mission using something as big and expensive as the F-22 would just be a waste of money.

Of course the F-22 has it's upsides, that I admit.

The F-22 would be better for longer range, high altitude bombing where the F-35 might need to carry external tanks to get there.



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 01:30 PM
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Just to clarify, I didn't say 'the F-22 has its up sides', for the record I think its bloody marvellous


The rest of it is mine though.



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 03:23 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
For a battlefield ground attack support mission using something as big and expensive as the F-22 would just be a waste of money.


Big and expensive... I JSF budget shows quite clearly that F-35 will probably have the same price as F-22... Not good it all, when you ask me, I don't understand why everyone says it's cost effective.



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by longbow
F-15 was also not designed for A2G and look at the Strike Eagle. They just added conformal fuel tanks and few sensors and it is now one of the best Atack planes. All it takes to convert F-22 to A2G role is to add some IR and perhaps LADAR sensors into the nose and develop those stealthy pods. It's range is already very good. And as I said after this few adaptations (which will probably add no more than 10 million to the aricraft price) F-22 will be superior to JSF. Not because of maneuvrability but also because of supercruise. Like I said stealth is JSF only weapon in other aspects save range it is inferior even to Eurofighter or Rafale. F-22 has also superior speed and maneuvrability, so it has 3 advantages over oponents. And like said it will not cost substantialy more than JSF.
The best thing about those big planes like F-15, Su-27 and F-22 is that can be adapted to new roles more easily than smaller ones.

Strange, I believe they gave the F-15 a HUGE airframe overhaul for the Strike Eagle program. For one, it's payload is over 40,000 lbs, I don't think that was in the original project, so they obviously made some changes around the airframe if I do say so. And no, making these changes to an aircraft is everything but as easy as you make it sound.

Not all big planes can be adapted as you say either, atleast no in my opinion, and definitely not the F-22A, the Su-27 changed dramatically from its original conception, and the F-22A has only changed to be more speedy, stealthy, and manueverable and in almost no other areas from its original conception. The F-22A's airframe is already at the point where it needs to be at and cannot change, otherwise compromises and sacrifices will have to be made, possibly degrading the value of the airframe.

The F-22A in my opinion is by no means a flexible airframe, but the JSF is, which is why the JSF is such an asset, because it is flexible just like the Su-27 and the F-15.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by longbow

Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
For a battlefield ground attack support mission using something as big and expensive as the F-22 would just be a waste of money.


Big and expensive... I JSF budget shows quite clearly that F-35 will probably have the same price as F-22... Not good it all, when you ask me, I don't understand why everyone says it's cost effective.


Probably have the same price? I haven't seen any definite figures and the ones I have seem appear to be unrealistically low for the F-22, in my opinion of course.

Cost effectiveness is not puely determined by the purchase price either, there is maintenance intensiveness, airframe availability and direct operating costs all to be considered. The UK defence budget (for example) would collapse under the strain of buying *and maintaining and operating* a viable force of F-22's but seems to be geared up to coping with the F-35 perfectly well.



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