posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 01:28 PM
The article says that,
One Pentagon estimate last year for an aircraft plus support costs for the first few years came out at £154m ($253m) each.
I know that the cost per plane over the lifetime of the production run will fall, but is £154m, initially, each just too much?
One of the things I've noticed in F-35 reporting is that the costs are always listed as unit cost plus. In this case, plus support program (spare
parts/engines, simulators, other LM provided training for X number of years), while other aircraft are generally reported at unit cost.
One of Canada's latest reports had the cost listed by lifetime cycle costs! That includes all the parts, fuel, training, and even disposal
over the life of the aircraft service (probably 40+ years if the legacy aircraft are any indication and service lifes are definitely
strongly trending upward)!
When you buy a car, you never factor the costs as list price+fuel+insurance+maintenance over seven years for the BMW compared to list price on a
Volvo. Politically motivated reporting (thinly veiled opinion pieces) have started doing this with the F-35.
Would an adapted version of the Typhoon not have been cheaper and just as capable?
Doubtful. When you factor support costs and smaller fleet size for the current generation of Typhoon you rapidly approach the F-35 price. Add a
development cost to enhance them (whether it's avionics or RCS or aerodynamics or all the above) and the unit cost skyrockets.
"The aircraft, originally called the Eurofighter in a joint project with Germany, Italy and Spain, was conceived in the cold war when the
Ministry of Defence ordered 232. The RAF will end up having fewer than half that number from a project in which the cost of each plane has increased
by 75% to £126m each.
The overall project is costing £20.2bn, £3.5bn more than first expected, says the report by MPs on the Commons cross-party public accounts
committee. The RAF has had to spend an extra £2.7bn buying 16 additional aircraft it does not need to honour contractual commitments to other
countries producing the planes. In 2019, it will scrap more than 50 Typhoon jets that became operational only three years ago to a cost of more than
£4.5bn because it cannot afford to update them.
160 airframes under contract for £20.2bn for Typhoon.
14 airframes first run contract for £2.5bn for F-35.
To be clear, the Typhoon will be superior in a knife-fight and available sooner, but it won't offer the same type of integration capability and
versatility as the F-35. I'm not sure if the F-35 number includes money that the UK has already fronted for development or if they did that for the
EFA programs etc when including the Typhoon number, but I'm trying to get apples to apples. That's a pretty favourable first contract for a stealthy
I would have cancelled JSF several years ago, but it's too late for that now. With over 100 of them off the line already, the program has too much
momentum to fall now. At the end of the day, the west should have a pretty capable fighter on its hands.