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F-22 upgrade is over budget and behind schedule

F-35 operating costs will reach $1T
Officials think management will get the operating costs of the F-35 down

Any time the USAF or other branches of the armed service need a replacement for an aging aircraft, the cost of the development and maintenance are a huge budgetary issue for the military and lawmakers in Washington. Two of the most expensive weapons programs in the last several decades have been the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.

The F-22 is due for an incremental upgrade to its hardware and software that some officials say is already behind on delivery and over its cost projections. The update in question is called Increment 3.2.

Air Force procurement Chief David Van Buren told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "The Increment 3.2 that we're currently working on for the F-22 for our war-fighting customer is taking too long to implement. We are working with the company [Lockheed Martin] to try to speed that up and make it more affordable."

The cause of the delay in delivery stems from the programming language used called Ada. The Ada language was once a DoD standard, but the use of the language has waned in the last 15 years. Analyst Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute said, "It tends to impede quick upgrades to the system to which it is the base software." Thompson also said, "The affordability of any upgrade becomes debatable when you purchase a relatively small number of upgrades."

The new upgrade is being applied to the 187 Raptors built by Lockheed, two of which have been lost to accidents. The upgrade will allow the F-22 to carry the AIM-9x infrared-guided air-to-air missile and the AIM 120D medium-range Air-to-Air missile and attack up to eight different targets with the 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs. Lockheed is looking for ways to reduce the cost of the upgrade right now.

The F-35 program is also again the center of focus on costs. This time lawmakers and military commanders are looking at the long-term costs of maintaining and operating the F-35 fleet. The Pentagon has estimated that the cost to operate the F-35 fighters through 2065 will be more than $1 trillion.

Procurement Chief Ashton Carter said, "Over the lifetime of this program, the decade or so, the per-aircraft cost of the 2,443 aircraft has doubled in real terms. That's what it's going to cost if we keep doing what we're doing. That's unacceptable. That's unaffordable."

However, he noted that the massive $1 trillion number can’t be taken at face value because management steps over the life of the aircraft will bring costs down. Carter said, "I truly believe that we can manage out a substantial number of the production and sustainment costs."

There has been technology sharing between the F-22 and the F-35 with some stealth coatings developed for the F-35 being applied to the older F-22 aircraft. The F-35 fleet was grounded in March when an in-flight failure of the generator aboard a test aircraft occurred.



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RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By TSS on 5/20/2011 12:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
It won't be 1 trillion. It'll be 3.

I sincerely doubt that number has been corrected for inflation - future inflation. What cost you 100 bucks in 2000, will cost you 125 bucks in 2010.

So what costs $100 in 2010, will cost $343.32 in 2065, applying 25% inflation per decade. If their saying the program's costs are $1 trillion in 2010 money, then it'll be $3,43 trillion in 2065 money. So the actual amount of money spent will be somewhere in between.

And people say Inflation is no big deal. You do realise that something that costs $100 bucks in 2010 cost only $8.03 back in 1800? Reversed, something that cost $100 in 1800 cost $1265.30 in 2010, and will cost around $4344 in 2065.

Amazing isn't it? And that's just with 2,5% per year inflation. Of 2000-2010, 7 years averaged above that and 4 below, 2 of which after the crisis. Juli 2008 saw an annualized rate of 5,6%!

Pretty soon you won't be able to afford to stomp anything.


RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By HrilL on 5/20/2011 1:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
thanks for making me feel better about making 46k a year. Sure at one time it was actually a good wage but now days in my town I am so poor. =( FML


RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By tim851 on 5/20/2011 3:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You do realise that something that costs $100 bucks in 2010 cost only $8.03 back in 1800?


Yes, but in 1800 somebody making 12.000 dollars per year was an insanely rich person. Inflation doesn't make things more expensive, it devaluates money, because more money is printed.
That's how people's incomes are steadily increasing but their wealth isn't.

And so yes, in 2065, it will cost more money, but the federal government will have more money to spend because people are paying more money in taxes.


RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By interstitial on 5/20/2011 7:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
12 US dollars in 1800 would be worth a little over 150 dollars now, adjusted for inflation.


RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By JMC2000 on 5/21/2011 10:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, you know he/she meant 12,000 with a comma.


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