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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 ZmaxDP on 5/20/2011 4:22:26 PM , Rating: 0
Uhhh.... Not quite.

33 Million college educations at 33,000... Last time I checked even going to a state funded school that's a pipe dream. Double it and you're close. Still, an impressive number of degrees could result from that, 15 Million isn't bad. Of course, figure a 30% drop out rate and you're closer to 10 Million. To me, this would totally be worth the money. education has a great ROI. Of course, I think we should spend it on increasing teacher pay and improving the lower education system instead of the higher education system.

21 Million low income houses at 47,600... That's almost half the actual average cost of HUD projects which are generally non-profit:
Look at page 14 for actual costs/square foot or page 19 for costs per unit which is the most comparable to what you're talking about. From those numbers, we're look at 73,000 per unit, not 47,600. Once again, 13.7 Million is a lot of houses. However, considering the ROI from affordable housing I'd much prefer my government invest a trillion dollars in something that actually provides a significant number of long term higher paying jobs. Affordable housing would give us a nice bump in short term construction, but long term it actually cuts out of the private housing market and most of the jobs vanish once the construction is complete.

9,000 miles of high speed rail at 21,000 per linear foot... I'm sorry, I'm not a high speed rail expert. But, I fail to see how this would ever pay off. Assuming you're talking just construction costs, what about maintenance? That's money in addition to this? No thanks. There are probably less metropolitan areas than you can count on your two hands that would benefit enough from this to make it worthwhile. If it made sense financially, someone would be building it privately. I'd rather spend this on F35s...

200 comprehensive metropolitan subway systems... Um, not likely. Even a relatively small metro system like DC's is over 100 miles of track. New York's (big daddy) is 700 miles. Now, I suppose it depends on what your definition of "comprehensive" is. It also depends on what you're including in the costs. Most underground rapid transit is on the order of 100 million dollars per mile. At that rate, you'd get 50 miles of track in 200 cities. That's all. If you went to surface light rail construction costs are a reasonable 35 million per mile, but that doesn't count land costs in paying off property holders. So, it's usually much closer to the 100 million per mile that a subway is once that is included. Also, very few rapid transit systems in operation are net positive without subsidies. DART gets somewhere around 350 to 400 million a year in sales tax revenues on top of its fares to operate. You need a certain level of density for commuter rail / rapid transit / whatever you want to call it to actually be self sustaining and cost effective (not cost the taxpayers money every year). That cut off is somewhere around 20,000 people per square mile. That gets us New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami at over 20,000. Boston is close at 18,000. Next on the list is Chicago at 15,000. So, there are maybe 5 metropolitan cities that could realistically support a subway without incurring a yearly tax burden. Whatever life-cycle cost you want to throw at it, that's way less than 200 cities. ROI is questionable, but better then affordable housing by most accounts.

1/14 the of the current national debt - bingo.

Of course, I'd like to pump it into Nasa and/or private space exploration companies, or DARPA. That has historically show an even higher ROI in terms of long term tax revenues than even education...

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