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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 FaaR on 5/20/2011 6:48:52 PM , Rating: -1
You'd have a very noteworthy point, except all the other stuff you mention actually fulfil useful functions in society, while the F35 is an aircraft which cannot do anything except kill people .

$1T spread out over 50+ years is still $1T which could arguably be put to better use. To those who instead argue that the F35 (and several other aircraft like it) are vital for american defense, consider that american defense isn't so much defense as an poorly veiled euphemism for offense, and if you were truly concerned with defense only you wouldn't need to spend all that much money really.

After all, Mexico and Canada aren't going to invade you guys anytime soon.

RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By inperfectdarkness on 5/20/2011 8:41:08 PM , Rating: 2
not getting it at all, are you?

the military is an INSURANCE policy. it's as simple as that. if you don't want to fund the military, thats' fine. i'll also assume that you don't have insurance on your car, your house, your life, or any of a myriad of other things.

unfortunately for your feeble logic; your "military insurance policy" works substantially different from other types of insurance. skimping on insurance is dangerous. spend enough; and it's a virtual guarantee it won't ever be in desperate need. don't spend enough, and you might as well not have spent anything at all.

i'll also point out that your assertion that the USA is only vulnerable to attack from canada and mexico is distinctly a 19th century strategic sentiment. perhaps if andrew jackson was still president, your argument would have some validity.


RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By Skywalker123 on 5/20/2011 10:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yeh, we're insurance poor, cause we buy more "insurance" than anyone else.

RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By inperfectdarkness on 5/21/2011 2:21:46 AM , Rating: 2
as a function of GDP...yes, but not by much. we're not even in the top 10 of countries by defense spending as a function of GDP.

when you factor in the fact that we indigenously research, develop, manufacture and produce all of these weapons systems...that figure starts to make a LOT more sense.

i guess though that 1% of the population defending the other 99% is too much for you.

RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By Skywalker123 on 5/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By JW.C on 5/21/2011 6:26:05 PM , Rating: 3
Thats because they've never been on the business end of an AK.

RE: haha this is so ridiculous
By Skywalker123 on 5/21/11, Rating: 0
By Divide Overflow on 5/21/2011 2:23:54 AM , Rating: 2
Mexico is and has been actively invading the US for quite some time now. If this is news to you, it's no wonder the rest of your comments are complete tripe.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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