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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: So what we need to do to fund this is
By JW.C on 5/21/2011 6:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the thing about social security. SS brings in about $940 billion a year. Currently, SS payments run about $700 billion. If we could get the arse holes in congress to stop spending the extra funds and put it in even a 5% interest account. Social security would be self funding by the end of the life cycle on these aircraft.

Just so we realize that Social Security more than pays for itself. Its the pricks in congress that are spending it into bankruptcy.

By Solandri on 5/21/2011 10:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'd agree, except Social Security was set up with the initial beneficiaries receiving money even though they never paid into it. From a strict accounting standpoint, SS has always been running a deficit. You add up all the money it has paid out over the years since it was implemented, and all the money it is obligated to pay out to people who have paid in. Then when you compare to how much money it has taken in over the years, you see that it is operating at a deficit.

Essentially, it's like floating checks. You don't have the enough money in the bank to actually pay for the checks. So you count on the time delay between when you mail off the checks (when a citizen pays into SS) to when the checks is cashed (when the citizen collects SS) to gather enough money to put into the account to pay for the checks. Saying SS is operating at a surplus is like pointing to this bank account at any given time and saying "See? There's money in it!" It completely ignores that obligations to pay for checks you've already mailed out easily exceed the amount of money you have in the account.

By SPOOFE on 5/22/2011 3:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
If we could get the arse holes in congress to stop spending the extra funds and put it in even a 5% interest account.

They can't legally do that.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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