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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 Solandri on 5/21/2011 10:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen those charts before and the welfare spending is indeed scary but saying that something that costs us about 1/3 of our government's tax receipts is irrelevant is absolutely ludicrous.

1) Defense spending was closer to 1/4 of the 2010 tax receipts. That's $533.7b base + $130b for Iraq and Afghanistan operations (p. 53) vs. total receipts of $2.381 trillion (p. 114).
(533.7+130)/2381 = 27.9%

I'm guessing your source incorrectly took the $75.5b extra for 2009 and attributed it to 2010 (which would put it at 31%, but would drop the 2009 defense spending by a corresponding amount).

2) Measured against 2010 tax receipts, entitlements were (p. 117):
($693b + $453b + $290b) / $2381b = 60.4% of tax receipts.

3) Spending 28% of our government's tax receipts on defense will be irrelevant when entitlements exceed 100% of tax receipts as they're projected to do.

Look, we have a budget problem.

- Completely eliminating defense spending does not fix the problem.
- Reducing medicare/medicaid fixes the problem.

Given those conditions, simple logic dictates that we need to be focusing on fixing medicare/medicaid, not on reducing defense spending. That's all I'm saying. You can cut defense too if you want, but the main focus has to be on cutting medicare/medicaid costs. That's why I responded to the OP who said we should look into cutting defense instead. His sentiment is precisely the wrong priority we should be giving these things.

How very naive. Notice in your "figure 3" link another balloning part of the graph: interest.

The proper way to account for interest is to apportion it relative to the amount of spending. Social security, medicare, and medicaid account for 40.5% of 2010 spending, so 40.5% of the interest is due to them. Defense accounts for 18.7% of spending, so 18.7% of the interest is due to it. (More precisely, you'd go do this for all past budgets which ran a deficit, and weight according to the amount of deficit that year. But I don't have time to do that. You get the idea though.)

By cruisin3style on 5/22/2011 12:32:33 AM , Rating: 1
Just because I call someone naive for thinking defense (which accounts for one of the largest portions of our overall spending) is insignificant to our problems doesn't mean I think it is our biggest problem, nor does it mean it will take several paragraphs to convice me of it.

FYI, I think total FY 2010 defense spending was 800+ billion.

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