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Once all costs are figured in Davis says the bomber will cost more than the target per unit

When we reported on the U.S. Air Force’s plans for a next generation long-range bomber priced at $550 million a pop, our commenters were quick to point out that there was no way that figure could be accurate. Military procurement programs have the tendency to spiral out of control with regards to costs, as witnessed by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
 
The USAF's top acquisition officer, Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, agrees and says that costs for the bomber will definitely be higher than the quoted figure.
 
Davis said, “Is it going to be $550 million a copy? No, of course it’s not going to be $550 million a copy once you add in everything.”
 
Davis also noted that the military would try to stick as close to that budget of $550 million each as possible. One of the ways the USAF will try and keep to that budget is by preventing extra requirements and untested tech from being included in the platform.


Lt. Gen. Charles R. Davis, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
 
And unlike the troubled F-35 program, the winning design team – Northrop Grumman or Lockheed Martin/Boeing – for the next generation bomber will only have to satisfy the needs of the USAF. The F-35 has to appease – and adjust to changing operational requirements from – the USAF, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and the numerous ally nations that have bought into the program.
 
The bomber program also got a significant boost in funding in the FY2015 budget when the funds for research, development, testing, and evaluation were bumped from $379 million to $914 million.
 
The USAF plans to purchase 80 to 100 of the new bombers. 

Source: Defense News



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RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By OS on 3/6/2014 11:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
the production lines for both the B1 and B2 are long closed, starting another production line is of course expensive


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 11:54:24 AM , Rating: 2
We probably don't even need more of them than we already have and wont for some time.

But even if we do, I can't see how starting the production lines back up would be MORE expensive than a new billion dollar bomber.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By sorry dog on 3/6/2014 12:30:56 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, you do realize that airplanes do kinda tend to wear out with time and use, right?

The air force has to fly them to keep the planes and crews ready and proficient.

quote:
But even if we do, I can't see how starting the production lines back up would be MORE expensive than a new billion dollar bomber.


Maybe not but it's not really cheaper either. A 777 cost 300+ million, and it's been manufactured for 20 years and Boeing makes more money on the support contracts than the actual purchase...And if you gotta spend the money anyway to have heavy bomber capability, then why not spend it on something designed in 201X rather than 1985.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 12:39:47 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
And if you gotta spend the money anyway to have heavy bomber capability, then why not spend it on something designed in 201X rather than 1985.


Yeah because we have new and exciting modern threats like:

1. Guys standing around holding AK-47's
2. Guys hiding in caves
3. Guys driving around in unarmored vehicles decades old
4. Suicide bombers

You know what, I think our "1980's" technology has done pretty well against the kind of threats we're facing today.

I still believe in peace through strength, don't get me wrong. But a new bomber? That's just pointless right now.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Grast5150 on 3/6/2014 2:23:28 PM , Rating: 5
Reclaimer,

You and I are normally on the same page. However in this instance I have to disagree. The B-52 fleet is not just ageing but damn right elderly and needs to be replaced. The B1 is a maintenance nightmare and limited capability compared to B-52. The B2 is not available in sufficient quantatity and is too expensive a resource to use on targets which do not need the stealth component.

In the end, the air force in order to perform their job needs a new heavy bomber which is economical built with semi-stealth ability and heavy payload. In short, we need a replacement for the B-52. That is the purpose of this program.

I know you understand the budget of the US and this is not targeted at you. 2015 budget has defense at 59B. That is 22% of total spending. 26% is descresionary spending, the remainder of spending 52% is on social security and medicare.

We need to cut spending. Defense and thus this program is small fly in comparison to the white elephant in the room known as social security and medicare. Entitlement need to change. NOTE: not be eliminated but changed!!!!!!!!

So to end my diatribe on subject, If the government via proxy the air force wants a new bomber to meet their role for national defence, I have no objections.

Defense is the one role which the Federal government is suppose to actually do. Rather than provide pensions and medical care for its citizens. I believe that retirement and medical care is personal responsibility and NOT the responsibility for the government to provide by taking money out of other peoples pocket and giving to me.

Later..


By NullSubroutine on 3/6/2014 2:39:14 PM , Rating: 3
And it's not like ,we the USofA, doesn't have the bestest relations with countries with sophisticated air defense systems like Russia, who would never invade another country that we would might not ever defend...so we would never need a bombing platform that could penetrate deep into a vast country to knock out said air defense systems...


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By fortiori on 3/6/2014 2:50:29 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Defense is the one role which the Federal government is suppose to actually do. Rather than provide pensions and medical care for its citizens.

quote:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


I love it when people define in their own terms what the government is "for" when it's already defined in the fucking founding document of the nation.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By FaaR on 3/13/2014 11:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
...Because something written a quarter millennia ago and 100% static, is forever perfect? Yeah. Like, say, the bible.

A nation exists for its people. Not the other way around. Times change. The fastest method of transportation is not horseback anymore, and the fastest method of messaging is not carrier pigeon.

An ancient document from the friggin renaissance period is obviously not going to fully encompass all the needs a modern nation has to fulfil, but it's cute when people like you pretend that it is so; I get to imagine you with long amish beards (kinda like a Taliban, really), waving threateningly with your fists at anything modern... ;)


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By retrospooty on 3/6/2014 2:57:19 PM , Rating: 4
" 2015 budget has defense at 59B. That is 22% of total spending. 26% is discretionary spending, the remainder of spending 52% is on social security and medicare."

I don't fundamentally disagree with what you are saying, but your #'s are way WAY off by almost a factor of 10. They are calling for a defense budget of $496-billion - which is a pretty steep cut already.

http://www.voanews.com/content/obama-holds-steady-...

Below is 2014's budget.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_United_States_fe...

Department of Defense including Overseas Contingency Operations 526.6
Department of Health and Human Services including Medicare and Medicaid 78.3
Department of Education 71.2
Department of Veterans Affairs 63.5
Department of Housing and Urban Development 33.1
Department of State and Other International Programs 48.1
Department of Homeland Security 39.0
Department of Energy 28.4
Department of Justice 16.3
Department of Agriculture 21.5
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 17.7
National Intelligence Program 48.2
Department of Transportation 16.3
Department of the Treasury 12.9
Department of the Interior 11.7

We spend more on defense than all other G20 nations combined and at some point enough is enough.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Solandri on 3/7/2014 6:02:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We spend more on defense than all other G20 nations combined and at some point enough is enough.

That type of comparison isn't really useful. The U.S. and Japan's GDP accounts for about 40% of the G20's GDP (the U.S. is bound by treaty to provide for Japan's national defense). So it's not really extraordinary that U.S. defense spending exceeds that of the rest of the G20 combined.

A neutral comparison of defense spending is just to look at it as a percent of GDP. If you do that, the U.S. comes in tied at #10 (with Russia), and its spending is about 1.76x the world average (4.4% vs 2.5%).

If you add in Japan's GDP, U.S. military spending as percent of GDP is 27th in the world and just 1.26x the world average.

U.S. military spending is high because it's got a huge economy and we're treaty-bound to protect Japan. Not because we're spending an outlandish fraction of our productivity on our military. (Click on the % of GDP column to sort by that stat. The chart is missing North Korea, which spends about a fifth of its GDP on the military. So you can actually drop the U.S. another notch.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_...


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By inperfectdarkness on 3/7/2014 6:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I was hoping someone would have brought up GDP. You also have to account for Russia and the USA being the 2 key weapons systems manufacturers (everyone buys their stuff) so that usually means those 2 countries also have to absorb the cost of development, etc.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Noya on 3/8/2014 6:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You also have to account for Russia and the USA being the 2 key weapons systems manufacturers (everyone buys their stuff) so that usually means those 2 countries also have to absorb the cost of development, etc.


And rake in on and off the book profits from legal and illegal arms sales.


By retrospooty on 3/7/2014 7:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, totally understood, I was just pointing out our defense budget is almost 10x more than the poster I replied to said it was... I am not saying we dont need it and should cut it in half or anything. I am saying we need to cut everything, defense included. 10% or so to start would be good. NOt because we want to, not because of any political agenda, but because we are broke and we have to.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Noya on 3/8/2014 6:25:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
U.S. military spending is high because it's got a huge economy


Based on what? Printing dollar bills? Raping citizens with 30% +/- tax rates and then having them bend over again for medical insurance to take another 10-15% of their income while corporations get refunds? Education...the other looming bubble of this propped up economy?


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By FITCamaro on 3/7/2014 8:17:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yes and we defend more countries with that military than any other country too.

Like it or not, the world needs a leader. And I'd prefer that leader to be the US instead of someone hostile to us. Isolationism has never worked out for the better. I don't advocate for getting involved in every petty conflict around the world. Civil wars should be left alone. But things like Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine smacks of the kind of start that Hitler had where if the world had whacked him over the head right away, we wouldn't have lost tens of millions of lives in a conflict that spanned the world. And we should try to refrain from repeating that mistake.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By drycrust3 on 3/6/2014 5:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The B-52 fleet is not just ageing but damn right elderly and needs to be replaced. The B1 is a maintenance nightmare and limited capability compared to B-52

Well, why not build one like a B52? Cut out the swing wings, cut out the extra high tech engines, and such like. According to Wikipedia, the cost to build a B52H is about $81M in current dollars, and the cost to maintain it is about $10k per flying hour, so why not aim for something to fit that sort of budget?
The point being is America seems to have now entered an era of financial restraint, so whatever you want to buy has to fit in with that, and as an outsider (I'm not American), it would seem to me that $550M+ is not the sort of aircraft that you want because even now the politicians won't like it, and in few years they will hate the thing and not want it on the books. If the generals want that plane then the cost will be less airforce bases, less personnel, less fighter planes, etc, and that is what concerns me here, because ultimately the end result of a $550M plane is less operationally cheaper aircraft.
Sure, there is a cost in a moderately priced not too advanced aircraft, like a smaller payload, less speed, more RADAR reflections, less leading edge technology, etc, but the benefit is it more easily fits your budget, it has less development time, it gets manufactured quicker, it gets deployed quicker, it has better reliability, there are more variants, and it is easier to get export sales.
Now that last one is interesting, because even an $81M Bomber would be difficult to sell to most democracies, but at least you'd get some sales, how difficult do you think it is going to be to sell a $550M plane to them? While there would be a whole lot of hand wringing over an $81M plane, most countries wouldn't hesitate to show the door to the salesman of a $550M plane.


By retrospooty on 3/6/2014 6:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
Because the govt isn't interested in saving money on military contracts. They are interested in buying overpriced gadgets to fill the coffers of their corporate sponsors. A mere "$100 million dollar" plane just isnt enough.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 6:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The B-52 fleet is not just ageing but damn right elderly and needs to be replaced


The B-52 is obsolete. It was designed for carpet bombing anyway. And I agree that it needs to be replaced, but my point was it already HAS been replaced.

quote:
The B1 is a maintenance nightmare and limited capability compared to B-52.


Okay now this I have a major objection to. First off I'm tired of seeing "maintenance" costs of existing craft as a reason to spend thousands of times MORE money in new designs. How does that make any sense?

Secondly umm less capable than the B-52?? It can carry more payload, travel faster and farther, and fulfill more missions than the B-52. I would like to see the 'Buff try low level penetration and suppression, for example.

quote:
So to end my diatribe on subject, If the government via proxy the air force wants a new bomber to meet their role for national defence, I have no objections.


Sure, then in 5 years this new bomber will be called a "maintenance nightmare" and the process will start all over again. In the name of "cost cutting", they'll say we need a newer bomber lol. siiigh.

quote:
Defense is the one role which the Federal government is suppose to actually do. Rather than provide pensions and medical care for its citizens.


I completely agree. And I'm not calling for defense to be crippled. We still have the most fearsome, the most mobile, the most kick-ass military on this rock.

I just don't understand why we "need" a new bomber. Especially for the threats we seem to be facing. Which are pretty much third-rate civilian insurgents and/or small time militias armed with Cold War era Soviet leftovers.

I mean, am I missing something?

You know, I think maybe the F-35 boondoggle left a bad taste in my mouth, a LOT of peoples mouths. Years ago I would be all for giving the Air Force whatever it wanted. But now? I need to see some kind of justification for a new bomber, or at least more information.

quote:
You and I are normally on the same page.


Then why don't we talk more? I look forward to seeing you more around here :)


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By DougF on 3/7/2014 4:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
If I may chime in with over 30 years of maintaining USAF aircraft...

Yes, every single airframe will eventually become a nightmare of maintenance costs. It happens that parts age, manufacturers go out of business, standards (military and civilian) change requiring entirely new components to handle communications and flight regimes and missions. When the BUFF was designed, there was no concept for loitering over a battlefield, providing close air support with laser or GPS guided munitions. International standards for conducting takeoffs and approaches required adding new components (sometimes new engines), wiring, testing, to ensure older USAF aircraft didn't need special permission and air lanes just to fly around the country and the world. And that's just two of dozens of requirement changes.

Did I moan and whine when my beloved F-111s were retired? Sure, but an honest appraisal of the manpower and maintenance costs made converting the F-15 into an air to ground E version worth it. Newer aircraft generally require fewer manpower positions for a variety of reasons that I won't get into detail here, but suffice it to say that manpower is fully 50% of the DoD budget.

Military aircraft have gone through a growth of complexity unparalleled in an any other field. From the simple prop fighters and bombers we have added penetration aids, defensive aids, fire control, engine controls, system controls, etc that require regular maintenance, ops checks, overhaul (and more so for older aircraft) to maintain. The USAF has gone through 3 iterations of maintenance specialties just in my lifetime, adjusting to the requirements dictated by the airframes. It used to be all systems were integrated into one area...the aircrew. Now, computers and millions of lines of software code do the integrating, allowing the pilots to concentrate on their mission. Older airframes and systems just weren't designed for that kind of integration, and updating them is a freakin' nightmare, let alone trying to keep analog and digital systems playing nice together. So, we have to convert older airframes from analog (B-52, KC-135, A-10, U-2, C-5, etc.) to digital at tremendous costs. But you can only do so much before the airframe simply can't do the missions needed not just today, but 10 and 15 years from now. I've had to deal with dies and jigs from the C-5, C-130, C-141, and F-15 production lines. We had to learn how to make and replace components on each of those aircraft that were never designed to be replaced. And it just gets worse as the aircraft ages out.

And unless it's within about 2-5 years of production, restarting production lines is just out of the question. The jigs and other components are scrapped or mothballed requiring either complete rebuild or overhauling, plants have to be opened up (they don't keep the plant in working order just in case it might be needed again), or build new ones because the old one is being used for another production line. Components have to be ordered and sometimes thats 2 years lead time out as those manufacturers are also doing something else or out of business and those dies and forms have probably been scrapped, etc. All this just to start building something that will probably not meet the needs of combatant commanders who are trying to cover everything from fighting guys in caves to WW III, to asymmetric warfare in heavily populated areas, and whatever new style of warfare that's cropped up since the last one of aircraft X was made.

Everyone loves to point fingers at the military that we're fighting this war with the last war's equipment. The moan and bemoan that the military didn't provide the absolute best for not only the nation's interest but for they men and women doing the actual fighting. So, we try to stay ahead of the change curve. For now it's fighting with air dominance in rugged terrain against guys in caves and villages. In 10 years we might be fighting country X over some speck of land or peninsula that is important for reason Y and they have a first-rate military bent on doing what we don't want them to do.

So, the question is, should we wait for something like that to arise? Knowing that it takes years to field new weapon systems or even modify older ones? You really want our sons and daughters using equipment that their grandfathers used? Are you personally willing to tell the parents of those killed in action that we decided that their children could just make do with what they had: "Sorry about that"?

I guess the real question is: Is the United States willing to undergo the costs of keeping the world from WWIII for the foreseeable future? So far, the US has said "yes", and has kept the world from the horror of yet another World War and allowed the incredible growth seen since WW II. But, is that dedication still needed or required? If yes, then we NEED a new bomber, desperately. If not, then it's time to revert back to a National Guard and let the world go it's way.


By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2014 2:50:37 PM , Rating: 1
That's all well and good but we no longer have the economy to be the world's police. China is soon to replace our economy for being the world's largest and there are a lot of economies coming on strong as ours is shrinking. You want to have a military larger than the rest of the worlds combined then you need to have an economy that does the same. The US is going have to learn to be more cooperative and less dominating.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/7/2014 4:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
First off, I thank you for your years of service and protecting me and my family.

Secondly I certainly don't have the experience you have to debate you on some of these finer points.

quote:
I guess the real question is: Is the United States willing to undergo the costs of keeping the world from WWIII for the foreseeable future? So far, the US has said "yes", and has kept the world from the horror of yet another World War and allowed the incredible growth seen since WW II. But, is that dedication still needed or required? If yes, then we NEED a new bomber, desperately. If not, then it's time to revert back to a National Guard and let the world go it's way.


I think this is what motivated me to say the things I said yesterday. I'm worried that, economically, we will no longer be able to MAKE this choice.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By FaaR on 3/13/2014 12:15:57 PM , Rating: 1
Protecting you from what, the Canadians? The Mexicans?

...Or the evil, evil commies on an entirely different continent which despite your nuclear ballistic missile arsenal would surely have invaded you without a "defense" force (offense, really!) as big as the other dozen-and-a-half biggest spending nations on the planet?

I'm sure that would have happened.

Look. The biggest military problems the US has faced in modern times have been of its own making. Poking into everybody else's pies instead of just minding your own damn beeswax has cost hundreds of thousands of human lives over the decades.

There's no realistic way you need even a sizeable fraction of your current military forces, only reason you keep paying for a metric shit-ton of military junk you don't need is corruption and your own oversized egos.


By inperfectdarkness on 3/7/2014 6:04:34 AM , Rating: 2
Thank god someone else gets it.

Planes wear out. They're like cars--you put enough miles on them, and eventually you need a new car (or you start spending ridiculous amounts in repairs). In order to maintain proficient crews, they have to be flown. Unfortunately, class-D simulators can't suffice for aircrew training on all platforms. Fighters, for example, simply cannot recreate a high-g envioronment combat-simulation in a sim. This is the danger of having 186 F-22's; they fleet will age much faster because there are fewer of them.

Now for the record, each and every budget cut from defense--within the last 20+ years--has been offset by a commensurate increase in government entitlements spending within 5 years. Cutting our military budget to ZERO doesn't even come close to eliminating the deficit (I won't even bring up the total debt). At the end of the day though, military spending equates to a service performed, jobs being filled, and an economy prospering off contracts. The same amount of money spent on entitlements provides no services, no jobs being filled (or jobs being created) and the only economic "prospering" is from wherever those with government checks decide to spend them.

The preamble of the Constitution of the USA says nothing about standardized healthcare, medicaid, etc. In fact, it only says "promote the general welfare", not "assure the general welfare". On the other hand, it says "provide for the common defense". In laymen's terms, national defense is a mandated service the federal government is tasked with providing--whereas welfare is only something it is charged with promoting. It's the difference between "life, liberty and the guarantee of happiness" and "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

The USAF needs this bomber. That's not a question of "if", but "when". Armchair pundits who have no experience in the military, USAF, etc--can't possibly understand.


By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2014 12:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Defense is the one role which the Federal government is suppose to actually do. Rather than provide pensions and medical care for its citizens. I believe that retirement and medical care is personal responsibility and NOT the responsibility for the government to provide by taking money out of other peoples pocket and giving to me.


So what would you plan on doing with the elderly? Logan's Run, put them on ice flows, something else more creative?


By crimson117 on 3/9/2014 9:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
Social security is funded by a dedicated tax on your paycheck. I'd like to see income tax broken out in defense spending vs everything else. Maybe then tax cut proponents would see the real elephant in the room.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By BifurcatedBoat on 3/6/2014 3:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
Those are the threats that we are aware of today. The military does not have the luxury of being able to see who decides to attack us and then build munitions to match. By that point, it's too late.

They have to acquire hardware to cover scenarios that haven't - and hopefully won't - materialize.

It's kind of an odd thing, but just having the military capability helps to prevent the need to ever actually use it. The most bloodshed occurs when it's not clear who would be the victor and a couple heads of state decide to try their luck in a direct conflict.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By retrospooty on 3/6/2014 4:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but no-one is saying it should bve cut from the current 550 billion down to zero. The current budget proposal for 2015 cuts it down to the upper 400's. Somewhere near a 10% cut.

Honestly, we just dont have hte money to continue. We should cut everything, literally everything by 10% across the board, playing zero favorites for any area. Just as a starting point.


By retrospooty on 3/6/2014 4:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
SLight correction...

2014 Defense budget 526 Billion
2015 proposed Defense budget 496 Billion

Appx 6% cut.

http://www.voanews.com/content/obama-holds-steady-...

Like I said, I think 10% across the board for every govt. branch as a starting point would be good.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 6:35:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm well versed in "Peace through strength" and have quoted it several times. I'm a big student and admirer of Ronald Reagan.

However if you look at the world today, we're at a far bigger risk of being taken over via economics than military Imperialism. Do you think we have the money to sustain a significant conflict right now? THAT is our biggest weakness if anything.

I'm not saying gut the military, Jesus man, I'm not a Liberal.

I just think a new bomber design can be put on hold for now. It's not like we don't have bombers and ways to bomb your ass into the stone age already.

I want to save my country. I can't credibly stand here and ask others to sacrifice issues they care about, but go "oh yeah, we need more bombers."


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 6:58:41 PM , Rating: 2
And it seems people are misunderstanding my point. I'm NOT saying we don't need a strong bomber fleet.

I'm saying instead of a new program, just modernize and refresh our existing B-1 and B-2 bomber fleets. They are MORE than capable, and it could be done at a fraction of the costs.

Yank those B-1's in the Boneyard out and un-retire them. Still, WAY less expensive.

Oh and at the same time, end the B-52. THAT is what should have been put in the Boneyard and retired first. Jesus wtf were they thinking?


By retrospooty on 3/6/2014 7:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
It's clear to me now... You are too damn liberal man. ;)


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By sorry dog on 3/7/2014 12:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yank those B-1's in the Boneyard out and un-retire them. Still, WAY less expensive.


Is it?

Here's an example comparison you can understand, and I know is correct.

If you want a rebuilt LandCruiser from the mid to late 80's (same age as Bones) it will cost you at least 26k and probably 30k. A company called cool cruisers strips them, replaces parts, and basically makes them look like it's 1988 again, cassette player and all. I just looked at their site and all are sold so it seems to be price that the market clears and they cover their costs enough to keep doing it. However, I've had a late 80's cuiser and now I'd rather have a SUV that doesn't need a calendar to time it acceleration, gets better than single digit MPG going downhill, and maybe even a couple of cupholders. Toyota would be happy to sell me a nice new 4 Runner (same size as 80's cruiser) for around 40k with medium level of options... O.K. I can't sink it headlight deep and mud, beat it off next week, and expect it to work but sacrifices must be made.
The point is that even with Toyota's magic robots and escalating employee health costs they can build me something that is newer, technologically superior in every way (except maybe tolerance toward abuse), make it cheaper to operate, and sell it for less than 25% than a 30 year old rebuilt one.

Now I'm sure you can shoot holes in my comparison about development costs and such, but something that is built serially can be done more efficiently than basically a one off restoration done a few hundred times.

For the comment on new build B52's for 90mil... that's a joke. Most models of a 737 cost more than that and it is a much smaller, less complicated, and mass produced airframe.

As for the Bone, in 2030 those will be 45 years old, still using 4 F101 turbines that will suck down probably double the fuel at $4-6 a gallon...and if we do it Reclaimers way B52's will be in museums and the replacement will still be years away...


By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2014 5:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not to poke holes in your argument but Toyota is much more cost sensitive than our military contractors. When we are talking efficiency here there is absolutely no comparison.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By inperfectdarkness on 3/7/2014 6:18:25 AM , Rating: 2
Leave it to civilians to prepare to fight the last war. CIVILLIANS wanted to gut the military after WWII, only to have Korea b***h-slap us with a harsh dose of reality. The same thing happened with Operation Eagle Claw after Vietnam.

If our military only prepared to face the threats which it faced previously, it would be as unprepared for a full-scale symmetric war as it was for the asymmetric war that started on 9-11.

Full-scale, full-range capability is what we need. If we start putting provisos on that...we'll soon end up on the losing side of aggression.


By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2014 5:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully you have military leadership that is flexible in its thinking and can adapt to change or better yet drive change. That's one of the big dangers of promoting bureaucrats and politician types to the higher ranks.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By superflex on 3/6/2014 3:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
Then you might want to tell the Air Force they need to ground their fleet of B-52s. They have been in service since 1955 and are expected to remain in service until 2040.
Nice try.


RE: Divide by 5, Multiply by 6...
By Divide Overflow on 3/7/2014 3:01:10 AM , Rating: 2
If the passenger air carriers of the US wanted to use B-52s they wouldn't be allowed to due to government safety restrictions on their ancient airframes. Yet these same aircraft are expected to serve the military in combat conditions for another 26 years? Incredible.


By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2014 5:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
There is no restriction on the age of an aircraft for general aviation it just has to prove its airworthy by passing all its inspections. I'm pretty sure their are still DC3's being used.


By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2014 12:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Dude, you do realize that airplanes do kinda tend to wear out with time and use, right?


Not necessarily true with smaller drone bombers like boeings Phantom Ray. You can "crate" most of them and pull them out of storage when needed.


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