Skip to comments.F-35 to Cost $1.45 Trillion Over Next 50 Years (1.5 Trillion With Cockpit Dice/Air Freshener)
Posted on 04/03/2012 2:27:17 AM PDT by lbryce
F-35 Joint Strike Fighters long term operating costs are once again at the forefront of the debate about how much the stealthy swiss army knife will cost. Just yesterday, Frank Kendall, acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L) told lawmakers that while acquisition costs are coming under control the real issue is going to be the price tag associated with keeping the jets flying over the decades.
Were doing everything we can to drive down the cost of the Joint Strike Fighter,said Kendall during his March 29 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to be confirmed as full-time undersecretary of defense for AT&L.
I do think that the strike fighter is getting under control, were attacking the producting costs by putting stong incentives on the contractor to control cost and to get the changes that have to be made cut in quickly. Now were focusing on the sustainment costs which are larger actually than the production costs, weve made some progress there this year in some areas but weve slipped in some areas as well. Thats where we think the greatest potential [for savings] is. [Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter] testified a year ago about getting large fractions of that cost down and I think we can approach that. So Ive set a goal for us to accomplish that.
Now Reuters is reporting that the Pentagons Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office estimates that it will cost $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years to buy and operate the JSF fleet. Wow.
Apparently, much of this is due to the cost of inflation over the coming decades:
While inflation accounts for more than one-third of the projected F-35 operating costs, military officials and industry executives were quick to point out that it is nearly impossible
(Excerpt) Read more at dodbuzz.com ...
Yes, it's a big number but lifecycle costs are always big numbers for every program. Here's the dirty secret: nobody knows how to calculate lifecycle cost (what will fuel cost in 2025 anyway?) so it's pretty much an educated guess. It's all in the assumptions made. One thing that is generally true, though: People are the biggest cost. You have to train them, pay them, feed them, etc. So if the JSF has a similar maintenance crew size as other aircraft, it likely the lifecycle cost will be on of the same magnitude, barring some crazy difference in, say, fuel costs.