Monday, April 25, 2016

F-35 Cost Update

The F-35 program is hideously expensive and yet supporters continue to claim that sub-$80M F-35s are just around the corner.  The reality, however, is quite different as shown in this Defense News website article.

“Meanwhile, the Navy asked for $270 million for two additional carrier-based F-35Cs, and the Marine Corps requested $759 million to procure two each of the F-35Cs and F-35Bs.” (1)

Some quick arithmetic gives a cost of $135M for the F-35C’s and $244.5M for the F-35B’s.  Well that’s a bit different from the supporter’s claims!


__________________________

(1)Defense News website, “House Armed Services Committee Markup Will Restore 11 F-35s”, Lara Seligman, 21-Apr-2016,


10 comments:

  1. Looking at the cost of each type from the requests

    F35A $138.2M
    F35B $244.5M
    F35C $135M
    and some extra F18E/F is $110 M ( average for single and two seater)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is a listing for 12 FY2016 F-18F's for $95.8M each.

      Delete
    2. I know I'm being hopelessly naive here, but I'd love to see an itemized list for the SuperHornet to find out why it costs so much. $95 million seems expensive, but I have no data to back it up.

      Delete
  2. Expensive, but not unduly so, stuff costs.
    India is looking to pay around $240mn each for its Rafales, well, its not looking to, but its going to.
    The EuroFighter is somewhere between $160nm and $320mn depending on spec level and order date, $160mn is about the average cost including the T1s, $320mn is what Kuwait has paid for its T3a v2s.

    A sub $80mn F35 aint happening, I doubt the average price at the end of mass production it'll be sub $130mn, I'd be surprised if its sub $200mn, but I dont think that matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those costs for other nations include spares, training,simulators etc. While the US Navy would have a separate budget for that, they just buy at the 'factory door' so to speak.
      Some countries include cost of buildings, and say 10 years worth of spare parts, missiles , bombs etc. Its impossible to get a unit cost from figures you quote to compare with what the US government pays per aircraft. Modern fighter jets are software heavy and theres constant upgrades ( just like happens on your home computer) but they have to be paid for and that alone is eye watering.

      Delete
  3. The price of the SH reported by Ztev is what surprises me. A hot line cranking out a '90s design should be pretty bloody cheap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The price mentioned by CNO is more likely closer to the 'standard price'. Who knows what extras is in the 'budget request'. It seems that the USN wants its Hornets now to have the internal wiring harness so they can be later converted in Growlers ( at more cost)
      Its deliberate to cover the real unit cost, but with low orders the fixed costs rise quite a bit.

      Delete
    2. 90's design made in 2016, using 2016 dollars, and lets be very clear. The SH shipped today resembles very little the SH that shipped out 30 years ago.
      As Ztev said, stuff costs.

      Delete
    3. Let's also keep firmly in mind that the Super Hornet was achieved WITHOUT the incredible, horrific R&D expenditure that the F-35 or any new aircraft costs. We may look at the current SH cost and say that it's not all that much cheaper than *whatever* but it got there without a gazillion dollars in R&D dollars. That's the advantage of evolutionary development versus revolutionary. Yes, there are also attendant disadvantages, to be fair. Just trying to keep a balanced, objective view of all this!

      Delete
  4. That's fine... but that's where I'd like to see the line item.

    The F-414 hasn't changed much. The avionics have... but what and how much.

    ReplyDelete