Mrt 29 2012
The Pentagon has submitted to Congress its latest Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, current as of December 31, 2011.
The 84-page document is available by clicking on this link (SAR 2011).
Many of the cost figures are released as part of the DoD’s SAR Summary Report, but the full document below provides a wealth of information for those willing to wade through it. The report also contains quite interesting information as to the program’s technical aspects, and to various slips in its timeline
Summary of the most significant findings (status Decenber 31, 2011):
Cost Variance (in Then Year$)
Aircraft and engines (all-in)
Baseline 2002 US$ 233.000 million
Estimated 2011 US$ 395.711 million (+ 69%)
Operating and Support Costs
Original purpose was to have an affordable fighter plane with O&S cost per flight hour calculated at 80% of legacy aircraft like the F-16 and Harrier. This SAR shows the F-35 cannot be considered as an affordable combat aircraft and the industry isn’t able to keep their original promises.
Estimated O&S/hour of F-35A: US$ 31.923
Calculated O&S/hour of F-16C/D: US$ 22.479
The F-35A O&S costs aren’t 80% of an F-16C/D, but over 140% of an F-16C/D, twice as much. This will have major impact on long term defense budgets in USA, Canada, Italy, UK, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands and Turkey.
Software main risk
The SAR 2011 reports that the software risk remains one of the top development issues for the progra:
“Block 1B and 2A development/integration challenges are impacting capacity for delivery of Block 2B. The development program restructure built capacity for discovery in Blocks 2 and 3 development. In 2011, the results of independent software assessments highlighted known risk areas and endorsed on-going process improvements. As a result, the program is continuing to develop and refine processes to proactively make decisions on capability development and delivery, and mitigation strategies.”
Source: US DoD, SAR-2011