F-35 Costs: The Sky Is The Limit?

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Acquisition, DoD Buzz, F-22, F-35

There are way too many zeros being tossed about…

From the 10 July 2009 Washington Post regarding the F-22 cancellation:

After deciding to cancel the program, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called the $65 billion fleet a “niche silver-bullet solution” to a major aerial war threat that remains distant.

187 F-22s for $65 billion.  Cost per unit about $348 million each.

Here’s what DoD Buzz says about the F-35 as of 1 June 2010:

The price tag of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the military’s largest weapons program, has jumped once again and is now projected to cost $382 billion.

At 2443 planes, that’s a bit over $156 million each, and not the $112 million listed in the headline.  I guess the F-35 the non-niche, lead-bullet solution? Is it possible to make shipbuilding and space look like a bargain?

So if flying hour costs are about the same and assuming the F-22 is twice as capable (however that might be defined) as an F-35, it’s pretty much a wash, right?

Still, once flying hour costs are figured in, is is possible these planes will bankrupt the Air Force?

  1. […] Secretary Gates staked out a position that favored the F-35 and since then, its performance on cost and schedule have been (I’m generous here) less than stellar.  And space wonks know how well […]

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