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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014

F-22A Raptor: More Bang for the Buck than F-35 JSF….with Far Less Risk

Air Power Australia - Australia's Independent Defence Think Tank

Air Power Australia NOTAM

   11th April, 2009

Peter Goon, BEng (Mech), FTE (USNTPS),
Head of Test and Evaluation, Air Power Australia

Contacts: Peter Goon
Carlo Kopp

Mob: 0419-806-476 Mob: 0437-478-224

F-22A Raptors during Combat Hammer at Hill AFB (US DoD image)

The following is the letter sent to the SecDef of the US DoD, the Hon Robert Gates, last weekend (US Time), by Peter Goon, co-founder of APA.  This was prior to the Secretary announcing his recommendation to not continue with production of the F-22A Raptor Air Dominance Fighter past the currently approved 187 units.

The advice the SecDef must have received which led him to state he could see no risk in this recommendation and the related recommendation to ‘surge’ the Joint Strike Fighter Program would appear to put the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Pentagon at odds with the pre-election public policy platform and public declarations of their Commander-in-Chief which state:

Preserve Global Reach in the Air: We must preserve our unparalleled airpower capabilities to deter and defeat any conventional competitors, swiftly respond to crises across the globe, and support our ground forces.[Agenda Statement]  ....

and ... “We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders…” [Inaugural Address]

…..the science that, in this case appears absent, being the science of Cost Benefit Analysis, with the resulting savings in dollars resembling what one can only imagine galactic telephone numbers would look like.

To:                                 The Hon Robert Gates
                                       US Secretary of Defense
For information:            Mr Michael Sullivan, GAO
Dear Mr Gates,
As an Aerospace T&E professional with over 25 years experience in flight test and innovative engineering design, my belief system embraces a fundamental tenet – the provision of innovative, cost effective solutions to meet the capability needs of those who fly to defend.  In short, I believe it is my duty to seek out what a predecessor of yours, the Hon Charles E Wilson, summed up when he coined the term, “More bang for the buck”.
Having studied and analysed the F-22A Raptor and F-35 JSF programs for a number of years, I and my colleagues have concluded and verily believe the F-22A Raptor Program represents far more ‘bang for the buck’.
The most recent evidence of this may be seen in the latest GAO Report on Defense Procurement (GAO-09-326SP).  While reading this report, Charlie Wilson’s words resonate clearly and loudly in these works.
I offer the following two data sets and eight observations in support of this conclusion.
JSF Program Performance (fiscal year 2009 dollars in millions)
  As of 10/2001 Latest 09/2008 Percent change
Research and development cost $37,645.7 $46,840.8 24.4
Procurement cost $167,016.3 $197,437.3 18.2
Total program cost $206,410.3 $244,772.1 [1] 18.6
Program unit cost $72.020 $99.663 38.4
Total quantities 2,866 2,456 -14.3
Acquisition cycle time (months) 175 125 -28.6
JSF Program Data Sheet, Page 93 GAO-09-326SP Assessments of Major Weapon Programs
F-22 Upgrade Program Performance (fiscal year 2009 dollars in millions)
  As of 03/2003 Latest 08/2008 Percent change
Research and development cost $3,101.2 $4,265.1 37.5
Procurement cost $537.4 $1,655.7 208.1
Total program cost $3,638.6 $5,920.8 62.7
Program unit cost NA NA NA
Total quantities NA NA NA
 Acquisition cycle time (months) 109 145 33.0

F-22A Modernization Program Data Sheet, Page 79 GAO-09-326SP Assessments of Major Weapon Programs
1.      Though media releases and press reports are claiming the Procurement Cost for the F-22 Modernization Program has “increased by a massive 208.1 per cent”, quoting percentages can be deceiving.  This percentage figure equates to $1,118.3 million.  Similarly, the Total Program Cost increase of 62.7 per cent equates to $2,282.2 million. 
2.      The comparable figures for the JSF Program are (a) Procurement Cost – 18.2% representing $30,421.0 million and (b) Total Program Cost – 18.6% representing $38,361.8 million.  Both are well over an order of magnitude more than the increases reported in the F-22 Program.
3.      The Spiral Upgrade Modernisation Program provides the F-22A Raptor with an expanded air to ground capability which many experts say, based on the data, is greater than the capability planned for the JSF, particularly in relation to the metrics of ‘throw weight’, ‘stand off range’, ‘penetration’, ‘kill box interdiction/persistent bombardment capability’ and the all important ‘weapon’s effectiveness’.  Some may argue this is incorrect but since the JSF has yet to drop a weapon or fire a missile or a gun, such arguments are, at best, premature.
4.      Put simply, the cost increases that have occurred in the F-22A Modernisation Program, respectively, represent (a) RDTE – 12.7% and (b) Procurement – 3.7% and (c) Total Program – 5.9% of the increases in the same elements of the JSF Program up to August 2008. 
5.      This goes part of the way to explain why the JSF budget increases are such a large proportion of the $296 billion cumulative cost growth over the ninety six defence procurement programs cited in the GAO Report.
6.      Another way to look at this situation is by comparing the Total Costs for each element of the F-22A Modernisation Program with the increases in cost of the same elements of the JSF Program.
Program Element Cost Increases in JSF Program to August 2008 F-22A Upgrade Total Costs F-22A Upgrade Total Costs as a percentage of JSF Cost Increases to August 2008
RDT&E $9,195.1 $4,265.1 46.4%
Procurement Cost $30,421.0 $1,655.7 5.4%
Total Program Cost $38,361.8  [2] $5,920.8 15.4%
7.      Therefore, the USAF is getting the expanded air to ground capability F-22A Raptor for a cost that is less than one sixth (~15.4%) of the increases in the budget, up to August 2008, of the JSF Program. 
8.      Looking into the not-too-distant future of 2010, when the latest round of predictions of cost increases in the JSF Program will have materialised, this figure is likely to be in the single digits, percentage wise.  However, if ‘more bang for the buck’ is the aim and the self evident, albeit hard, decisions are made, the real savings will be in the high multiples of tens of billions if not over one hundred billion dollars.
I hope these observations are well received and useful in helping to determine how to provide what is best for those who fly to defend; particularly since a total indifference to reality has brought Charlie Wilson’s ‘more bang for the buck’ into such stark relief.
For all addressees: 
In the interests of our Nations, any assistance you can provide in ensuring this eMail reaches the principal addressees would be greatly appreciated.
Yours sincerely,
Peter Goon
Peter Goon
Principal Consultant/Advisor
Head of Test and Evaluation
Co-Founder, Air Power Australia
Peter Goon and Associates
Phone:  +61 (0)8 8362 1585
Mob:    +61 (0)41 980 6476
Monday, 6 April 2009
This communication is copyright and intended for the named recipient/s only.  Being an addressee on this Email does not imply and should not be inferred, in any way, as meaning the addressee endorses or agrees with its contents.  The contents of this document, including any attachments, should not be copied, distributed, or disclosed to any third party person or organisation without written permission.  If received in error or incorrectly onforwarded to you, kindly notify the sender by reply E-mail and permanently delete this message and its attachments.

[1]       $494 million delta between Total Program cost and the sum of constituent parts - RDTE and Procurement Cost
[2]       Variance between individual figures and totals stem from source data.

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