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RAND Research Brief: New Processes for the Estimation of Military Airframe Costs
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
Pagination or Media Count:
Since the end of the Cold War, large-scale reductions in defense allocations have prompted both the Department of Defense and Congress to place an increasingly high premium on the affordability of weapon systems. Yet many aircraft contractors and government program managers have long maintained that government cost estimators have consistently overestimated the costs of such systems by virtue of their reliance on outdated forecasting methodologies. The generation of more timely cost-estimating models would thus appear to form the cornerstone of sound acquisition policy. In Military Airframe Costs The Effects of Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes, RAND researchers Obaid Younossi, Michael Kennedy, and John C. Graser address this issue by updating existing cost-estimating methodologies in the critical area of military airframes. After providing basic background information on the various materials that are used to produce airframe structures, the authors discuss the relative advantages of both traditional and evolving manufacturing techniques. Drawing from an industry survey as well as from part-manufacturing data, they then analyze how the cost of producing airframe structures varies with material mix, manufacturing technique, and part geometric complexity. The data thus derived are then integrated with those from a comprehensive historical cost database to yield a more accurate means of generating airframe cost projections.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE