Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA
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The U.S. Department of Defense DoD has launched or attempted to launch numerous joint fighter and other joint aircraft programs in the past 50 years. The largest and most recent is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter JSF, which was designed for use by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and international partners and is currently in low-rate initial production. The main purpose of a joint program, versus a set of single-service programs, is to save overall Life Cycle Cost LCC by eliminating duplicate research, development, test, and evaluation RDTE efforts and achieving economies of scale in procurement and operations and support OS. Yet, the need to integrate multiple service requirements in a single design increases the complexity of joint programs and potentially leads to higher-than-average cost growth that could reduce or even negate potential savings. There have been no comprehensive assessments of costs and savings in historical joint aircraft programs based on actual joint aircraft program outcomes and historical cost data. To help inform future acquisition strategies for fighter aircraft, the commander of Air Force Materiel Command AFMC asked RAND Project Air Force PAF to analyze the costs and benefits of historical joint aircraft programs, from the early 1960s through todays JSF. The project addressed five major questions Have historical joint aircraft programs saved LCC compared with comparable single-service aircraft programs Is JSF on track to save LCC compared with notional equivalent single-service fighter programs What factors contributed to cost outcomes in historical joint aircraft programs, as well as JSF What are the implications of a joint aircraft approach for the industrial base and What are the implications of a joint aircraft approach for operational and strategic risk
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies