Wednesday, January 16, 2013

USAF Cost Per Flying Hour Data for 2012

Below are the cost per flying hour figures for various USAF aircraft in 2012 and prior years.




If it costs that much per flying hour for an F-16, you have logistics and deskilling issues. When matching these figures with this video, you get a picture of what happens when the USAF downsized skilled maintenance tribal knowledge and other resourcing to pay for Operation:USELESS DIRT 1 and 2 and other misadventures. But hey, we got some permissive-air drones and worthless aircraft ideas in the trade. This also goes along with the other negative trend observed by all over the years: deskilling of procurement. Consider all the goofed up procurement deals in the last 13 years. All of this is a deskilling trend.

11 comments:

Fueldrum said...

So. An F-22 costs roughly twice as much as an F-15E. These are aircraft of different generations but roughly the same size, weight and mechanical complexity.

The F-35's cost will be roughly proportional to this compared to the F-16, for the same reasons. So you're looking at $45000 per hour, as a VERY optimistic estimate., once the F-35 has matured more than a decade from now.

In other words F-35s will cost MORE THAN FOUR TIMES as much as the A-10C, which is a FAR superior aircraft for the ongoing and important role of close air support.

The whole assumption that a multi-role aircraft is cheaper than several, single-role aircraft is becoming a very shaky assumption.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be concerned, regarding the A10, as the Air Force is pursuing maintenance contracts out to the year 2030, which give you an idea that someone at least knows what is going on. I understand that rather than refurbishing wing sets, they are actually building new ones.
I guess that someone has worked out that the F 35 won't be arriving real soon.

Horde said...


"The whole assumption that a multi-role aircraft is cheaper than several, single-role aircraft is becoming a very shaky assumption"

Nope! This has been known for years, just like this...

http://tinyurl.com/6n99ynj

Anonymous said...

Interesting how F-15E is substantially less to operate p/h than an F-15C? I'm guessing it's largely influenced by age of airframe?

Would then a new-build F-15E class, eg, an F-15K or SA variant be even less to operate than a 20 yr old legacy F-15E? I'd further guess a new late design F110 or F100 engine would probably cost less to maintain and be more reliable than an older F100 power plant?

Arguably then, is it fair to consider just keeping these complex higher-end, high-performance birds as an 8k hr airframe per design and then just retire them?

Keep the lower-end, less complex and lower-performing support and CAS type platforms operating for as long as they can be life-extended?

Also interesting is that an F-16D costs considerably more to maintain than a C model, whereas an F-15D costs about the same to operate as an F-15C... Any input and better clarification as to why that would be the case? Thanks in advance for some greater insight.

Anonymous said...

ddear eric, please give source and/or credit for this file. cheers.

Horde said...

Being a 2 place aircraft, the salary cost of the additional aircrew member is one of the reasons the F-16D has higher CPFH than the single seat F-16C, then there are the costs associated with the additional survival/support gear for the extra crew.

Peter said...

Hello Anonymous

I found out Boeing Co. is now working on full-scale fatigue test certifications to push the F-15C/D models to 18,000 equivalent flight hours (EFHs) and F-15E models to 32,000 EHFs.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope the RAAF is asking Boeing and DSTO to do the same for the Hornet.

Anonymous said...

To Horde,

Yeah, I'd suspect the 2-seat F-16D to cost slightly more operationally than the C variant, but maybe only an additional $1k or 2k max??

Yet the F-15D doesn't seem to cost any more to operate than an F-15C? That was the discrepancy I was looking at...

Anonymous said...

Yeah the USAF just up and forgot how to fix airplanes. Nothing to do with them being decades old.

Eric Palmer said...

Having seen the USAF first hand I can tell you that isn't even a relevant statement.

Aircraft get old. You create real and effective policy to deal with it. Not buying spares, letting tribal knowledge maintainers (E-5, E6 etc) go via downsizing and letting groupthink rule the day instead of solid advice from a maintenance super, comes at a cost. A huge one. PowerPoint doesn't seem to be able to get them out of this problem.