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Assessment of Beddown Alternatives for the F-35

Assessment of Beddown Alternatives for the F-35

Ronald G. McGarvey
James H. Bigelow
Gary James Briggs
Peter Buryk
Raymond E. Conley
John G. Drew
Perry Shameem Firoz
Julie Kim
Lance Menthe
S. Craig Moore
William W. Taylor
William A. Williams
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 142
  • Book Info
    Assessment of Beddown Alternatives for the F-35
    Book Description:

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most costly aircraft acquisition program in Defense Department history. RAND assessed the potential for savings by reconfiguring the U.S. Air Force’s combat-coded F-35s into larger squadrons, adjusting the Primary Aerospace Vehicle Authorized (PAA) mix across the Active and Reserve Components, and adjusting the percentage of PAA permanently assigned to locations in the continental United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8329-6
    Subjects: Transportation Studies, Management & Organizational Behavior, Technology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xxvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxix-xxxii)
  9. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    As currently planned, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the largest aircraft acquisition program in Department of Defense (DoD) history. According to the December 2011 F-35 Selected Acquisition Report, the total acquisition cost to procure 2,457 F-35 aircraft across the U.S. Air Force (USAF), Navy, and Marine Corps is $331 billion, with total operating and support (O&S) costs of $617 billion to operate the aircraft through 2065, with both costs computed using a base year of 2012 (DoD, 2011). Moreover, the F-35 cost-per-flying-hour estimate has increased by more than 80 percent (in constant dollars) over the interval 2002 to 2010....

  10. 2. Deployment Requirements
    (pp. 11-18)

    In this chapter, we present the results of our analysis of the relationship between F-35 squadron size (i.e., PAA per squadron) and the ability of the combat-coded F-35 fleet to satisfy surge and steady-state contingency requirements.

    A key assumption that was made in this analysis was that each squadron contained one independent or “lead” Unit Type Code (UTC).²⁴ Thus, each squadron could deploy to and operate out of at most one location, regardless of squadron size, consistent with USAF policy for resourcing legacy fighter squadrons for deployment. Said differently, this assumption implies that if 72 PAA were organized into three...

  11. 3. Pilot Absorption
    (pp. 19-28)

    Our analyses of pilot absorption capacities for the various beddown options were based on a steady-state absorption model that investigated potential “feasible” absorption conditions.³³ These conditions will: (1) provide enough pilots with adequate experience to generate sufficient pilot inventories, (2) use achievable aircraft utilization (UTE) rates,³⁴ and (3) maintain acceptable unit experience levels, while (4) enabling pilots to meet specified minimum Ready Aircrew Program (RAP) training requirements across all units in all components.

    Our absorption model calculated many of these required criteria based on previously agreed-upon input values. Thus we calculated the aircrew position indicator (API)-1 and API-6 pilot requirements...

  12. 4. Logistics Resources
    (pp. 29-68)

    The first logistics resource that we examined was maintenance manpower. As of February 2012, F-35 squadron maintenance manpower requirements, as described in the JPO Manpower Estimate, existed only for a squadron size of 24 PAA.⁴⁵ ACC provided us with the detailed maintenance manpower requirements for a combat-coded squadron of 24 PAA.⁴⁶ These data classify each manpower position as either adirector anindirectposition.Directmaintenance spaces are those for which the manufacturer can influence the requirement based on the aircraft’s expected reliability and maintainability. Direct maintenace includes most “touch labor” work centers, such as the Aircraft Section (Crew...

  13. 5. Infrastructure
    (pp. 69-84)

    Our analysis of infrastructure requirements addressed the capacity of a subset of existing USAF bases to support F-35 squadrons. We examined only the 37 bases that currently support F-16 and A-10 squadrons, either combat-or training-coded, as these are the aircraft the F-35 is designed to replace. This enabled us to compare beddown costs between these current and future fighter aircraft, based upon assumptions about the suitability of certain resources to support tactical fighters. The bases that we considered are listed in Table 5.1.

    To assess the capacity of a base to support one or more F-35 squadrons, we sought to...

  14. 6. Leadership Development
    (pp. 85-102)

    Because the F-35 beddown alternatives would so substantially alter the numbers of F-35s and F-35 units in the active, guard, and reserve components—and, consequently, the numbers of jobs such as squadron commander, group commander, and wing commander that are regarded as key developmental experiences—Air Force decisionmakers wondered whether some alternatives would endanger the development of future senior leaders. To answer the question, we estimated the numbers of positions for fighter pilots under each beddown alternative in each component, identified career paths that develop fighter pilots for different categories of leadership positions, used historical retention behavior and grade distributions...

  15. 7. Conclusions
    (pp. 103-106)

    This analysis has assessed whether O&S savings could be achieved by (1) reconfiguring the planned 960 USAF combat-coded F-35 PAA into larger squadrons, (2) adjusting the mix of PAA across the AC and RC, and (3) adjusting the percentage of the AC PAA assigned to CONUS home-station locations. Specifically, the research addressed how a change along these three dimensions would affect the Air Force’s:

    Ability to support both surge and steady-state contingency operations

    Ability to absorb the necessary number of F-35 pilots

    Requirements for maintenance manpower and support equipment

    Requirements for new infrastructure across the set of existing F-16 and...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 107-110)