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Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?

Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?

Mark A. Lorell
Michael Kennedy
Robert S. Leonard
Ken Munson
Shmuel Abramzon
David L. An
Robert A. Guffey
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 78
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  • Book Info
    Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?
    Book Description:

    This report analyzes costs and savings of joint aircraft acquisition programs, whether historical joint aircraft programs have saved Life Cycle Cost (LCC) over single-service programs, whether the Joint Strike Fighter is on track to achieving the originally anticipated LCC savings, and the implications of joint fighter programs for the industrial base and for operational and strategic risk.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8488-0
    Subjects: Transportation Studies, Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has launched joint tactical fighter programs to meet the needs of multiple services many times since the 1960s. The largest and most recent program is the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which was developed 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 primary objective of joint, versus single-service, programs is to save money by eliminating duplicate research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) efforts and by realizing economies of scale in procurement and operations and support (O&S). Yet,...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Historical Joint Fighter and Other Joint Aircraft Programs: Analysis of Savings and Costs
    (pp. 7-20)

    The first part of the analysis assessed cost outcomes related to actual historical joint fighter programs and other joint aircraft programs, compared with those of single-service programs. Although it is typical for major acquisition programs to experience some cost growth in the RDT&E and procurement phases, we assessed (1) whether joint aircraft programs have historically experienced higher-than-average cost growth during RDT&E and procurement and, if so, (2) whether joint programs could save enough money in RDT&E, procurement, and O&S to offset such additional cost growth, thus resulting in lower LCC compared with an equivalent number of specialized single-service aircraft.


  11. CHAPTER THREE Joint Strike Fighter Program: Analysis of Savings and Costs
    (pp. 21-32)

    The officials who established the JSF program were aware of the problems encountered in previous joint fighter programs, and they sought innovative approaches to address them. For example, JSF officials structured a JPO that was intended to counter service parochialism and establish a common set of requirements through extensive cost and performance trade-off analyses that would meet all participating services’ threshold requirements.¹ Engineers and acquisition experts focused on affordability as a top-line key performance parameter. Between 1995 and 2000, there was a series of detailed cost/benefit design trade-off analyses and an iterative annual Joint Interim Requirements Document intended to move...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Additional Implications of Joint Aircraft Programs
    (pp. 33-38)

    Thus far, we have discussed the cost implications of taking a joint approach to fighter and other military aircraft acquisition. Several additional issues bear consideration for future acquisition planning. In this chapter, we briefly review two of the most important: the implications of joint aircraft programs for the industrial base and for operational and strategic risk.

    The aerospace defense industrial base has undergone a major consolidation in recent decades. Although many factors have affected the structure of the industrial base, the pursuit of joint fighter programs has clearly been associated with the decline in the number of credible fighter aircraft...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 39-40)

    The quantitative analysis summarized in this report shows that, contrary to expectations, historical joint aircraft programs have not saved money compared with single-service aircraft programs. Although a joint approach has the theoretical potential to lower acquisition costs by pooling RDT&E resources and increasing production runs, historical joint aircraft programs show substantially higher acquisition cost growth than single-service programs. This higher cost-growth percentage is about twice the maximum theoretical joint acquisition savings percentage for a typical fighter program. In addition, whereas a joint approach can save O&S costs by taking advantage of economies of scale, analysis of actual fighter O&S data...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 41-52)