mxaxai
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Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:32 pm

I happened to find this article http://milnews.at/2016/flugstundenkosten/ (in German, sources are in respective local languages.) that discusses the operation cost of various European air forces. I am honestly surprised not only by the incredible differences but also by the amount of fixed costs (i. e. maintenance and capital costs):

  • Austria: They calculated the cost per hour for their Eurofighter fleet to be 63,000 € (US$ 77,200) in 2011. Of that, 81 % were fixed costs.
  • Switzerland: In 2009, they calculated a total of 45 mio SFR total operational costs for their F-18 fleet. That converts to US$ 7762. Of that, 65 % are "complex maintenance and support" - essentially fixed costs - and 25 % fuel. https://www.parlament.ch/de/ratsbetrieb ... d=20124166
  • Great Britain: 2010, the request was answered as follows (in british pound):
    Tornado GR4
    35,000 (US$ 48800)
    Typhoon
    70,000 (US$ 97600)
    Harrier GR7/GR9
    37,000 (US$ 51600)
    Tornado F3
    43,000 (US$ 60000)
    These figures include forward and depth servicing, fuel costs, crew costs, training costs, cost of capital charge, depreciation and amortisation. The Typhoon cost per flying hour reflects the build up of the fleet

  • Italy: They concluded that the Eurofighter cost 60-65,000 € (US$ 79,700) per hour, including the finanzing and writeoffs. The actual variable operation cost was between 13,000 and 20,000 € per hour.
  • Sweden: Reportedly, Sweden pays 48,000 SEK (US$ 6,600) per hour for their gripen fleet.
  • Germany: A report in 2010 concluded that the Eurofighter cost 74,000 € per hour and the Tornado was around 43,000 €. (US$ 90,700 and 52,000, respectively. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/vorab/a-714332.html
    A 2006 request revealed the following costs per hour(in euro):
    TORNADO IDS
    Operational: 22 500 (US$ 27,500)
    Total: 41 155 (US$ 50,500)
    TORNADO ECR
    Operational: 17 061 (US$ 21,000)
    Total: 33 178 (US$ 40,700)
    PHANTOM F-4F
    Operational: 15 653 (US$ 19,100)
    Total: 22 557 (US$ 27,600)

    Die Betriebskosten beinhalten die Kosten für die Materialerhaltung, die Betriebsstoffe, die Bundeswehrinstandsetzung und die Besatzung.

    Die Gesamtkosten umfassen zusätzlich die kalkulatorischen Kosten für Abschreibung und Versorgungsleistungen des Personals.

    The operational costs include the technical support, maintenance, fuel and crew. The total costs include additionally the financial depreciation and the supporting personel.

While flight hours are still expensive, this IMO shows that one can easily increase the flight time per pilot without a comparable increase in spending. Letting shiny airplanes sit on the ground while pilots only get 50-100 flight hours a year is a real waste.
Another conclusion is that creative accounting can lead to highly variable operating costs. In competitions or analyses this can easily skew numbers one way or another. Either way, it's great to have some numbers for comparison when discussions come up.
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:54 pm

Thats a lot of money. And people still wonder why the USAF wants some A29. A lot of the missions those jets did couldve been done by a turboprop and save some tax money.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:19 pm

YuriMG2 wrote:
Thats a lot of money. And people still wonder why the USAF wants some A29. A lot of the missions those jets did couldve been done by a turboprop and save some tax money.


Using Ferraris and Lambos as delivery vehicles isn't cost effective and hopefully OEF/OIF made a good point on that given the amount of airframe hours accumulated.
 
Ozair
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:00 pm

mxaxai wrote:
While flight hours are still expensive, this IMO shows that one can easily increase the flight time per pilot without a comparable increase in spending. Letting shiny airplanes sit on the ground while pilots only get 50-100 flight hours a year is a real waste. Another conclusion is that creative accounting can lead to highly variable operating costs. In competitions or analyses this can easily skew numbers one way or another. Either way, it's great to have some numbers for comparison when discussions come up.


I am part of the creative accounting crowd when it comes to per hour costs, as in I don't believe most are accurate and it really comes down to what metrics you define the costs as. If you just look at flight costs per hour what do you include, the fuel, other POL and pilot cost only? Where does the ground crew costs go, the ordnance handlers, the cleaners who clear the runway, etc.

The best way to compare costs is usually to review within an Air Force those costs which is why I like comparing USAF to USAF and I like your above numbers on the German and UK Air Forces. Multiple types from one country usually means you can baseline the costs across multiple variants but even that may not be completely accurate.

DigitalSea wrote:
Using Ferraris and Lambos as delivery vehicles isn't cost effective and hopefully OEF/OIF made a good point on that given the amount of airframe hours accumulated.

YuriMG2 wrote:
Thats a lot of money. And people still wonder why the USAF wants some A29. A lot of the missions those jets did couldve been done by a turboprop and save some tax money.

The issue isn't just about per hour costs for operations like OIF and OEF. Right now the USAF has a pilot shortage and despite additional incentives it remains a problem and will likely continue to be in shortage for some time.

The USAF also has a mandated force structure to fight and win specific scenarios against near peer assets. Adding an A29 to the force structure creates a whole host of additional costs that do get factored into the per hour costs, such as initial and advanced pilot training, housing, retirement, benefits, medical etc. Then a whole new spares line, new dedicated maintainers with all their housing, retirement, benefits, medical etc. Hangers to store the aircraft and spare parts, additional messes to feed the troops, additional admin staff to assist them, additional engineering staff to manage the acquisitions, sustainment programs, engineering changes...

These above costs are pointless if you have to undertake that near peer scenario because those low threat air frames are essentially useless, as are the pilots operating them.

Without opening up a whole additional discussion on the merits of respective CAS aircraft, if a nation uses existing fighter aircraft to conduct those low threat CAS missions then they can leverage all the existing support structures already in place. Sure the per hour cost is higher but the overall impact to the budget is not, and those units operating higher end aircraft get operational experience.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:56 pm

OzAir wrote:
The issue isn't just about per hour costs for operations like OIF and OEF. Right now the USAF has a pilot shortage and despite additional incentives it remains a problem and will likely continue to be in shortage for some time.

The USAF also has a mandated force structure to fight and win specific scenarios against near peer assets. Adding an A29 to the force structure creates a whole host of additional costs that do get factored into the per hour costs, such as initial and advanced pilot training, housing, retirement, benefits, medical etc. Then a whole new spares line, new dedicated maintainers with all their housing, retirement, benefits, medical etc. Hangers to store the aircraft and spare parts, additional messes to feed the troops, additional admin staff to assist them, additional engineering staff to manage the acquisitions, sustainment programs, engineering changes...

These above costs are pointless if you have to undertake that near peer scenario because those low threat air frames are essentially useless, as are the pilots operating them.

Without opening up a whole additional discussion on the merits of respective CAS aircraft, if a nation uses existing fighter aircraft to conduct those low threat CAS missions then they can leverage all the existing support structures already in place. Sure the per hour cost is higher but the overall impact to the budget is not, and those units operating higher end aircraft get operational experience.


Not sure how the pilot shortage factors into the discussion, I believe that's an issue over undesirable op tempos. But for the rest of your comment, part of the problem is not being able to know what the fight tomorrow will look like. Not that the US military is the most fiscally responsible entity in the world, but it's hard to plan effectively when your focus is A and the fight turns out to be B. And that B fight turns out to be a lot longer than you could have anticipated.

In hindsight, we see the detrimental impact all the various missions have taken on our advanced aircraft over the last decade+ and it outlines a desire to find an aircraft that can operate in permissive environments and fulfill the same role at a cheaper cost. UAVs have come a long way in their respective roles and have proven to be great tools in this area.

The problem now from a macro-perspective is what it is taking to keep the birds up in the air for whichever the future fight will be, the desire to move those costs to introducing the F-35 as fast as possible, and getting the old birds out. With "near peer" fights growing less and less likely in our interconnected world, and asymmetric warfare being more probable, an aircraft that's easier to mass produce and fulfill specific roles at a fraction of the cost will still have a demand. As I said, you don't need a Ferrari to make standard deliveries, save it for the necessary tasks (aka A2D2). We don't spend a majority of our time in our F-35s on the Nurburgring, we spend it driving to work, getting groceries, and taking our kids to soccer practice.
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:46 pm

A29 is a $500 per hour fight aircraft.

The cheapest aircraft from the USAF is the A10 which spends $15.000 per hour flight.

All those costs you mentioned would very soon be paid off.

Like our friend said above: you dont have to use a Ferrari to deliver. Just like you dont need a Anti-Tanker aircraft to kill people with AK and flipflops.
 
meecrob
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:04 am

I think we need to consider the impact politics and optics has in certain scenarios. For example, lets say the USAF bought a whole fleet of A29's. If one were to be shot down and the pilot captured, whoever made the decision to move to a single engine light trainer would be crucified. The military is not a for-profit organization. To use the Ferrari example above: if you are racing to get a heart to someone requiring a transplant and you are too slow in the Ferrari, people will say "they tried their best." If you were in a Honda Civic, and you are too slow, they will be screaming "where was the Ferrari?!?" even if it was physically impossible to arrive with enough time to perform the operation.
 
Ozair
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:36 am

DigitalSea wrote:

Not sure how the pilot shortage factors into the discussion, I believe that's an issue over undesirable op tempos.

Should have put this comment in better perspective.
It is difficult to claim that the USAF has wasted resources in OEF/OIF when those resources weren’t available to begin with. The USAF could have bought, and are still looking to potentially acquire, a light attack jet for these permissive environments, but what no one is addressing right now is that the force structure cannot support them. The USAF literally does not have the pilots to fly them, just as it is critically short of Drone operators. If you induct a new permissive CAS platform, it would have to come at the expense of a current in service jet, such as the A-10 or F-16, platforms which have some or full utility respectively in higher threat scenarios.

DigitalSea wrote:
But for the rest of your comment, part of the problem is not being able to know what the fight tomorrow will look like. Not that the US military is the most fiscally responsible entity in the world, but it's hard to plan effectively when your focus is A and the fight turns out to be B. And that B fight turns out to be a lot longer than you could have anticipated.

You can only build the force structure to the perceived threat but the preference for higher threat systems supports the proven theory that higher systems can go low threat while low cannot do high threat. It may cost more money but the overall force capability, and ability to adapt to the threat, is higher.

DigitalSea wrote:
In hindsight, we see the detrimental impact all the various missions have taken on our advanced aircraft over the last decade+ and it outlines a desire to find an aircraft that can operate in permissive environments and fulfil the same role at a cheaper cost. UAVs have come a long way in their respective roles and have proven to be great tools in this area.

While some of the jets are worn out, specifically the USN Hornet fleets, the USAF has a reasonable amount of hours remaining on their fleet. UAVs are certainly key to these future scenarios but UAVs are not simple to operate. While it is easy to launch and recover the aircraft you typically need more operators, ground support and intelligence staff and the communications infrastructure to support their employment over a traditional manned platform.

DigitalSea wrote:
With "near peer" fights growing less and less likely in our interconnected world, and asymmetric warfare being more probable, an aircraft that's easier to mass produce and fulfill specific roles at a fraction of the cost will still have a demand.

I don’t think near peer fights have left us. I see quite an unstable world ahead and a host of issues could see near peers come to blows. Also agree though that asymmetric warfare will continue.

DigitalSea wrote:
As I said, you don't need a Ferrari to make standard deliveries, save it for the necessary tasks (aka A2D2). We don't spend a majority of our time in our F-35s on the Nurburgring, we spend it driving to work, getting groceries, and taking our kids to soccer practice.

The problem with that is affording both and being able to operate both at the same time. Yes having a mix would be great but as I indicated earlier even the USAF cannot staff to the level required. Increasing the size of the force would only exacerbate that even if it saves money in other areas.

YuriMG2 wrote:
A29 is a $500 per hour fight aircraft.

The cheapest aircraft from the USAF is the A10 which spends $15.000 per hour flight.

Numbers without context are meaningless. What is the context of those numbers, what do they represent? The last thing we need in this thread is to throw out operating cost per flight hour numbers without factual evidence and the context around the number.

YuriMG2 wrote:
All those costs you mentioned would very soon be paid off.

How are ongoing staffing costs paid off? How about engineering, continued training? Sustaining a capability is never paid off until the equipment has been disposed of…

YuriMG2 wrote:
Like our friend said above: you dont have to use a Ferrari to deliver. Just like you dont need a Anti-Tanker aircraft to kill people with AK and flipflops.

The difference is an anti-tank aircraft can kill people with AKs and flipflops while the reverse is not true. When you have to plan for both threats, how do you meet that?
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:15 am

Ozair wrote:
YuriMG2 wrote:
Like our friend said above: you dont have to use a Ferrari to deliver. Just like you dont need a Anti-Tanker aircraft to kill people with AK and flipflops.

The difference is an anti-tank aircraft can kill people with AKs and flipflops while the reverse is not true. When you have to plan for both threats, how do you meet that?

Even then, I would not automatically assume that there is no threat to aircraft; in Afghanistan, there were a number of helicopters that were shot down by MANPADS, and currently in Yemen, Houthi rebels fired a SAM at a Saudi F-15, and have claimed to have shot down a Tornado strike aircraft:

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/17 ... audi-f-15s
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:32 am

meecrob wrote:
I think we need to consider the impact politics and optics has in certain scenarios. For example, lets say the USAF bought a whole fleet of A29's. If one were to be shot down and the pilot captured, whoever made the decision to move to a single engine light trainer would be crucified. The military is not a for-profit organization. To use the Ferrari example above: if you are racing to get a heart to someone requiring a transplant and you are too slow in the Ferrari, people will say "they tried their best." If you were in a Honda Civic, and you are too slow, they will be screaming "where was the Ferrari?!?" even if it was physically impossible to arrive with enough time to perform the operation.


15 years and no a29 has been shut down. Why? Because its made to be used after you have air superiority and ur enemy has no or little defense syatem, basically the war america has been fighting these years.

It may not be a for-profit organization, but it spends the peoples money.
 
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ssteve
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:54 am

If you need to maintain a force to get "air superiority" then it's a bit of an opportunity cost to then insist that force be parked and not utilized so that the "cheap" assets can take over. To a huge extent first world nations are buying these planes and keeping forces at the ready for the worst case scenario. And it doesn't make sense to buy them, and keep them in pristine condition until retirement because the operating costs are high. They cost a crapload at operational readiness. Using them operationally makes sense... You don't save a ton using them for training but not for combat. By the time you're counting your nickels from avoiding combat/training/hours, your fancy unused fighters are off to the scrapper and you're buying something new.
 
Andre3K
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:15 am

YuriMG2 wrote:
A29 is a $500 per hour fight aircraft.

The cheapest aircraft from the USAF is the A10 which spends $15.000 per hour flight.

All those costs you mentioned would very soon be paid off.

Like our friend said above: you dont have to use a Ferrari to deliver. Just like you dont need a Anti-Tanker aircraft to kill people with AK and flipflops.


http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/

If we take this at face value, the T-6 Texan II costs more than $2000 per hour, so it's hard to imagine an A29 costing LESS.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:48 am

ssteve wrote:
If you need to maintain a force to get "air superiority" then it's a bit of an opportunity cost to then insist that force be parked and not utilized so that the "cheap" assets can take over. To a huge extent first world nations are buying these planes and keeping forces at the ready for the worst case scenario. And it doesn't make sense to buy them, and keep them in pristine condition until retirement because the operating costs are high. They cost a crapload at operational readiness. Using them operationally makes sense... You don't save a ton using them for training but not for combat. By the time you're counting your nickels from avoiding combat/training/hours, your fancy unused fighters are off to the scrapper and you're buying something new.

True. And with the fixed & acquisition costs so high I really can't understand air forces that don't give their pilots the training they need. If anything, a pilot lacking training has a higher likelyhood of crashing, which would cost much, much more than the extra flight time.
 
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SAS A340
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:00 pm

"Sweden: Reportedly, Sweden pays 48,000 SEK (US$ 6,600) per hour for their gripen fleet."

That's why I hear them 24/7;) I can live with it:) :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
It's not what u do,it's how u do it!
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:49 pm

Andre3K wrote:
YuriMG2 wrote:
A29 is a $500 per hour fight aircraft.

The cheapest aircraft from the USAF is the A10 which spends $15.000 per hour flight.

All those costs you mentioned would very soon be paid off.

Like our friend said above: you dont have to use a Ferrari to deliver. Just like you dont need a Anti-Tanker aircraft to kill people with AK and flipflops.


http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/

If we take this at face value, the T-6 Texan II costs more than $2000 per hour, so it's hard to imagine an A29 costing LESS.


It does. Take a quick research and you will see that basically every souce say from 500 to 1000 maximum.
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:04 pm

That last issue deserves attention. Turboprop light attack aircraft are intended for lightly contested airspace, where the primary threats are guns and shoulder-launched, heat-seeking missiles, commonly known as MANPADS. This is the environment that has dominated the threat airspace over Iraq, Afghanistan, much of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and almost the entire African continent. In fact, in the last 25 years, U.S. combat operations have involved 176 days spent in contested airspace – and over 9400 calendar days outside it. Counting simultaneous operations like the no-fly zones as separate events, the total count of permissive days exceeds 17,000. That’s the environment in which we have been using up our highly capable legacy fighter / attack fleet, and it’s not going away.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/20 ... rcraft/2/#
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:17 pm

YuriMG2 wrote:
Andre3K wrote:
YuriMG2 wrote:
A29 is a $500 per hour fight aircraft.

The cheapest aircraft from the USAF is the A10 which spends $15.000 per hour flight.

All those costs you mentioned would very soon be paid off.

Like our friend said above: you dont have to use a Ferrari to deliver. Just like you dont need a Anti-Tanker aircraft to kill people with AK and flipflops.


http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/

If we take this at face value, the T-6 Texan II costs more than $2000 per hour, so it's hard to imagine an A29 costing LESS.


It does. Take a quick research and you will see that basically every souce say from 500 to 1000 maximum.


It all comes down to what is included in the cost and what is left out. So both could be true.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:37 pm

The A29 was developed by Embraer alonside with the Brazilian Air Force, that has a HUGE border to watch with a very very very low budget.

So fuel efficiency was the main request when drawing the project.

In a normal world a light fighter burn less fuel than a trainer plane would be insane.

But US has a trillion dollar defense budget and a ego that matches the size of the country.

So dont be so suprised that a third world country can built a fuel efficiency aircraft, because it was either that or no aircraft at all.
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:33 pm

YuriMG2 wrote:
The A29 was developed by Embraer alonside with the Brazilian Air Force, that has a HUGE border to watch with a very very very low budget.

So fuel efficiency was the main request when drawing the project.

In a normal world a light fighter burn less fuel than a trainer plane would be insane.

But US has a trillion dollar defense budget and a ego that matches the size of the country.

So dont be so suprised that a third world country can build a fuel efficiency aircraft, because it was either that or no aircraft at all.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:40 pm

SAS A340 wrote:
"Sweden: Reportedly, Sweden pays 48,000 SEK (US$ 6,600) per hour for their gripen fleet."

That's why I hear them 24/7;) I can live with it:) :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Not believable when the price of jet fuel to fill a Gripen's tanks costs almost that much. How much is the cost of spare parts? Regular lubricants? Salaries of the pilots? Maintainers? Second line maintenance?

And how much are the Swedes flying? If they are just sitting at the base, then the costs are fairly low. But if they are constantly flying, costs go up.
 
Andre3K
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:13 pm

YuriMG2 wrote:
The A29 was developed by Embraer alonside with the Brazilian Air Force, that has a HUGE border to watch with a very very very low budget.

So fuel efficiency was the main request when drawing the project.

In a normal world a light fighter burn less fuel than a trainer plane would be insane.

But US has a trillion dollar defense budget and a ego that matches the size of the country.

So dont be so suprised that a third world country can built a fuel efficiency aircraft, because it was either that or no aircraft at all.


Sounds like a bit of jealousy.

Besides, if the costs of any aircraft comes down to only the fuel burn and pilot costs per hour, they are all ridiculously lower. I'm willing to bet an A29 in USAF service at the same level as the T-6 Texan II would cost at least 15% more. It would make more sense to just use the AT-6 Wolverine because with the size of the T-6 fleet, you would have certain operational advantages.
 
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YuriMG2
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:34 pm

A29 has won every bid against the T6 and unless trump forces the american first bullshit it will win again in the OA-x

So look whos talking about jealousy...

At6 is a modified traineer plane, A29 is a light attact from scratch.
 
Ozair
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:49 pm

YuriMG2 wrote:
A29 has won every bid against the T6 and unless trump forces the american first bullshit it will win again in the OA-x

I highly doubt OA-X will go to tender. The USAF just doesn't have the budget to make this acquisition so unless there is additional funding allocated it will go nowhere.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Fighter jet costs per hour are quite variable...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:44 am

ThePointblank wrote:
SAS A340 wrote:
"Sweden: Reportedly, Sweden pays 48,000 SEK (US$ 6,600) per hour for their gripen fleet."

That's why I hear them 24/7;) I can live with it:) :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Not believable when the price of jet fuel to fill a Gripen's tanks costs almost that much. How much is the cost of spare parts? Regular lubricants? Salaries of the pilots? Maintainers? Second line maintenance?

And how much are the Swedes flying? If they are just sitting at the base, then the costs are fairly low. But if they are constantly flying, costs go up.

It's actually the other way round. If they fly lots, the hourly costs go down. If they only fly the bare minimum, the hourly costs will seem much more expensive. Fuel, while an important factor, is actually a rather minor part of the overall costs.

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