How do you calculate the cost of a F-22? Do you take the total funds spent by the Department of Defense on the program divided by the total number of airframes delivered to the United States Department of the Air Force? The number of airframes 187 is a fairly easy number to determine, with the last being delivered in May 0f 2012. With this last lost of an F-22 11/15/2012 we now only have 184 airframes. Airframes were lost in 2009 and 2010. The total program costs of the program well not quite as simple to determine as one would suspect. One estimate of the development and productions cost of the program was $67,300,000,000.00 Dollars 1. This number included the cost to develop the aircraft, establish the infrastructure to support and operate, and to actual purchase the 187 completed airframes, it does not include any follow on spending for maintenance, spares and or upgrades. The program was sold as a “single step” program meaning that it was felt by Department of the Air Force leadership and Lockheed Martin that there would be no need for significant future modernization, as if time would stand still for this weapon system.
By December of 2011 the Department of the Air Force proposed that estimated costs to modernize F-22A at $11,700,000,000.00 Dollars. Note Lockheed Martin had not delivered the last airframe to the Department of the Air Force. That airframe in fact had just left the production line in December 2011, but it would not be delivered until May 2012. How fortuitous for Lockheed Martin that a follow-on modernization program for the F-22A was in place that original “single step” program somehow morph to the traditional multi-step programs of old?
Of the $11,700,000,000.00 Dollars projected modernization cost with $5,500,000,000.00 Dollars having been spent. With $6,200,000,000.00 Dollars committed for several major follow on programs.
So just how much does one F-22A cost?
The Development and Productions Cost version of the number is $359,893,048.13 Dollars per airframe.
The Development and Production Cost plus Modernization Costs to date version of the number is $389,304,812.83 Dollars per airframe.
The Development and Production Cost plus actual and budgeted Modernization Costs version of the number is $422,459,893.05 Dollars per airframe.
Survey say’s that at this time the answer is $389,304,812.83 Dollars.
For those who just want easy number to remember, 360 Million Dollars, 389 Million Dollars, and 422 Million Dollars respectively.
So yesterday’s loss of one F-22A at Tyndall Air Force Base just cost the United States 389 Million dollars, give or take a few hundred thousand dollars.
As a matter of comparison, the Internal Revenue service estimates that 239.3 million tax returns will be filed for Calendar year 20122, based on this number it appears that this airframe loss only amounted to $1.63 per tax return that is expected to be filed for calendar year 2012, what a deal for you and me. So let go out a drop another one into the ground and call it a Starbuck Frap.
Just to add smoke and confusion to the issue, the Department of the Air Forces quote this thing that they call a “Fly Away” cost. According to theory it should just contain the costs to actually build the airframe. This “Fly Away” cost does not include any of the cost associated with development, that way they can report that the purchase of airframe is even more of a deal for you and me.
By the way my daughter and I used to get into the argument as to how much the car she wanted actual costs (I was expected and required to pay for it). For some strange reason she would only report the sticker price, forgetting the tax, title, dealer options, dealer prep, and of course all of the interest that she (I mean that I) would pay. The two numbers were as different as day and night. (PS she got a used car that cost $2000.00 drive away, at first she was not happy, but given the choice between a $2000 used car and Shank’s Mare, she decide that the car was not that bad after all, and she that car for kept for 3 years and sold it for $2000 dollars).2 www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/12rswinbulreturnfilings.pdf