F/A-18 to go out of production in 2016?

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With current orders F/A-18 production is scheduled to end in 2016. Boeing needs to make a decision on continuing F/A-18 production in 3 months' time due to the need to invest in long lead items. It seems unlikely that any further orders will be received in the next 3 months, so what will Boeing do? Boeing is also promoting sales of the warplanes to the USN, Canada, Denmark, Brazil, Malaysia, Kuwait and several other Middle Eastern countries, but executives concede that there is no Navy budget for more planes and several of the foreign competitions have been delayed. Cessation of F/A-18 production would heighten USN reliance on F-35 panning out as planned. Would it not be wise for the USN to order more? F/A-18 is offered to USN at a price of $51-52 million per plane, including engines, radars and electronic warfare equipment - far less than the cost of F-35. Disappearance of the F/A-18 would leave Brazil without the choice of a low cost twin as well as a low cost single and a high cost twin. Assuming Canada would choose a US supplier, it would leave the country with no bargaining power against LM. ME countries wanting a twin would be left having to choose between the more expensive Eurocanards. What do you think will happen? Will Boeing take the risk of ordering long lead items in the hope that they will get an order allowing production to continue 2016 onwards? Will the US government come up with funds so the USN can order more to cover the risks associated with banking on F-35 being available when required? http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/09/us-boeing-fighter-idUSBRE9B815R20131209 http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-confident-over-additional-us-navy-fa-18-orders-393979/
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$51-52 million per plane
Lol
Profile picture for user PhantomII

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Wait so the thread is a joke I didn't get? What's funny?

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Lol
Personally I find the $51-$52 million cost amazing but when it is the program manager saying that, I'm inclined to believe him. Perhaps that's the cost to build and he would like to get an order from the USN to keep the line open in the hope of export orders.
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That's the flyaway cost (still pretty affordable, IMHO).
Profile picture for user swerve

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The last price I remember seeing from US budget documents was more than that.
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Yes, because flyaway cost is more or less an useless figure. But politicians and speakers simply love it. If without engine, then even better.
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Per the latest FY2014 budget Flyaway Numbers for FY2013 F-18 and FY2014 F-35. Adjusting for FY2014 inflation: The F-18 is $70 mil The F-35A is $152 mil Now look at when Canada will actually be buying their F-35s (aka FRP Fy2018 F-35s) Adjusting for FY2018 inflation: The F-18 is $74 mil The F-35A is $96 mil Several factors will drive the prices down further for the F-35: 1. Continued price drop from FRP increases 2.. Additional orders from Israel, South Korea, etc.
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I've never seen a number for the Super Hornet as high as $70 million. With some of the new additions they are promoting for it though I suppose the price could go up to that level. With that being said, despite the fact that most of this particular forum hates the airplane, I'd argue it's still a good value for the money. Lots of capabilities, and I would wager it won't have nearly the maintenance troubles that the F-35 almost certainly will (in my opinion).
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I got the numbers from the FY2014 USN budget. Total Flyaway cost for the 26 FY2013 F-18s was $65.25 mil (sorry, don't know how I got 70. I must have hit the wrong number in the calculator). FY2018 jets would then be $72.3 using this inflation calculator http://www.halfhill.com/inflation.html This price is for stock Blk2 jets that they are selling the USN now. If they want to add any other features like a new cockpit, CFTs, weapon bays, etc then the price goes up from there. Sorry, but any way you slice it, 3 F-18s in FY2018 are less capable and less survivable than 2 F-35s. And that price is just Flyaway. If you take the true Gross Weapon System Cost and factor in the inceased staffing needs (2 pilots) then you would not even get 3, maybe 2.25.
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Per the latest FY2014 budget Flyaway Numbers for FY2013 F-18 and FY2014 F-35. Adjusting for FY2014 inflation: The F-18 is $70 mil The F-35A is $152 mil Now look at when Canada will actually be buying their F-35s (aka FRP Fy2018 F-35s) Adjusting for FY2018 inflation: The F-18 is $74 mil The F-35A is $96 mil Several factors will drive the prices down further for the F-35: 1. Continued price drop from FRP increases 2.. Additional orders from Israel, South Korea, etc.
The Boeing offer to Canada is for Advanced Super Hornet, not Super Hornet. The official RFP quote for Super Hornet today is $52mil, with advanced features adding between $6-10 million depending on options exercised - resulting in $58-62million today.
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SupdmanWP gives the price the USN is currently paying as $65.25 mn flyaway, without 'advanced features'. I can't help wondering how Boeing can cut the price by 20%. Has it been ripping off the US taxpayer?

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Total Flyaway cost for the 26 FY2013 F-18s was $65.25 mil (sorry, don't know how I got 70. I must have hit the wrong number in the calculator). Sorry, but any way you slice it, 3 F-18s in FY2018 are less capable and less survivable than 2 F-35s. And that price is just Flyaway. If you take the true Gross Weapon System Cost and factor in the inceased staffing needs (2 pilots) then you would not even get 3, maybe 2.25.
I think you are being misleading in what you say. It seems you are saying that including the cost of weapons you might get 2.25 x F/A-18's for the cost of 1 x F-35. The F-35 would not include weapons in that comparison, would it? You say that 3 F-18s in FY2018 are less capable and less survivable than 2 F-35s. If the cost of F-35 were double that of F/A-18I think you would be telling me that 4 F-18s in FY2018 are less capable and less survivable than 2 F-35s. If treble, 6 F-18s in FY2018 are less capable and less survivable than 2 F-35s. You do not appear to be able to exercise due objectivity when comparing F-35 to anything else: the F-35's weaknesses are denied by you or you argue that they are unimportant in this or that scenario while the strengths of other fighters are denied by you or unimportant in this or that scenario. It seems to me that you think all use of F-35 will be under conditions designed to harness its strengths and to avoid its weaknesses. Would you like to do me a favour and list (a) what you consider to be F-35's strengths and (b) its weaknesses so that I can see your assessment of the aircraft?
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With that being said, despite the fact that most of this particular forum hates the airplane, I'd argue it's still a good value for the money.
Super Hornet is a great aircraft for the US Navy and an admirable program in its own right; that doesn't make it the best choice for anyone else anymore than the F-14 was. In Australia's case the Super Hornet selection was the product of fossilised bureaucracy and institutional incompetence -- not in the selection of SH per se, but rather in the entire sequence of events beginning with Australia joining the F-35 program.
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@MSphere: Boeing’s “Advanced Super Hornet” has not officially been part of the Canadian CF-18 replacement project. That last “Official” numbers provided to the Canadian Govt were for the USN Standard Blk2 Super Hornet, not the Advanced model. @Spitfire9: I was not being misleading, but rather gracious in my only looking at Flyaway prices. If you had called them claiming 3:1 numbers which includes “10 years of support” as misleading, you would have been kind as they outright lied. Here are the direct costs, across all three cost categories (REC Flyaway, Total Flyaway, and Gross Weapon System). These numbers come directly from the FY2014 USAF & FY2014 USN Budgets and I used this Inflation Calculator to adjust the F-18 prices.
width: 500 class: grid align: left
[tr][td]Inflation Rate[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td]1.01[/td][td]1.02[/td][td]1.02[/td][td]1.02[/td][td]1.02[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td][/td][td]FY2013[/td][td]FY2014[/td][td]FY2015[/td][td]FY2016[/td][td]FY2017[/td][td]FY2018[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]F-18[/td][td]REC[/td][td]54.3[/td][td]55.2[/td][td]56.3[/td][td]57.5[/td][td]58.8[/td][td]60.2[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]Fly[/td][td]65.3[/td][td]66.2[/td][td]67.6[/td][td]69.1[/td][td]70.7[/td][td]72.3[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]GWS[/td][td]80.7[/td][td]81.9[/td][td]83.5[/td][td]85.4[/td][td]87.3[/td][td]89.4[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]F-35[/td][td]REC[/td][td][/td][td]120.7[/td][td]109.5[/td][td]99.8[/td][td]94.5[/td][td]86.9[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]Fly[/td][td][/td][td]152.3[/td][td]127.2[/td][td]113.9[/td][td]117.9[/td][td]96.2[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]GWS[/td][td][/td][td]176.5[/td][td]142.8[/td][td]128.9[/td][td]130.9[/td][td]107.1[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]Ratios[/td][td]REC[/td][td]2.2[/td][td]1.9[/td][td]1.7[/td][td]1.6[/td][td]1.4[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td][/td][td]Fly[/td][td]2.3[/td][td]1.9[/td][td]1.6[/td][td]1.7[/td][td]1.3[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td][/td][td]GWS[/td][td]2.2[/td][td]1.7[/td][td]1.5[/td][td]1.5[/td][td]1.2[/td][/tr]
The first thing that you should notice is that there is no way, even using today's LRIP pricing, that you can buy 3 F-18s for each F-35. Even if you use the cheapest category of REC you could only buy 2.2 F-18s today for a single F-35. Throw in their claim of "10 years of support" and that would drop below 2. However, Canada is not buying planes today, but several years from now. Now look at 2018 when the F-35 goes into FRP and Canada will be buying most of its F-35s in or after. That is where you see that you would get 3 F-18s for every 2 F-35s. However, there are a few things that will affect the price of both the F-18 and F-35 in that timeframe: 1. Currently the F-18 is being built at a rate of 26 per year. Canada will NOT be maintaining that build rate. This will cause their F-18s to cost MORE. 2. If Boeing wins the Brazilian contest it will offset some of the increases from #1. 3. If Boeing pitches the Advanced Super Hornet to Canada, it will conservatively drive the cost up $8-10 million each. 6. South Korea’s order of F-35 is a virtual certainty and will drive the prices down. 7. Israel is also looking at additional orders. 8. Singapore is showing strong interest which would drive down prices in the same timeframe that Canada would be ordering jets.
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With that being said, despite the fact that most of this particular forum hates the airplane, I'd argue it's still a good value for the money.
Despite not being one of it's biggest fans, one must admire the aeroplane nevertheless. The French/Dassault/Rafale Fan Boys harp on about their "Omni-Role" fighter but it was this aircraft that led the way of being an all rounder, all capabilities possible, carrier/land capable platform, of the modern day.