Re: Program costs + UCAV doubts!

Message posted by Magoo on August 11, 2002 at 17:58:07 PST:

We have to be careful about comparing costs of programs, especially at such an early stage of development. Until something reaches IOC, we're not comparing apples with apples!

Remember, the Global Hawk was only supposed to cost about $25M per unit, but this has now blown out to over $75M, and the air force is now looking at the possibility of re-opening the U-2 production line! Alot of the cost blame can be attributed to the slow acquisition rate, and the fact that more and more sensors are being integrated with the airframe, but it's still a big blowout!

During it's deployment to Australia last year, the Global Hawk proved its ability to spot surface ships at sea from very long stand-off ranges using its SAR, and in the end, it may end up being a mainly Navy only program if the air force decides on more U-2s! Certainly, Australia will be buying Global Hawk for that precisely that reason.

The X-45 may look cheap at the moment, but wait till they start wanting to hang more weapons off it or if any software glitches start showing up, then you can expect a big price hike.

I must admit to having my doubts about how economically viable the X-45 and its production versions really are. Perhaps the X-45 will remain a technology demonstrator for a cheap compact UCAV, but I can't help but wonder whether there is something better (and blacker!) out there that we're not aware of yet. Something about 80 feet long, weighing about 90,000lbs fully loaded and with a 2000+ mile range. If they can do the Global Hawk in the white world, I can't help think that they can make something smaller and faster and hang some bombs off it in the black world.

Any comments?


In Reply to: Re: FB-22 continued... posted by Russ on August 10, 2002 at 12:26:55 PST:


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