Most Cost Effective Fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Clay_Allison, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    You know that cheaper, more efficient fighter production is near and dear to my heart. In that vein, what fighter delivered the most bang for the buck for the country producing them?

    I guess I'd submit the F6F Hellcat for its 35k flyaway cost and high victory totals.
     
  2. Burmese Bandit

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    I agree..and it's not just the cost of the fighter. Remember in a war, time is money. The F6F had no costly redesigns and factory delays - it just rolled out and on and on and on with nary a hitch!
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I would go for the Yak series of fighters. The changes were limited during the period of the war, it was simple yet effective and served Russia well from the begining to the end.
     
  4. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    Good entry.
     
  5. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I believe the Mustang was relatively cheap to produce wasn't it?
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Is that F6F price correct? I have read elsewhere the price was for the airframe only.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    You have to look at this 2 ways. Cost per unit and the numbers built vs. the entire cost of the contract.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Define the metric for most 'cost effective"?
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yep...

    Cost per unit, cost to operate, total cost based on contract price, cost vs. life longevity with or without attrition rates applied
     
  10. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    J, you know more about this than I will ever gain the opportunity to learn. Why don't you define the smartest metric and I'll just agree with you.
     
  11. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Works for me too!
     
  12. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    It is plain impossible to compare the the prices, let alone cost/effectiveness in different countries, for obvious reasons. Perhaps it is better to compare only US planes ?
    AFAIK the 35,000$ for the F6F does not include the "Goverment Furnished Equipment" (engine, armament, intruments etc.) so it is not directly comparable to USAAF aircraft. Still, I think the F6F and the P-51 were the most cost/effective US fighters ( in terms of total cost/damage done to the enemy).
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think if you're talking real cost per unit you have to take the cost of the entire contract and divide that into the units built.

    Let's say an individual aircraft is sold to the government at $30,000 per unit. The government would pay theoretically pay $30,000,000 for 1000 units.

    That $30,000 per unit price tag is based on building one airframe and recovering development cost. What happens is when you mass produce aircraft the man-hours to build the aircraft will go down and it’s actually cheaper to build a large quantity of aircraft than just one, as with the various parts and components that go into the aircraft. With a contract for 1000 units, the price of each aircraft may go down to say $25,000 with difference either being split, taken back by the government or kept by the contractor depending on the way the contract is written. Usually the contractor would recoup that money unless the government paid for the aircraft's development.

    So a contractor may state that an individual aircraft cost so much per unit, it will actually depend on how many units were built to get an idea of actual costs. I haven’t even factored in spare parts or post production costs, modifications and engineering support to repair or alter aircraft that have already been delivered.

    This is just some example of many variables that have to be considered. We could also look at cost of operating an aircraft. What it would cost per man-hour to keep the plane flying.

    Spare parts? Cost of parts is another determining factor.

    Again many variables and scenarios to really determine the cost effectiveness of an aircraft.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like the USN had some shady cost accounting practices. Some things never change....:cry:
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Surely the Me-109 has to be in this mix - even with issues over slave labour - it was clearly a masterpiece of mass production and evolution.

    MM
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    And you have an example of that, then and now?!?!?!? :rolleyes:
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    It would be - over 35,000 units.
     
  18. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't the cost effectiveness of the P-40 a major reason it stayed in production so long?
    The Truman Commission hashed over this question after the war.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    You're probably correct. Curtiss Wright was a giant in the pre-war years and I'm sure the development cost of the P-40 was easily absorbed as much of the tooling to build the aircraft was probably developed when the P-36 was first built. Another aspect to look at as a situation like this gives a big advantage to the contractor.
     
  20. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the challenge here will be determining with any kind of accuracy the cost of a fighter aircraft. There is the purchase price which has already been discussed but there are other factors. Certainly for RAF aircraft, the "flyaway" price did not include certain vital equipments that were supplied as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) - little things like guns, gunsights, radios. Then there's the "through life costs" of sustaining the force - maintenance, training/reskilling pilots and groundcrews, replacing casualties, modificiations to keep the capability current etc. Militaries worldwide still struggle with the accounting mechanisms for these bigger issues so I suspect we in the WW2 aircraft forum, talented though many of us are (self NOT included!!), will have a hard time obtaining the data to make effective comparisons.

    Sorry to be a downer...

    Oh, and my vote - any fighter that the Brits got under Lend Lease 'cos they were "free"!:)

    KR
    Mark
     
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