Total cost for the Messerschmitt Me 262?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by DerGiLLster, May 1, 2015.

  1. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    I have been looking around for the full cost of a Messerschmitt Me 262. All I could find available is that the airframe cost around RM87,400, while the Junker 004 engines cost around RM10,000 each. How much did the mk 108 cannons along with the electronics cost?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    At what point in the production run? Typically there is a big drop in production cost after 500 to 1,000 units built.

    Is that engine cost for Jumo 004A, Jumo 004B or Jumo 004D?
     
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  3. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    Ah well I would be talking about the A-1a, and A-2a early versions. I believe I refer to the Junkers 004Bs and Ds. I don't believe there was a difference in price between those versions.
     
  4. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    I am talking about the A-1a and the A-2a versions. I am referring to the Junkers Jumo 004D engines.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Most Me-262s were A-1a variants. So that doesn't tell us much about airframe production cost.

    I have historical cost data for Ju-88 airframe so we can use that for an example.
    RM 216,523. Production cost for Junkers built Ju-88A4 during 1940.
    RM 139,274. Production cost for Junkers built Ju-88A4 during 1943.
    ..... Late production Ju-88 costs one third less then early production aircraft.

    Economy of scale works the same for modern aircraft.

    If RAF had elected to mass produce Typhoon rather then a few Typhoons plus a few F-35s the cost per aircraft would be considerably cheaper. If RAF had bought into French Rafael program rather then building Typhoon the cost per aircraft would be cheaper still.

    But it's only tax money so production cost doesn't matter.
     
  6. blueskies

    blueskies Member

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    There is either a cios or bios report that gives a man hour breakdown. Not exactly what you are looking for though.
     
  7. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #7 Koopernic, May 3, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
    The V-1 according to Wiki (thanks to flyboy for gathering this data) cost 5090 RM which equals $2044 US dollars during WW2, roughly $34,700 in todays dollars. It took 350 man hours to build so you could argue that each man hour is about 14 RM.

    The Jumo 004 cost 10,000RM, roughly $4010 US dollars during WW2, $68,200 in today's dollars. It also took 700 hours to build also suggesting about 14 RM per man hour.

    Hence a Me 262 airframe ay RM87,400 must have been worth just under 6000 man hours.

    A late war Me 109K4 got down to 1000 hours per airframe but was closer to 2000 the year before. It also was around 6000 hours in 1940.

    There is not necessarily a direct relationship between man hours and costs as costs may factor in use of precious raw materials better or R+D costs that are being amortised.

    Given the cheaper jet engines the Me 262 may even have been cheaper.
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It does, but the major cost to be recouped from a modern aircraft programme is research and development, not just of the airframe and engines but all the other complicated systems and software now required. The fewer aircraft you can sell to cover these costs the more each aircraft will cost. All the sums for the cost of the Typhoon were based on producing and selling many more units than is now the case, a sort of reverse economy of scale.

    My brother in law built the things until he took an early retirement. He was also involved with what was then called the JSF programme (I've got the T-shirt), spending time over in Dallas-Fort Worth with his American colleagues. He could see which way the wind was blowing.
    You can't mass produce an aircraft for which there is no end user lined up. It's not the sort of thing you can afford to have sitting on the shelf.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  9. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #9 Koopernic, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
    Mass production isn't just a case of amortising R+D costs and tooling costs. Ideally you do a production run of an initial batch where the design and production is 'fixed'. For some reason for Eurofighters these are called "Tranche's" and perhaps "Blocks" in the USA as per the F-16.

    Everybody then figures out what is missing, what could be better, what is wrong and why its costing so much and then does a second "tranche" incorporating the deeper understanding and appropriate design modifications.

    Modifying things on the fly and on the production line is dangerous; it can get confusing, lead to logistic problems. Making many small ad hoc changes is likely to confuse everything and everybody if not organised.
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and it all adds cost. These costs have to be recouped on the units eventually sold. Less units equals more expensive units, that was my point. There really is no such thing as 'mass production' of modern jets. For the Typhoon the figure is still somewhere less than 600. The original figure touted for production of all versions of the F-35 was over 5,000, but that has already fallen to about 3,000 and will probably fall lower still.

    I happen to agree that the F-35 is not what the RAF needs, but the RN can't operate Typhoon's from its small carriers. In fact the MoD can't make up its mind which F-35 variant it needs for the RN. Last time I looked it was back to a V-TOL version because equipping the carriers with catapults and arresting gear was going to be too expensive.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Whenever you talk of cost of anything made during the last years of the 3rd Reich you have to consider the use of forced or slave labor made everything produced using them seem artificially low.

    If you added in the post war reparations these industries paid for use of these slaves those labor cost may not be so low.
     
  12. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    You can also counter that with the inefficiencies of slave labor, not just quality control issues either, but even that is a rather tiny portion compared to the massive problems of efficient logistical resource management in the war-time German economy. (or pre-war for that matter ... even within the constraints of a planned/demand economy, the Nazi management was particularly bad)
    The Soviets suffered from that to some extent too, but a different mix of problems in their economy. (not to get into that mess)
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The jury is still out on that one. Politics and world events will determine how many F-35s are going to be built. F-16s are still being built, over 4500 so far. If that's not mass production, I don't know what is.
     
  14. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I dont know how you evaluate costs in a country at war. There may have been an exchange rate between the RM and the US$ but what did it mean? When did the Nazi regime stop paying on contracts and employers stop paying wages? Even for German workers could they leave or change jobs without being conscripted to the army. Was the price of an engine adjusted to take account of the use of lower grade materials due to shortages, although not containing the required levels of nickel chrome etc were they cheaper or more expensive to produce?
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Over how many years?

    The average age of a USAAF aircraft in current service is still over 25 years.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That equates at 180 a year. It isn't a WW2 pace but it's still huge.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Well we'll agree to differ over the definition of huge. It's a yearly production less than the monthly production of the more popular WW2 types. It is true that at even this level of production over so many years certain economies will be made.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I don't think we'll ever see an aircraft production rate like seen in WW2 but I worked on production lines on large aircraft (P-3, L1011, B-2) and a one to two a month line move kept a hefty employment force.

    The B737 is a highly successful commercial aircraft, 8,500 units since 1966, equates to 173 aircraft a year, 14 a month, that's huge for an aircraft larger than most WW2 types, 3 times more complicated and costing 10x as much.
     
  19. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    Steve,

    The thing is other countries are still buying / building Vipers hence it's numbers. The F-15 is the same way. The last F-15C/D's were paid for / made around 1986.

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  20. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #20 Koopernic, May 7, 2015
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
    A man-hour is a man-hour irrespective of where it came from forced or free labour so I don't think it was any cheaper in that sense. It still had to be fed, clothed, protected in air raid shelters and in many case security. Such costs were also associated with rehousing the survivors of Germanys fire bombed cities.

    In October 1943 Erhardt Milch Reported that of 1852,000 workers in the German aviation industry 25% were German women and only 7% were foreign. This latter component might cover a small portion of the forced labour category, such as POW, though in most cases they were free contract workers.

    (this may not cover the workforce used to construct factories, repair bombed out areas, construct bomb proof under ground excavations)

    This is 18 months before Germany's final collapse in 1945. Forced labour was really a 1944 phenomena in percentage terms when it starts to be significant factor.

    The forced workforce ranged from genuine concentration camp labour to those who might be allowed to range the nearby village so long as they maintained curfew. It's nature changed as the war progressed. It could be French, British or Russian POW (certainly illegal when British POW were used as the Geneva conventions allowed enlisted men to be compelled to provide labour but it was meant to be in non military style work such as agriculture and perhaps forestry.

    When Heinkel experienced a labour shortage, in part as a result of the reorganisation necessary due to the initially troublesome Me 210 program they started being supplied labour from the nearby Concentration camp in 1942. They remarked at how successful the program was and many product improvement suggestions they received.

    At this time the camp was, given its location, probably mainly German inmates and at the time (at least prior to the 1940) such a camp held mainly political prisoners who had sentences of a few months.

    The reality is the Reich had an extreme labour shortage, unemployment had been virtually eliminated prior to WW2. There was no possibility of a second shift in German factories.

    Efforts were put in place to dramatically reduce labour input. Messerschmitt had a riveting robot that moved over a wing surface and applied rivets.

    By June 1942 Director Kurt Tank complained that in Focke-Wulfs workforce they had gained only 320 new employees but lost 1434 workers to the the Draft of which most were skilled.' so the aviation industry was plundered for its workers by the draft.

    One bizarre matter was that the troublesome He 177 program received special priority in late 1943 which exempted it from the draft. The 12000 workers on this program ultimately were shifted because they were needed on the Arado 234 program. (Arado produced He 177) but perhaps only belatedly.


    If you want to read more about it you can read "Arming the Luftwaffe" by Daniel Uziel, I got mine from scribd.

    It's worth pointing out that the Reich had huge costs associated with manning occupying security forces in the countries they had occupied, building air raid shelters and bomb proof factories, replacing an agricultural workforce they had lost to the draft. The Allies never had these kinds of costs.

    The worst quality control issues were in so called "forest factories" in some cases literally an Me 262 production line built on wooden rails often in the open which in some cases used a very large proportion of forced labour with 40% of aircraft produced of unacceptable quality.

    In terms of sabotage, I think it wouldn't be an issue as one side effect of quality control is traceability which tells one which production line, which shift and who had made a part. The quality issue was likely a result of inadequate conditions, tools and jigs. Many Me 262 were built without jigs.

    In a free market a labour shortage has the effect of increasing wages and conditions as well as the introduction of labour saving machinery. Its true that wages would have gone up but for forced labour but such outlooks were pointless in a case of total war with restricted trade and people movement. For instance Albert Speer made sure he shut down luxury goods manufacture including white goods such as refrigerators. Hence even if one had money it couldn't buy a simple refrigerator.

    In most western economies, these days, wages are now kept low by immigration programs and visa categories.

    I'm no expert and don't want to become one on the source of this forced labour as its far to controversial for anything but impeccable research, but in Aviation it seems to have been mainly POW, I think contract workers forced to renew their contract and outright conscription from occupied nations and those interned for activities against the German occupation. In Aviation manufacturing this was mainly a 1944 development. If you want to read more about it you can read "Arming the Luftwaffe" by Daniel Uziel, I got mine from scribd.
     
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