A limited set of F-35 fighters, faced with a threat escalation scenario, could execute high-risk missions in order to achieve military objectives quickly, thus avoiding lengthy, high-mortality conflicts.
F-35 Cost and Efficiency Assessment
The high cost of the F-35 program, to many critics and cost analysts, could be justified if these fighter jets were to achieve high-impact military results in a short time effectively. In this way, prolonged operations involving a greater number of casualties would be avoided.
The question arises as to whether the F-35s, even meeting target fleet sizes, could save Pentagon resources in the long run and increase pilot safety.
A 2020 Mitchell Institute study, “Resolving America’s Defense Strategy-Resource Mismatch,” proposes that F-35 acquisition and maintenance costs, considered in a cumulative operating cost equation, are cheaper than previously thought.
Reflection on F-35 Costing
According to Mitchell’s report, the error lies in the procedure. The criteria and methods used to assess the costs and affordability of the F-35 have not been correct.
Mitchell’s main conclusion is based on the need to develop sufficient metrics to clearly demonstrate the cost-saving advantages of stealth aircraft when viewed from the perspective of mission objectives and success in accomplishing them.
The study suggests that the superior capabilities of the F-35 could ensure mission results that would otherwise require several less capable and, therefore, riskier aircraft.
F-35 Fleet and its Impact on operations efficiency
In terms of fleet percentage, the Air Force currently has 81% 4th generation aircraft and only 19% 5th generation aircraft such as the F-35. What operational implications can this have?
The Mitchell Institute paper states that the “cost” approach should stop focusing so much on individual systems and consider more the business resources needed to achieve mission objectives.
Ultimately, considering future investment, these 5th-generation aircraft could represent superior value across multiple combat system dimensions.
When considering availability and deployment, assessing the operational implications of maintaining a fleet comprised mostly of 4th generation aircraft is necessary.
Operational implications of a majority 4th generation fleet
This dominance of 4th generation aircraft can pose significant challenges in terms of effectiveness and safety in combat operations. Generation 5 aircraft, such as the F-35, possess technological advantages that enable superior performance in various combat circumstances.
Therefore, a gradual shift towards a fleet with a higher proportion of 5th-generation aircraft can provide significant benefits, not only in terms of operational efficiency but also in terms of pilot safety and the economy of resources.
The possible impact of the F-35 on future military strategies
F-35s, by enabling rapid and effective execution of high-risk missions, can play a crucial role in future military strategies. The ability to achieve war objectives efficiently can minimize the duration of conflicts and the resulting casualties.
Furthermore, the cost-benefit analysis may become more favorable when considering the added value that the F-35 can bring to the global combat system. That is why its incorporation and maintenance in military fleets is a topic of interest.
Final thoughts on the role of the F-35
In conclusion, the F-35’s superior capabilities and potential long-term cost savings make this 5th-generation aircraft an essential component in future defense operations. The evaluation and consideration of these factors can guide strategic investment decisions in the combat aircraft fleet.