I agree. Two notable things in the text:
- 100 air-superiority fighters (another 100 has been added to the F-35 order; deemed to be needing A2A support by late '30s?)
- from outside the US, two companies responded, but only BAE is on the final list (the other one having been 'absorbed' into the Franco-German project. Dassault did not even go into the preliminaries.
"The program is expected to officially kick off this year in line with the Mid-Term Defense Program
[...]Program is anticipated to take about 15 years."
- our Tempest/ Combat Air Strategy funding
renews (?) in March; good timing for slicing out "the action"
- AND bringing in partners with funding
" Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the company that developed the X-2’s fuselage, is expected to take the lead in developing the F-3.
Japan has been looking for international partners to collaborate with MHI and various Japanese subcontractors "
- BAE offer for the fuselage components for F-35s built in Japan was not followed up
- I guess they did not want to prejudice the choice of partners for this "more fundamental round"
Notable as well that the $50bn budget was not enough for LM's Frankenplane (F22+F35), which has now been discounted as an option.
- -we will soon have spent £2 bn
Take a hundred, another 100 for Japan, 50 for Italy and 50 for Sweden (both will have strike planes in service as will the UK and Japan)
- - divide $53bn by 100
and the programme budget becomes $ 159 bn
- - save a third through co-operation, and it will be... a cool $ 100 billion
So let's talk air-superiority (only):
"WASHINGTON — A next-generation air superiority jet for the U.S. Air Force, known by the service as Penetrating Counter Air, could cost about $300 million in 2018 dollars per plane, the Congressional Budget Office states in a new study."
"The CBO estimates the Air Force will need 414 PCA aircraft to replace existing F-15C/Ds and F-22s, the Air Force’s current fighters geared toward air-to-air combat. It also surmises that the first aircraft will enter service in 2030"
makes a mere $ 124 bn (for 414 pieces)
Adjust 300/ 414 (quantities) times the 124 bn above, and:
the comparative cost comes out at $90 bn for the 300 a/c quantity
- for that 10% lower cost being ahead on the learning curve weighs in more than the economies of scale in making them
- but then again: both BAE and MHI have already reached an apprentice
status in making stealth fighters, so I would weigh the risks of such a prgrm (in technology - as in reaching the desired performance, and of cost overruns) to be less
than in the Franco-German one