An Estimation of USAF Aircraft Operating and Support Cost Relations

by Gregory G. Hildebrandt, Man-bing Sze


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To understand the availability of data to identify operating and support (O&S) costs, this Note develops aggregative cost estimating relationships to explain O&S costs. A database called VAMOSC is used in conjunction with other information on aircraft characteristics to relate O&S costs per aircraft to flying hours per aircraft, flyaway cost, number of aircraft, and design age. At the total O&S cost level, flyaway cost is an acceptable proxy for aircraft type and the mission design series year of initial operational capability. These cost estimating relationships give impressive explanatory results; whether they have equal predictive power remains to be seen. They may be helpful for assessing Air Force trade-offs between modernization and operating tempo and eventually for understanding the cost of achieving alternative readiness levels.

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