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As Navy aircraft age, leaders must decide whether to modify and upgrade the aging systems or replace them. The Navy wants to make such aging-aircraft management decisions in an objective and analytical manner that provides the most military efficacy to the department for a given level of spending. While the F/A-18E/F is relatively new, preliminary planning has begun as to the feasibility and desirability of a service life extension program (SLEP) on the aircraft. This report sets forth a methodology to compare the value of doing an E/F SLEP to the alternative of buying replacement Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs). The report presents ranges of parameter values that favor versus oppose undertaking E/F SLEPs.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Making the Cost-Minimizing Choice Between a Service Life Extension Program and a New Aircraft

  • Chapter Three

    Consideration of Aircraft Availability Trends

  • Chapter Four

    F/A-18E/F Context

  • Chapter Five

    F/A-18E/F Service Life Extension Program Desirability Analysis

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    An Analysis of Carrier Onboard Delivery Options

  • Appendix B

    Net Present Value Versus Annuitized Value in SLEP Analysis

The research described in this report was prepared for the United States Navy. The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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