Business case analysis of the Joint Strike Fighter's alternate engine program
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The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is the largest Department of Defense (DoD) military aircraft acquisition program to date. The JSF will serve the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as many of our key international allies. In 1998, the DoD initiated the JSF alternate engine program in an effort to achieve cost savings, performance improvements, and other non-tangible benefits, similar to those achieved during the F-16 Great Engine War. Congress has periodically debated the pros and cons of the JSF alternate engine program, coming to no real consensus on the topic. The most recent debate coincided with the FY2007 budget request, which resulted in the proposed cancellation and elimination of funding for the F136 program. While Congress eventually restored the majority of the program's funding for that year, the DoD has again proposed elimination of the program in its FY2008 budget proposal. With a program of this magnitude, the savings and performance benefits to be gained are significant. Before DoD decides to terminate the alternate engine program, a thorough and unbiased analysis should be performed to weigh the costs and benefits of the second engine program. This thesis is a Business Case Analysis (BCA) of the costs, benefits, issues, and effects associated with maintaining the JSF's alternate engine program. It compares the dual-source and sole-source scenarios with regard to the development, production, and life-cycle sustainment of the JSF engine. The study also explores past DoD engine acquisition programs, including the highly successful dual-sourced F-16/F-15 engine, to establish a precedent for the potential monetary and non-monetary savings that can result from competition. Finally, the thesis examines the non-quantitative impacts the program's cancellation will have on the DoD, its allies, and the industrial base.
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