Composite Airframe Cost Estimation Model Research: Report on Activity

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The purpose of this overall research thrust is to improve the means for costing predominately composite material aircraft in comparison to historic metallic aircraft. There are significantly different manufacturing processes and parts count associated with composites that are not currently addressed with the procurement and life cycle management processes. Composite structure, when compared to metallic structure, is perceived to imply more risk than the associated cost advantages due to insufficient characterization of the life cycle benefits from optimal composite use. Their use has therefore been historically limited to components versus major structural assemblies. The goal of this research is to produce a validated cost model to predict the realistic cost of composite aircraft structures. The proposed research is a continuation of investigations carried out in 2009 and 2010 [1, 2] under sponsorship of AFRL/RB where effects of part count and labor touch hours on cost of composite aircraft were studied. In this effort, the proposed research will investigate the effect of realistic manufacturing process cost and total material cost on the cost estimates of composite aircraft.


Prepared for The Naval Postgraduate School by The Air Force Institute of Technology Under the terms of BAA Number: NPS-BAA-11-002.

This report is hosted at the Defense Acquisition Innovation Repository (DAIR), hosted at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

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