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The Department of Defense (DoD) cost estimating methodology currently employs T. P. Wrights 75-plus-year-old learning curve formula. The goal of this research was to examine alternative learning curve models and determine if a more reliable and valid cost estimation method exists, which could be incorporated within the DoD acquisition environment. This study tested three alternative learning models (the Stanford-B model, DeJong's learning formula, and the S-Curve model) to compare predicted against actual costs for the F-15 A-E jet fighter platform. The results indicate that the S-Curve and DeJong models offer improvement over current estimation techniques, but more importantly and unexpectedly highlight the importance of incompressibility (the amount of a process that is automated) in learning curve estimating.


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Defense Acquisition Research Journal