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For fixed wing aircraft within the U.S. Air Force, Operating and Support (O&S) costs encompass a large portion of total life cycle costs. O&S costs include fuel, maintenance, and engine upgrades. To the authors’ knowledge, no study to date has attempted to empirically quantify the realized effects of new aircraft engines on sustainment costs. Utilizing the Air Force Total Ownership Cost database, they focused on new engines appearing on the C-5s, C-130s, and C-135s. Although narrow in scope, results suggest newer engines have lower fuel costs. Maintenance costs for newer engines were not consistently higher or lower than the engines they replaced, although Contractor Logistics Support was not tracked by engine in this study. We found that savings from improved fuel efficiency tended to be greater than a potential increase in maintenance costs.


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Defense Acquisition Research Journal