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As the costs of Department of Defense (DoD) Weapon Systems increase, the ability to estimate the Operating and Support (O&S) costs accurately for the various weapon systems has become vital to long-term affordability. This research focuses on the O&S costs of the Air Force fixed-wing arsenal (i.e., platforms) for 1996–2016. First, the Cost Element Structure (CES) for 52 aircraft platforms and seven operational mission categories is analyzed to derive the descriptive statistics per aircraft category through examination of actual historical costs. Second, testing to identify statistical differences within the O&S CES construct across various Air Force aircraft categories is conducted. DoD cost estimators and stakeholders alike can benefit from this research by utilizing the results as cross-checks for predicting O&S costs through analogous-based estimates and as an in-depth analysis into categories of CES costs being incurred.


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The DOI for this article is defunct as of 2023 March, and is omitted here.

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Defense Acquisition Research Journal