U.S. Program Acquisition Costs by Weapon System
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Issued Feb. 14, 2011
87 pages in PDF format
This document is undoubtedly one of the more interesting annexes to the Pentagon’s annual budget submission, as it provides a straightforward, unembellished look at the real costs of each of the Pentagon’s major weapon programs.
It consists of an overview section, an analysis of weapon systems by major mission area category, and finally a one-page status report for each program, providing a short description of the system and its mission and a breakdown of funding for three budget years (previous, current and future). As these tables include both total funding and numbers procured, a simple division provides real unit costs, with no “spin” or interpretation.
For the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, for example, the report reveals that the Pentagon has requested a total of $9,732.8 million for FY2012, of which $2,784 million for RDT&E (Research, Development, Test and Evaluation) and $6,644 million in procurement funds to pay for 32 aircraft.
Thus, and whatever ploys Lockheed Martin and other sources may use to disguise and amend the F-35’s costs, the truth is that in FY2011 each aircraft will cost $207.6 million, ($6,644/32) and even $304.15 million ($9,732.8/32) if its share of RDT&E spending is included.
In the same way, unit costs can be computed for all major DoD programs using the data provided by this clear and concise report, which is a very precious resource for anyone interested in the reality of Pentagon weapon acquisition costs.