PARIS --- The real cost of U.S. military aircraft continues to be the subject of some debate, especially as the Pentagon’s tendency to change procurement numbers and budget envelopes can easily obfuscate the actual figures and prove confusing.
The prices below are extrapolated from the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs), submitted to Congress on August 10, 2006. In the SARs, total program costs reflect actual costs to date, when available, or future anticipated costs when not. All estimates include anticipated inflation allowances.
Our price figures are calculated by dividing the SAR’s total program cost by the number of units to be produced. The resulting unit program cost amortizes research and development costs, and some support costs, over the entire production run, and is thus not an indication of actual acquisition prices.
It is, however, the simplest, clearest and most accessible measure of weapon costs available.
US Military Aircraft: Unit and total costs by program
(Source: US DoD: Selected Acquisition Reports to June 30, 2006)