No other country has a defense budget quite like the United States. The military spends billions of dollars each year on the most advanced, top of the line vehicles and aircrafts that will support the latest military technology in the fields that they were specifically designed for. Here are a list of the Top 10 most expensive aircrafts and vehicles today.
1. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, better known as the Stealth Bomber, can launch conventional and nuclear weapons against the most heavily protected enemy lines on earth thanks to its ability to evade radar detection. The cost of the B-2 program in 1997 was $737 million, or just over $1 billion today. Combined with procurement costs, the B-2 Spirit costs over $2 billion. Because of cost, the 1987 order was slashed from 132 to just 21.
2. Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey
The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey is a versatile aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities similar to those of a helicopter, but is much faster than any existing chopper these days. It was first used for combat in 2007 in Iraq, and the Marine Corps intends to use them in Afghanistan by late 2011. The Osprey program up until 2008 cost $27 million and as of 2010, $67 million.
3.USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
Named for World War II veteran and former President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is the final Nimitz supercarrier to be produced for the US Navy. Commissioned in 2001, the cost of this aircraft is $6.2 billion. At almost 1,100 feet in length, it’s one of the longest warships in the world.
4. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
The F-35 Lightning II was developed as part of a joint program between the US, the UK and other allies known as the Joint Strike Fighter program. It was developed for use in air, ground and reconnaissance missions, it has a wingspan of 35 feet and a length of over 51 feet, and reached speeds up to 1,200 mph. The cost for one aircraft is $122 million.
5. McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
The F/A-18 Hornet was introduced by McDonnell Douglas and is manufactured by Boeing. It was used in Operation Desert Storm, and it’s the featured aircraft of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron.
The Hornet can reach a maximum speed of 1190 miles per hour, and it can climb up to 50,000 feet in a minute and in 2006, reported to cost $57 million for one unit.
6. Boeing EA-18G Growler
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a carrier-based fighter used for electronic warfare. It can disrupt radar and jam an enemy communication systems, and while it carries no guns, it carries missiles for self-defense. The aircraft has a wingspan of over 44 feet and a length of over 60 feet. According to the US Navy, it costs $67 million for one unit.
7.Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
Developed for the US Marine Corps, it is deployed at sea and transports a full marine rifle squad to shore, then operates on land with the full capabilities of a tank. The cost for each unit is over $22 million.
8.Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
The E-2 Hawkeye is an airborne early warning aircraft that dates back to the 1960s. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye costs $232 million to produce. It features a brand new avionics suite, complete with satellite communications capability, and the capability for midair refueling.
9.Boeing C-17 Globemaster III
The C17A Globemaster III is a military transport aircraft in operation since 1993. The plane, which can drop over 100 paratroopers into a war zone at one time, has been used to move troops into Iraq and Afghanistan. The price for one unit is $191 million.
10.Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
According to it’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, the F-22 Raptor is the best combat aircraft on earth. It can break the sound barrier, and it can avoid detection by radar and it can shoot down cruise missiles. The Air Force budget document estimated that one unit costs $150 million, with an overall program cost of $65 billion.