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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top 5 Most Expensive Vehicles of U.S. Military


5. McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

The F/A-18 Hornet was introduced by McDonnell Douglas and is manufactured by Boeing, who acquired the company in 1997. After making it maiden voyage in 1978, it was introduced in 1983 and since then, it has been used in a variety of capacities. 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. However, its primary functions are reconnaissance and air support.
The Hornet can reach a maximum speed of 1190 miles per hour, and it can climb up to 50,000 feet in a minute. Outside of the US, the fighter is used by the armed forces of such countries as Australia, Canada and Switzerland, and it has appeared in the 1996 science fiction film Independence Day as the aircraft used to defeat the alien menace. A 2006 report by the US Navy estimated that the cost of one unit is $57 million.
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. Its internal fuel capacity is over 18,000 pounds and it can reach speeds of 1,200 miles per hour.
The F-35 Lightning II is armed with a 4-barreled Gatling cannon and eight types of missiles, and if all else fails, it also has a B61 nuclear bomb. The cost for one aircraft is $122 million. The US plans to purchase over 2,000 units, at a cost of $323 billion. When this deal was cut in 2001, it made Lockheed Martin the recipient of the largest military contract in history.
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. It was commissioned in 2001 and built by Northrop Grumman for a cost of $6.2 billion.
The carrier was completed in 2009, and is docked in Virginia. At almost 1,100 feet in length, it’s one of the longest warships in the world. Its top speed is over 30 knots, which it reaches with the help of two onboard nuclear reactors. This power source is capable of keeping the ship running for more than twenty years without once having to refuel.
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. However, it’s much faster than any existing chopper and it can fly at speeds as high as those of conventional turboprop airplanes. It was first used for combat in 2007 in Iraq, and the Marine Corps intends to use them in Afghanistan by late 2011. Unfortunately, the Osprey was plagued by a series of accidents during its design and testing phase between 1991 and 2000, and during that period the aircraft was involved in multiple accidents that caused thirty fatalities. Since 2008, the Osprey program has cost $27 billion, and as of 2010, each unit has cost $67 million.
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. Originally, it was supposed to be manufactured in a run of 132, but it was so expensive that the initial 1987 order was slashed to 21.
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. The craft was first used during the Kosovo War in 1999, and it has been used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. They have also been used during the 2011 Libyan uprising, according to the BBC.
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