Here’s a simple little table that shows a wide range of military aircraft and their cost to produce. Obviously, there’s a lot more to getting a real price than just looking at a sticker in the canopy and this is certainly estimation, but it is still very useful. Check it out.
Also, I’m wondering again what possible use we have for the new F-22 Raptor. There’s no doubt that it’s an incredible machine, but what do we need it for? To be honest, what do we really need F-15s and F-14s for? We could fight and defeat, with our trained pilots and crews, anyone in the world right now with F-16s and F-18s. Probably, we could do it with F-4s, but we don’t want to take on TOO much of a handicap.
My point is that we shouldn’t be spending close to $200 million per copy on a fighter when a $20 million fighter would be just as effective and far cheaper to operate. And in some cases we’ll actually be LOSING effectiveness by upgrading to newer aircraft. For instance, the A-10 remains, BY FAR, our best close support aircraft. Ask anyone on the ground who they want covering their ass and they’ll tell you bring in the Warthogs. Just because the new Air Force commercial touts the Raptor as the F/A-22, meaning it’s a fighter/attack aircraft, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be anywhere close to as effective. How low is the line going to be for a $200 million dollar aircraft over the battlefield? Not low enough to see the whites of their eyes, I’m betting.
For what it’s worth, I think the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is probably going to have a far greater impact during the Fourth World War than the F-22 is going to. At less than half the price.