Letter to the Editor Published in The New York Times
To The Editor:
The chart depicting military-aircraft operating costs that accompanied Eric Schmidtt’s May 2 Week in Review report offered a telling lesson about war costs. It showed that the 35-year-old B-52 bomber costs $8,300 per hour to fly, and that the cruise missiles it carries cost $2 million each. Cost of a ten-hour mission to destroy a dozen military targets: $24,083,000.
It also showed that the newer B-2 bomber costs $5,719 per hour to fly, and that each of its satellite-guided bombs costs $23,200. Because the B-2 is stealthy it can penetrate air defenses and drop glide bombs, rather than having to shoot cruise missiles from far away. Cost of a ten-hour mission to destroy a dozen military targets: $335,590.
If the B-52 and the B-2 each carried out one such mission every day during a six week air campaign (e.g., Desert Storm or Kosovo), the cost of using each B-52 would be over a billion dollars. The cost of using the B-2 would be about $14 million. Suddenly the “overpriced” B-2 looks like a huge bargain.
Chief Operating Officer
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