In What World Does Spending 3/4 of a Billion Dollars on One Bomber Make Sense?

The B-17

The B-17

At Bloomberg, Tony Capaccio reports the new long-range bomber planned by the Air Force may cost 50 percent more than it had projected. The figure thrown around is $810 million for one, up from $737,000,000 for the B-2. Bear in mind that, during World War II, a number quoted for B-17s ― one of its predecessors ― was 12,731 manufactured. Let’s see how many of previous generations of bombers you could buy with the money spent on one of the new bomber (figures from Wikipedia).

• 3,399 B-17s at $238,329 each

• 1,267 B-29s at $639,188 each

• 15 B-52s at $53.4 million each

Is one new bomber worth that many of the old bombers? In terms of pure destructiveness, that’s questionable. Bear in mind that the B-29 was used to transport and drop nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Really, how much more bang for the buck does a bomber need?

$810 million for one bomber ― is the Pentagon even listening to itself?