Here Are Five of the Most Expensive Military Weapons on Earth

Earlier this month, The Blaze brought you the single most expensive piece of military hardware ever — the new Ford Class USS Gerald Ford Aircraft Carrier.

But military spending in 2010 was $693 billion — nearly half of all military spending on earth. So other than aircraft carriers, where is all that money going?

Take a look below to get a good idea. With an eye to the dollars and cents of major U.S. military programs, the website 24/7 Wall Street has put together a list of the most expensive U.S. military weapons. Cost figures come from documents published by the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office.

Check them out. All are amazing pieces of hardware, but you’ll have to determine for yourself if any of them could be considered a bargain:

1) F-22 Raptor

> Type: stealth fighter jet
> Total Cost: $79.2 billion
> R&D: $40.5 billion
> Procurement Cost: $37.9 billion
> Total Units: 188
> Price per Unit: $211.6 million

Many people say the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is the best fighter jet in the world, hands down. One thing is for sure — it’s the most expensive at $211 million per unit. The DOD budget has 188 on its current budget. Other countries want them, but so far Congress has banned the sale of Raptors to any country.

The Raptor is a hyper-maneuverable, stealth-enabled fighter and can eliminate targets long before they even know it’s in the sky. Equipped with two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, six medium-range air-to-air missiles, a 20 mm gatling gun, two 1,000 pound bombs and eight 250 pound bombs, it gives the U.S. complete air dominance capabilities.

2) Virginia Class Submarine

> Type: nuclear submarine
> Total Cost: $83.7 billion
> R&D: $7.2 billion
> Procurement Cost: $76.6 billion
> Total Units: 30
> Price per Unit: $2,552.6 million

The Virginia Class subs are among the most useful strategic tools in the DOD arsenal.  These nuclear submarines can carry 38 different weapons, including Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, mines and torpedoes. While eight are currently in operation, the Department of Defense has 30 of these $2.5 billion mobile undersea missile platforms budgeted.

Here is a video overview of the Virginia Class Sub, courtesy of the Military Channel:

3 ) Trident II Missile

> Type: ballistic missile
> Total Cost: $53.2 billion
> R&D: $16.8 billion
> Procurement Cost: $35 billion
> Total Units: 561
> Price per Unit: $65.7 million

The Trident II is the most advanced U.S. Navy ballistic missile. Equipped with a thermonuclear warhead, the Trident II is carried by most Ohio-class submarines. According to 24/7:

“The missile is 44 feet long and weighs 80 tons. Equipped with a three-stage rocket, the missile is capable of traveling at more than 13,000 miles per hour, and has a range of 4,600 miles. The Department of Defense currently has 561 Tridents on the budget, each worth more than $65 million, not counting research and development costs.”

4) V-22 Osprey

> Type: tiltrotor transport plane
> Total Cost: $57.8 billion
> R&D: $13.6 billion
> Procurement Cost: $43.5 billion
> Total Units: 459
> Price per Unit: $95.2 million

The  V-22 Osprey is a hybrid plane/helicopter design — called a “tiltrotor aircraft” — which means it can engage in extremely short take-offs and landings, as well as hover in place.

But when the rotors come forward, it has much longer range than a helicopter. The Osprey is a transport craft that can travel up to 390 nautical miles without refueling at speeds surpassing 260 miles per hour. The 459 Ospreys include in the Pentagon budget cost a cool $95.2 million dollars each.

5) Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer

> Type: destroyer
> Total Cost: $101.8 billion
> R&D: $5.1
> Procurement Cost: $96.6 billion
> Total Units: 75
> Price per Unit: $1,299.3 million

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, also known as the DDG 5, has been part of the U.S. Navy’s fleet since 1995. These days there are about 60 in active service, with 15 more in the DOD budget. At more than 500 feet long, stem to stern, the larger generation of Arleigh Burkes displace roughly 9,200 tons, with 350 servicemen on each vessel.

The newest generation is equipped with two vertical launching systems for tomahawk missiles, a 5″ gun, torpedoes and an advanced mine-detection system.

For even more super-pricey weapons systems, you can check out a longer list here via 24/7 Wall Street.

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