Regretful Morning

5 Most Expensive U.S. Military Vehicles To Date

Posted July 29th, 2009 at 10:34 am by

With the economy the way it is, we all have to trust our government to spend wisely (since they own your income). Otherwise, you might go out and buy some crazy outlandish car you don’t need, a pickup truck you only want, or something similar. It’s not like the government has ever spent copious amounts of money on any sort of vehicle before, have they?

Bush Aircraft Carrier

Iowa Class BattleshipThe Iowa Class Battleships were 4 battleships built between 1939 and 1942. These ships were ordered by the United States Government in 1939 to be the escort vessels for the fast carrier task forces that would operate and control the bulk of the Pacific during World War II. The original order was placed for 6 ships but, in a gigantic waste of money, metal, and man hours, two were canceled before completion and scrapped. These Goliath blow-your-ass-out-of-the-water mean machines were commissioned on February 22, 1943 where they began an impressive career through the end of the century, to retire from service in March of 2006. While we could not locate an exact price for the ship construction at the time, a time when Coca-Cola cost a nickel, bread a penny, and your uncle walked 5 miles uphill both ways to school, Consumerist estimates that with inflation factored in, each vessel would have cost approximately 1.8 billion dollars. That makes the total cost for the four ships roughly in the neighborhood of 7.4 billion dollars. That was money that could have been spent elsewhere. Particularly, at Playboy. Because that would be enough money to give every male in the U.S. a 4 year subscription to Playboy magazine (with enough left over for Vaseline).

Iowa Class Battleship

Expeditionary Fighting VehicleDid you watch any of the U.S. Presidential debates between John McCain and Barack Obama? When asked about defense spending, do you remember McCain talking about an amphibious vehicle program that was costing the taxpayers billions of dollars? Meet the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, or EFV. Planning and vision for this vehicle began in the 1970s and continues to this day. The EFV is a tracked vehicle with an aluminum hull designed to operate in the ocean, amphibiously land on a beach, and continue travel with a crew of 3 and a carrying capability of 17. The budget for this fabulous piece of equipment increased year after year and as of now stands at approximately 15.9 billion dollars. The catch? That’s for development. Prototypes. In fact, the US Marine Corps just sent the last batch of prototypes back to the manufacturer, dissatisfied with the fact that they broke down, on average, once for every 4.5 hours of operating time. That’s twice per operational day, per vehicle. The current cost of 15.9 billion dollars is not a final number, because the vehicles have not yet reached production phase. The 15.9 billion dollars spent on this vehicle system so far could have instead bought every resident of the U.S. Virgin islands (of driving age) a 2007 Ferrari F430.


Ohio Class Submarine - There must be something inherently expensive about naming things after states. The Ohio Class Nuclear Submarine, named after the lead vessel the USS Ohio, is a Trident II SSBN submarine class. What that means is these submarines, each staffed with a crew of 155 seamen (go ahead, laugh. We did), all contain their own nuclear reactor. This reactor, which we won’t describe, for fear you may build one in your mothers basement, has the capability to power the submarine, maintain life support systems, separate oxygen from water to produce viable air, and purify sea water for up to 100 years. What does this mean to you? Let us put it this way. If one of these babies leaves port, the amount of time it spends out at sea is limited only by the amount of food it can carry. If they had a few greenhouses and chickens on board, aside from smelling like shit, these subs could stay out at sea indefinitely. How much did each of these 18 vessels cost the U.S? Approximately 2 billion dollars each. The replacement cost for one of these babies? Double that. The total tab for these 18 submersible sausage-fests is right about 36 billion dollars. What could that money buy you? How about what could that money buy the continent of Africa? How about a double cheeseburger and water, every day, for every human on the continent, for a month?


Nimitz Class Aircraft CarrierThe Nimitz Class aircraft carrier, named not for the tree cat but for U.S. Navy Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, was originally commissioned for use on May 3, 1975. Like the Ohio Class subs, this class was given it’s name after the first ship was produced. Each subsequent ship, with the exception of the USS John C. Stennis and USS Carl Vinson, was named for a U.S. president. There were 10 of these hulking capital ships produced since 1975, each with it’s own nuclear reactor, again, like the Ohio Class submarines. The only difference is that these ships were not submersible, and did not need air production. Also, due to their enormous size (almost a quarter mile in length), they accommodate many more seamen, about 5,700 to be precise. These ships, hailed as icons symbolic of America’s status as a super-power, cost the tax payer approximately 4.5 billion dollars each, for a total fleet cost of 45 billion dollars. What could you do with that kind of money? That’s enough to buy every man, woman, child, and baby in the United States an iPod Nano.


B2-SpiritThe final item on our rundown today is the B2-Spirit bomber. This bomber, of which 21 exist, was not just any bomber. No, it’s a stealth bomber. These guys are the big lights in the night sky you see but don’t hear. That satellites and radar cannot detect. That cost 23 billion dollars in project planning and design. That’s right, before these black angels were ever produced, they cost 23 billion dollars.


In order to produce them, with inflation factored into today’s standards, each bomber would cost approximately 1.3 billion dollars to produce. There are still 20 in use today, and these bombers are highly classified, so the most we can say about them is that we’d love to roll up to a ladies house in one of those pimpin’ rides. Though with a 174 foot wingspan, it certainly wouldn’t fit in the driveway. So to crunch the numbers, 21 bombers, priced at 1.3 billion each, plus 23 billion dollars in design and planning, brings us to a figure of roughly 50.3 billion dollars. How much is that? Just about enough to buy Afghanistan, ending that war. It would also leave enough money left over to buy Honduras, and turn it into one giant Central American theme-park.

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Around The Web

  • Spewf
    July 29, 2009


    1.3 billion? That is nothing

  • solomon
    July 30, 2009


    your list is weird….you left out obvious vehicles and airplanes and just went with the flashiest examples possible. the list is…not up to standards.

  • Dwight Stegall
    August 21, 2009


    54 billion? I spend more than that for breakfast everyday. :(

  • wrar
    August 21, 2009


    What good is having an ipod nano for every person in the US if you can’t defend yourself? I, for one, am completely glad that our defense budget is pretty much all other countries combined.

    • Syphonaptera
      May 8, 2010


      Dude , you are cracking, america attacks countries, not the otherway around, you sick dumb overpatriotic brainwashed warmonging numbskull. I even bet you NEVER was in any army. The terroristic attacks( IF they were not an inside job) were just a reaction for the constant american imperialistic behavior in this world. You paranoid freak. Send more taxdollears to illegal israel and 9-11″ens are getting normal ….you americans are all alike…

  • El_Dudearino
    August 21, 2009


    Keep your Ipod Nano, I’d prefer the saftey of my fellow countrymen. When a country starts to act up all we have to do is to send one or two carriers over…(cough Taiwan situation cough) and things get cleared up right quick. You want to stop wastful Gov’t spending? Then drop Welfare.

    • blackraven1425
      August 21, 2009


      Drop welfare, and you risk massive financial collapses, which lead to riots, which lead to our military being used against all of us in a futile attempt by powerful people to reclaim a country that would no longer be theirs.

      • Ed
        November 8, 2009


        You assume that everyone in the country is on welfare. The number is 1.6% and many of those are children…which leaves 2 points on the table. There would be no huge revolt….and we are not likely to every shut it off completely anyway because of the impact on the children mentioned earlier.

  • Socrates
    August 21, 2009


    We all like to have a strong national defense. You guys are arguing a point that has not been raised. The issue here is that we are paying way too much for said defense. Our tax dollars flow through a wide and unstoppable spigot straight into the pockets of the military industrial complex. Some reasonable oversight would be swell.

  • Kris
    August 21, 2009


    The Nimitz class carriers actually have two separate nuclear reactors on board.

  • TheOtherWhiteMeat
    August 21, 2009


    This spending may seem like quite a bit, but it was a one time cost to the government. This one time cost has produced a piece of equipment that has had lots of use and for many of these over a very long lifespan. The real cost to most of these items is not the item itself but the maintenance cost associated with keeping it running. Also you have to remember that most of these products R&D and production were in the United States, giving the government money back to its people (albeit small compared to the big corporations).

  • Jason
    August 21, 2009


    First off, this was a hilarious post. It is a shame though that there are many individuals that really had to argue about it. Guys it was a spoof. Although the monies are probably realistic amounts, the idea behind it is that we as a nation spend entirely too much money on things that are not really that necessary. Think about it for a second, we spend billions and billions of dollars on items that we hope we don’t destroy trying to protect the next “third world country” that we had just armed with nucs. Then if we do not destroy these military vehicles we have to maintain them for that “just in case” emergency that is all hype about how we didn’t know that the “third world country” we are trying to help had nuclear weapons (even though we made them for them).
    So in the mean time we can have teenage pregnancy esculate and populate the country with more people, and unemployment on the rise, so those new borns won’t have a chance to get a job because we are spending the money to have weapons built in the name of national defense.

    Let’s get real. Half of the battles that are fellow Marines, and other servicemen are getting involved with are truly an ego problem. Not to mention the media hyping up what is really going on.
    So before someone goes out and says that they do not mind spending 54 billion dollars to keep our country safe, just ask yourself how we get into the situations that we have to resort to creating 54 billion dollar military machines to begin with……

    • M
      February 6, 2010


      “Half of the battles that are fellow Marines, and other servicemen are getting involved with are truly an ego problem.”
      I’ve read that several times, but can’t make any cheese out of it…

  • MM
    August 21, 2009


    No wonder you guys have so many war movies that feature these monsters. At least you get some money back by renting them. :)

  • Sarah
    August 21, 2009


    Awesome! Thanks!

  • phil
    August 21, 2009


    Gee, with all the screaming about govt. spending at these town meetings, I guess the screamers forgot about the price of these weapons that: Did not keep us from attack on 11 September,
    did not defeat the Irag nation and is doing nothing to help in Afganistan. Based on results,
    DOD with all these expensive weapons, the military has been a failure in the last ten years.

  • Sit
    August 21, 2009


    It’s very very good. Keep posting this type of interesting articles.

    It is enjoyable to read it…………Thanx

  • Chris
    August 21, 2009


    Are you really complaining about how much Iowa class battleships cost? They were in service for over 60 years…Average americans don’t use ANYTHING for 60 years the fact that the Navy as of a few years ago was defending our country with a 60 year old ship seems like something that should be on a list of governmental frugality not waste.

  • TheJBJ
    August 21, 2009


    It’s so sad to hear people like this talk. Phil: do you really think the Military is to blame? Maybe it’s you and your friends and me and every other American. We voted for the leadership we got. It’s their fault, not the Military. Also, if it were not for the excessive amount of military might that we have you could be guaranteed that you’d be speaking Russian or Korean by now.

  • Andrew
    August 21, 2009


    What about the F-35 and the F-22?

  • Introspective
    August 21, 2009


    I believe that cost of military machinery is artificially pumped up, in order to justify the budget spending.

  • Chris
    August 21, 2009


    Obama cancelled production of super-expensive F-35s (or whatever the newest fighter jet prototype is called). It is ridiculous how some people drawn the conclusion that this is all useless stuff citing the war in Iraq as an example. A lot of this technology was being developed in the arms race with the former Soviet Union to scare them from attacks – modern terrorism wasn’t an issue. If we got rid off all our conventional weapons just because we are fighting insurgents, then we would be in a very bad position.

  • richard
    August 21, 2009


    The other white meat is an idiot. Arms race baby. This is the best country in the world, in my humble opinion its better to be safe than sorry. I do not pitty ot feal sorry for the servicemen. i love them for what they do. But they know what they are signing up for the same way i know what im signing up for again. Its not that i dont feel safe in my country because believe me i do. i do not fear terrorists, but given the chance to kill some, i say hell fucking yeah, why not. So dont cry for the servicemen stand behind them, and yes lets build the best fucking weapons we can possibly build. Its called Scare the fuck out of anyone who wants to go to war with us. Im so sick of all the liberal pussies in this country, if we had it your way we’d all be slaves or worse left fending for survival because u people are to afraid to stand up for anything. Survival of the fittest….. and BTW Fuck world peace, then what will there be for us soldiers to do.

    • richard
      August 21, 2009


      Sorry Other White Meat…… I meant Jason.

    • dave
      January 15, 2010


      How do you know this is the best country in the world? How many countries have you been to? Do you know how many have more personal freedom than we do (50%)? Do you know how many have healthcare for nearly all citizens? Do you know how many don’t bankrupt families to send kids to college? Do you know how many don’t have center cities dominated by crackheads? Could you even name half the countries of Asia or Africa on a map? No, you are just brainwashed.

      • M
        February 6, 2010


        Richard hasn’t such a thick skull that he really means this:
        “and BTW Fuck world peace, then what will there be for us soldiers to do.”
        Thus, his post most’ve been ment sarcastic. Because, it’s exactly the same as saying ‘we need rapists, murderers and other criminals, otherwise many policemen would lose their jobs’. Policemen are needed _because_ of the existence of criminals. Richard reasons the other way round, he says ‘we need criminals, otherwise we can’t have policemen’.
        If he didn’t mention it sarcastic… then there’s no rescue for him. Send him to the frontline. He would be utterly proud to be able to fight at the frontline then, anyway.

  • hollo
    August 21, 2009


    “The Nimitz Class aircraft carrier, named not for the tree cat ” for this i love you. I’ve been rereading my David Weber lately and i wonder how many people have no clue what you are talking about.

  • Nuclear Nuts
    August 21, 2009


    Dont forget the new class of carriers currently being built. Ford Class aircraft carriers are said to cost 9 billion once all said and done. Though the first is not going to be finished for some time and that number will only go up.

    Anyway, God for our military. its all this expensive stuff that keeps us…well us…

  • GG
    August 23, 2009


    Possessive “its” has no apostrophe.

  • automotive
    September 10, 2009


    so expensive!so surprising!

  • timogin
    October 27, 2009


    Of course 1.3B is nothing, because we barrow 2.2B from China, Europe and all the little nations that put in money at the world bank and IMF. Thats almost 4T a year. We charge our stupid taxpayers and then most of that is given to a little nazi nation Israel. By the way we also fight the real war while those chicken israelis kill civilians in PALESTINE.

  • John and Dagny Galt
    October 30, 2009


    We won’t be donating our lunch money…evar!

    Read Starving The Monkeys by Tom Baugh before the book is banned and Tom is Vince Fostered!

    John and Dagny Galt
    Atlas Shrugged, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)


  • Mike
    November 26, 2009


    In term of treating one another, in many instances, present nations are not any different from those of thousands years ago. Our civilization, even it is not perfect, is still the most humane one of all times and we need to be able to defend it from growing external military threats. Therefore, for the military we must spend as much as needed to meet the challanges.
    As for internal or domestic threats we have to educate on reality our “citizens of the world” residing here and having USA Pasport: either we compromize some money (which is only money and only a fraction of what we waste !) or we lose everithing all together.

  • RayUK
    December 14, 2009


    Defend yourselves!!!! You mean like you did on 9/11?

  • Jay
    January 6, 2010


    A supposedly untrackable B2 flew to the Farnborough Airshow in the UK – and was promptly detected on aooroach by a radar unit being demonstrated for potential purchasers!
    The US Airforce was not very happy!

    • Jay
      January 6, 2010


      Or even “… on approach …”!
      Sorry about that!

  • Compatriot
    January 20, 2010


    The question is not how many consumer products could be bought with a military budget but perhaps how many low cost and functional weapon systems could be developed instead of the massive and nuclear powered can openers? Its not only arms race products they are measuring who’s got the most sizable military phallus too.

  • W
    February 12, 2010


    What some guy before said.

    If this list is counting development and unit cost, why not put the F-22 in there?

    65B development cost, 145M unit cost, right? 187 planned.. so unless I messed up somewhere, then around 90+ billion USD?
    Enough to buy every man, woman, and child on the Bahamas three Nissan GT-Rs and then some.

  • Walrus
    February 15, 2010


    I am proud as an American citizen to have supported these grand achievements. I believe the author meant most of this in jest, as I cannot see how anyone would actually oppose America having a strong military and choose instead to buy a new iPod. When you are old and ailing, I do not believe I will hear you complaining about the ridiculous amount of debt that providing welfare and healthcare rams us into, without even providing the lasting benefits that our military does.

  • anand
    February 19, 2010


    These weapons(specially efv,b2,ohio,nimitz) were very necessary to defend usa from al qaida the only enemy that ever reached and attacked usa.
    What a waste of money.
    Rich nations have so much pain in their a$$ to give money to poor nations to develop, but so easily they spend on waste junk boxes,.!!
    Some analysts suggest that costliest type of weapons are designed rather than smart types so as to benefit war mongers and increase further debt on people ,who finally pay for these !!

  • Nick JDM
    February 22, 2010


    wow pocket change

  • Xerox
    February 24, 2010


    Christ some of the thick skulled arrogance in the above comments is astounding.

    If anything 9/11 (which is largely your own bloody fault) should be seen as proof that the US is not protected from the attacks it is most likely to face. Nuclear weapons render the large scale use of conventional weapons for an extended war with another country almost impossible. You’re spending billions on developing weapons (a subject that, admittedly, i find fascinating) and your reasoning is…what? “we’re America and we’re the best and we’re protecting ourselves from the enemy and protecting other countries and these weapons mean i can sit and eat burgers, get fat and be thick in safety” – your reasoning is flawed. The largest country which could, concievably, start a conventional war with you is Iran, and even then it’s more likely to be nuclears.

    Now, 9/11 was instigated by a group with no recognised national allegiance. The Taliban are in Afghanistan, not of it. And so your threat of nukes is essentially meaningless, because they’re not a state and you wouldn’t be justified in using them. And so you send over your state of the art tech, starting a war which has cost into trillions, and yet you’re infantry are being bogged down and killed by men with weapons that are 40+ years old (and/or that you sold them) and the expensive vehicles are being defeated by something made in a kitchen somewhere with a pair of plyers.

    You want my opinion on what would be a better techmological investment? No? Well you’re getting it.

    Spend the money on technological enhancement of the troops on the ground. Armored exoskeletons and the like (just look on Youtube) better guns, more helicopters – oh, and maybe use some of the cash to employ some half decent advisors and strategists.

    Then you can go on and spend ridiculous money on a revolutionary microwave to put in your tank or something. It’s not that that bothers me, it’s the reasoning. Defence my arse, deluded people.

  • Chris
    May 17, 2010


    . Because, it’s exactly the same as saying ‘we need rapists, murderers and other criminals, otherwise many policemen would lose their jobs’. Policemen are needed _because_ of the existence of criminals. Richard reasons the other way round, he says ‘we need criminals, otherwise we can’t have policemen

  • think
    June 1, 2010


    “Christ some of the thick skulled arrogance in the above comments is astounding.”
    Or…. We can use our fictitious fiat trillions to develop trade and tourism with all countries and develop Peace! We can spend a couple billion on war simulation games instead.
    Exoskeletons will be a great way to allow seniors to take the jobs of the owners of these stupid comments left by armchair war heroes that live in their mom’s basement.

  • Legion
    August 10, 2010


    So just as an FYI most of these vehicles are useless, war has changed so much since they were commissioned that they can’t live up to their full potential. Also there was a simulation done and after the first battle the Americans got their asses kicked so hard that they made their opponent quit by creating so many rules. In other words these “toys” are useless because the american brass has an over inflated ego… also these vehicles will never be able to stop terrorists, the americans need a new strategy.

  • Tyler
    August 16, 2010


    Most of your figures were great, but if you dig a little deeper you will find that the B2 is actually between 2.1 and 2.2 BILLION dollars. Also, if you want to cut government spending, let’s look more at the pointless items on the budget rather than reducing the defenses of the little piece of land that every other country wants. Just the opinions of a “silent professional”. Look that one up if you want.

  • Cam
    September 29, 2010


    While the Iowa class battleships were darn expensive, I feel it’s important to point out that they lasted 60 years and served in every US war from WW2 to The Gulf War. While they may have cost 1.8 billion each, I can think of many vehicles that cost maybe a quarter of their cost, but were only used by the military for a few years.

  • Joe
    October 2, 2010


    The Iowa class of battleships was worth every cent, do some research.

    I also think the Nimitz and B-2 are worth their price. Remember there total cost is little compared to Americas economy. Nothing better demonstrates power better.

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