The hourly cost of operating the US Army fighter fleet [Infographic]

Modern military fighter jets are extremely expensive to procure, with a single F-35A unit costing $98 million, according to
Lockheed Martin
. This program is already considered the most expensive weapons system in history and is expected to cost $1.509 billion through 2070. The amount of money needed to keep America’s advanced military aircraft flying once that they entered service is also considerable.

According Data from the Ministry of Defensethe
Air Force
two newer fighters are extremely expensive to operate. The F-22A and F-35A have an hourly operating cost of $33,538 and $28,455 respectively. That’s considerably more than the planes they’re about to replace, like the A-10 which costs just under $6,000 per hour. The Air Force’s attempts to retire the twin-engine strike aircraft have been heavily criticized after its success supporting soldiers and marines on the ground in Afghanistan. The F-16, the workhorse of the Air Force, has hourly operating costs of around $8,000.

Across the Navy and Marine Corps, the cost of keeping aircraft operational is also relatively low compared to fielding the new 5th generation fighters. The hourly bill to keep an AV-8B Harrier in the air is about $13,700, while a two-seat FA-18F costs about $10,500. F-22As are actively bombing ISIS targets in Syria, but with such huge hourly operating costs, shouldn’t other platforms be doing the same job at a fraction of the cost?

*Click below to enlarge (graphic by Statistical)

Comments are closed.