Weapons have been constantly improved over the years. As if the military hardware used a few years ago were not able to kill enough people to prove its effectiveness, they have been upgraded to make its use more precise and efficient. This means less collateral damage being inflicted and more safety measures for the user. After all, money should not be an object when it comes to saving the lives of our soldiers. Thus, the irony persists in which more money is spent to ensure the safety of our own military, even as they go about their work of eliminating our enemies.
Here are the most expensive weapons in the world. Amounts quoted are the total cost of each weapon, including research and development.
1. F-35 Lightning II – $326.5 billion
This is still in the development stage, but the multi-role fighter has been designed to perform different roles. The F-35 Lightning II combines state of the art stealth technology and sensor systems with velocity that can break the speed of sound. Three versions are being built, one each for the use of the Air Force, the Marines and for the Navy. The F-35A will utilize standard takeoff and landing, the F-35B will allow short takeoffs and vertical landings, and the F-35C will be stationed in aircraft carriers.
2. Arleigh Burke DDG 51 Destroyer – $101.8 billion
About 80 percent of the 75 ordered have already been delivered. This destroyer needs 350 men to operate and is armed with tomahawk missiles, 5-inch guns, torpedoes and a mine detector. It measures 500 feet and displaces 9,200 tons.
3. Virginia Class Submarine – $83.7 billion
This is a nuclear submarine measuring 377 feet and weighing 7,800 tons. It has 38 different weapons on board, ranging from the Tomahawk Cruise missiles to mines and torpedoes. Eight of them are already patrolling the world’s oceans.
4. F-22 Raptor – $79.2 billion
The Raptor is a state of the art stealth fighter designed to pinpoint and eliminate its targets before it is even tracked. It comes loaded with two Sidewinders, six medium-range air-to-air missiles, two thousand pound bombs and eight 250-pounders. The Raptor is considered as the most advanced jet fighter in the world today.
5. F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets – $57.8 billion
The Super Hornet is an updated version of the current workhorse, F/A-18 Hornet. Primarily used by the Navy, it carries air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles and laser-guided bombs. There is also a 20mm gun. These fighter jets are based on aircraft carriers, and come in either a single seat or a two-seater. The Super Hornets are being earmarked for long-term use, with the military announcing that the Super Hornets will not be phased out even after the completion and delivery of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter.
6. V-22 Osprey – $57.8 billion
The Osprey is designed for long-haul transports, as it has the ability to cover up to 390 nautical miles without the need to refuel. The range is, therefore, much longer than that of a helicopter. It can also go at speeds of over 260 miles per hour. The Osprey is not only capable of short takeoffs and landings, also called STOL; its two 38-foot long blades also allow it to maneuver like a helicopter and do vertical takeoffs and landings, or VTOL.
7. Trident II Missile – $53.2 billion
The Trident II is the latest version of the Navy’s series of ballistic missiles. It is used by most of the military’s Ohio-class submarines and has also been outfitted in some vessels of the British navy. The missile measures 44 feet from top to bottom, and weighs a total of 80 tons. The range of the weapon is an impressive 4,600 miles, which it can travel at a speed of more than 13,000 miles per hour.
8. Joint Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle – $41.6 billion
Talk about a bulletproof vehicle, the Joint Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or the MRAP, has been proofed to protect our soldiers against roadside bombs. This is in reaction to one of the scourges of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when improvised explosive devices, or IEDS, were used by the enemies quite effectively. Depending on how it will be used, the MRAP has been designed in a variety of shapes and sizes, though the common factor with all the vehicles is a chassis shaped like the letter V, as it has proven to be an effective design against bomb blasts from underneath. The armor and glass have also been thickened to counter a barrage from 0.50 caliber bullets.
9. CVN-78 Class Aircraft Carrier- $34 billion
The CVN-78 Class aircraft carrier is actually the most expensive single piece of military equipment ever manufactured, as it comes at a cost of $9.8 billion each. Three of these have been ordered for delivery over a period of ten years. The CVN-78 is the next generation, weighing over a hundred thousand tons and measuring nearly the size of three football fields. The total area is around 4.5 acres, allowing it to accommodate around 75 aircrafts. It will have the Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles in its armory, and it will be powered by two state-of-the-art nuclear reactors. Once completed, the CVN-78 will take the place of the USS Enterprise, which have served our Navy for a long time.
10. P-8A Poseidon – $33 billion
The P-8A Poseidon is designed to take the place of the PC-3 Orion. While it is primarily a surveillance plane, it has also been armed with Mk 54 torpedoes and mines, as well as four AGM-84k standoff missiles. These heavy weapons necessitated the use of the wings of a 737-900 in order to support the weight of the missiles. The Air Force hopes it proves to be an effective patrol, surveillance and anti submarine plane, as the Poseidon has been equipped with modern and cutting-edge sensory equipment.