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Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 10, 2002 4:32 pm

My Brothers friend and his brother were having an argument over how much one of these B-2 aircraft would cost the USA to produce or build a single aircraft.
One of them said around 1 billion dollars and one of them reckoned more...what is the actual price?

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JSC_23
Be a realist...Remain a dreamer!
 
jwenting
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 10, 2002 5:34 pm

The total cost of the program was something like 20 billion US Dollars.
That makes the effective purchase price a billion USD for each aircraft purchased for service with the USAF.

Development cost is over half that, though. Were the USAF to order another 100 or so, those would cost only about 200 million USD a piece which is a true bargain Big grin

I have not done the math, but I think that the cost of the aircraft when mass-produced would be not much more in real terms (so corrected for inflation) than the cost of the B-52 (of which well over 1000 units were build).
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saintsman
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 10, 2002 6:57 pm

Whilst a lot of money is spent on development, a lot of the lessons learnt are put to good effect on future projects thereby reducing their costs.

Even so, impressive as the B-2 is, I wonder if they are really worth the money especially as the B-52 still seems to be doing the business.
 
LY744
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 10, 2002 8:01 pm

I always thought it was $2 billion. Oh well. I've read that the thing costs more than it's own weight in gold! Big grin

LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
usafjr
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 10, 2002 8:55 pm

I heard like 133 million per B-2... but that could be way off.
 
jwenting
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 10, 2002 9:06 pm

What's a factor 10 Big grin

The equation still holds, the aircraft became several times more expensive than projected not because of cost overruns but because of having to spread the development cost over a far smaller number of aircraft produced.
I wish I were flying
 
FlagshipAZ
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Thu Jul 11, 2002 12:52 am

Just a few minor corrections here.
Only 744 B-52s were produced, and 21 B-2s were assembled.
Last I heard, the price for each B-2 made came to half billion dollars.
That's 500 million US dollars. One helluva lot of money just to drop bombs.
Just my two cents. Regards.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
 
usafjr
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Thu Jul 11, 2002 1:20 am

I think the B-2 is worth it... I just think that we dont need 50zillion of em.
 
galaxy5
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Thu Jul 11, 2002 8:05 pm

the cost of a B-2 is just over a billion dollars a copy.
"damn, I didnt know prince could Ball like that" - Charlie Murphy
 
globemaster
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Thu Jul 11, 2002 8:19 pm

The US Air Force fact sheet says:
Unit cost: Approximately $1.157 billion (fiscal 98 constant dollars)

I heard they talk about a new B-2C version of about $735 mio though.

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bsergonomics
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Thu Jul 11, 2002 11:08 pm

Not bad for a Public Relations exercise...

Of course, the money could have been spent on a massive party for everyone ... feeding the world ... seeing if the Sahara Desert really could be irrigated by towing icebergs from the North Pole ... Giving Michael Jackson some proper plastic surgery ...

Yet another example of the "Classified Information" excuse being used to cover development problems ...

The only real use for this aircraft is, as Saintsman stated, as a technology demonstrator for later programmes, which (hopefully) will actually do the job they are supposed to do.

OK, that's my 2 billion dollars' worth ... over and out.
The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
 
jwenting
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 3:55 am

Sure BS. But that could as well be said of the money used to construct the internet, or communications satelites, or roads, or the money spent to educate you (won't go into the success of that project)...

The B-2 is excellent at what it does, which is going into strongly defended areas and dropping bombs there without being detected.
You might say that the F-117 can do the same, but that one needs to have forward basing which the B-2 does not (and forward basing won't always be there...). Cruise missiles are expensive and in short supply (halfway through Desert Storm, the US was almost out, and by now they are in critical supply as none have been produced for about a decade while large numbers have been used at over a million USD a piece).

The manned bomber is still the most economical way to wage war over long distances, even if that bomber costs a lot to build (and as I explained, the high unit cost of the B-2 was due to the ridiculously low production run, not cost overruns in the project).
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Spacepope
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 4:51 am

Just a clarification- after the last orgy of cruise missile firings in iraq, sudan, and afghanistan (round 1) Boeing was awarded a contract for it's St. Louis plant to convert ALCM's into CALCM standard, thereby increasing for the short term the inventory of the heaviest cruise missles that we own. These have a warhead that is about 3 times the size of the tomohawk, which we have sold the Brits for submarine launch.

T.J.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
LY744
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 7:39 am

The latest nuke convertions are considered to be a new modification which are called AGM-86D's, if I'm not mistaken. The total USAF inventory of CALCM's (AGM-86C/D's) should be under 100 by now. I don't think the USAF has any other conventional air-launched cruise missiles, does it?

LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
usafjr
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:52 am

Man these babys are expensive! I thought paintball guns were expensive!
 
jwenting
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 4:04 pm

There are indeed no new airframes. Once those 100 run out, it's back to dropping dumb iron.

Personally, I think converting the nuclear tipped ones to conventional configuration is a bit shortsighted. It reduces the nuclear arsenal which is still the main deterrent against a first strike (maybe not by Russia at the moment, but I don't trust them still and there is China to consider as well).

Under the Clinton administration, programs for new long range cruise weapons were abandoned, and at the moment no design is on the drawing board let alone in testing or production.
With the ALCM and Tomahawk production lines shut down there is no way of producing new ones of those types either (even if DOD would have the money to do so).
I wish I were flying
 
LY744
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 8:02 pm

I believe there were plans to produce a long range version of that freaky looking stealth stand-off AG missile the USAF ordered a couple years ago (Boeing and LM were competing for that one), sorry, the name escapes me at the moment.  Smile

LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
bsergonomics
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 10:23 pm

Jwenting,

"The B2 is excellent at what it does..."

err... I beg to differ. I agree with your comments about the F-117 but they do not apply to the B2. In fact, unless the B2's software has been completely re-written (from scratch) and other, fundamental elements redesigned, I don't want to be on the same continent as that aircraft.

Every a/c development programme has its problems, it's just that you tend not to hear about the ones from the military programmes. Meaning that those fundamental problems are often still there when the aircraft is flying in the operational environment.


The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
 
Spacepope
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:53 pm

No new ALCM airframes are being produced, this is true, but the ones being converted to CALCMs are older nuclear ones slated for decomissioning anyway as part of nuclear arms reduction treaties. This has little impact on our nuclear deterrence capability, and in fact is more like the proverbial making lemonade out of lemons. Does anyone know if this conversion program also happened when we were forced to retire the ground-launched versions of these missiles?

T.J.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
broke
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Wed Jul 17, 2002 9:36 pm

In the "Oh, by the way" segment. The U. S. Air Force Museum has the structural test specimen (Iron Bird) of the B-2. Right now, the only way to see it is to take the behind the scenes tour, which are on Friday afternoons during the summer months. It looks like a big blob. No wings, gear, and a lot of fairings missing. In addition, there were a lot of things (strain gauges??) all over it.
Once the Kettering Gallery opens (April, 2003), the B-2 will be placed on display. Right now, it is supposed to be next to the B-1A that the museum also has. These airplanes will not be in the Kettering Gallery, but once that opens the museum will be going through a major realignment of most of its displays. The gallery will only be about 200,000 sq. ft. in area. Sigh, hardly enough room to display an Aerona C-3. LOL!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
EssentialPowr
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Thu Jul 18, 2002 11:23 am

"B-2 Stealth's"

Grammatically, the ' is used either to show possession or contraction (with the exception of the word "its", in which possession is shown w/o an ' b/c "it's" is a contraction for "it is.")

So the correct phrase is "B-2 Stealths", as this is the correct plural spelling.
Probably the most common mistake in English grammar-
cheers!
 
b757300
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RE: Cost To Produce B-2 Stealth's?

Sat Jul 20, 2002 9:47 am

The U.S. does have another cruise missile other than the ALCM/CALCM. It is the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM).

"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."

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