1. B-2 Spirit ( $2.4 billion )
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy penetration strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is aflying wing design with a crew of two. The bomber can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons.
Development originally started under the “Advanced Technology Bomber” (ATB) project during the Carter administration; its expected performance was one of his reasons for the cancellation of the supersonic B-1A bomber. The ATB project continued during the Reagan administration, but worries about delays in its introduction led to the reinstatement of the B-1 program as well. Program costs rose throughout development. Designed and manufactured by Northrop, later Northrop Grumman, the cost of each aircraft averaged US$737 million . Total procurement costs averaged $929 million per aircraft, which includes spare parts, equipment, retrofitting, and software support. The total program cost including development, engineering and testing, averaged $2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997. Now total cost of B-2 Spirit is $2.4 billion.
2. F-22 Raptor ( $350 million )
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraftdeveloped for the United States Air Force . The result of the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but also has ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence capabilities.
The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 before it formally entered service in December 2005 as the F-22A. The Raptor’s combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air combat capabilities.
The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile F-35 led to the end of F-22 production. A final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009 and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.Now the total cost of F-22 Raptor is $350 million.
3. C17A Globemaster III ( $328 million )
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. It was developed for the United States Air Force in early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 carries forward the name of two previous piston-engined military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include tactical airlift,medical evacuation and airdrop duties. It was designed to replace the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, and also fulfill some of the duties of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, freeing the C-5 fleet for outsize cargo.
The C-17 is designed to operate from runways as short as 3,500 ft (1,064 m) and as narrow as 90 ft (27 m). In addition, the C-17 can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways .The thrust reversers can be used to back the aircraft and reverse direction on narrow taxiways using a three- (or more) point turn. The plane is designed for 20 man-hours of maintenance per flight hour, and a 74% mission availability rate. Now the C-17 Globemaster III total cost is $328 million.
4. P-8A Poseidon ( $290 million )
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a military aircraft developed for the United States Navy (USN). The aircraft has been developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
The P-8 is a militarized version of the 737-800ERX, a 737-800 with 737-900-based wings. The fuselage is similar, but longer, than the 737-700-based C-40 Clipper transport aircraft in service with the U.S. Navy. The P-8 has a strengthened fuselage for low-altitude operations and Boeing 767-400ER-style raked wingtips, instead of the blended winglets available on 737NG variants. In order to power additional onboard electronics, the P-8 has a 180kVA electric generator on each engine, replacing the 90kVA generator of civilian 737s; this required the redesigning of the nacelles and their wing mountings. The P-8 has a smoother flight experience, subjecting crews to less turbulence and fumes than the preceding P-3, allowing them to focus better on missions.
The P-8 features the Raytheon APY-10 multi-mission surface search radar; the P-8I features an international version of the APY-10. Unlike the preceding P-3, the P-8 lacks a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) due to its higher operational altitude; its acoustic sensor system is reportedly more effective at acoustic tracking and thus lacking a MAD won’t impede its detection capabilities; India’s P-8I is equipped with a MAD per the contract request. Various sensor data are combined via data fusion software to track targets. $290 million is the total cost of P-8 Poseidon.
5. VH-71 Kestrel ( $241 million )
The Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel is a variant of the AgustaWestland AW101 built to replace the United States Marine Corps’ Marine One U.S. Presidential transport fleet. It was developed and built by the Lockheed Martin.
In February 2009, President Barack Obama asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about placing the project on hold or canceling it because of its high cost: over $13 billion for the planned 28 helicopters. In June 2009, the U.S. Navy terminated the contract after spending about $4.4 billion and taking delivery of nine VH-71s.
The first test VH-71A, Test Vehicle #2 , made its initial flight on 3 July 2007 at AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil in the UK. Lockheed Martin also used an EH101, designated TV-1, for initial testing in the United States; these tests included landing on the lawn of the White House.
The first production VH-71A, Pilot Production #1 , made its maiden flight on 22 September 2008 from Yeovil. The US Air Force transported the helicopter in a C-17 Globemaster III to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland for further testing. The first production VH-71 joined the test program at NAS Patuxent River, beginning ground testing in early December 2008.The VH-71 Kestrel total cost is $241 million.
6. E-2D Advanced Hawkeye ( $232 million )
The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the United States Navy as a replacement for the earlier. The aircraft’s performance has been upgraded with the E-2B, and E-2C versions, where most of the changes were made to the radar and radio communications due to advances in electronic integrated circuits and other electronics.
The E-2 is a high-wing airplane, with one turboprop engine on each wing and retractable tricycle landing gear. As with most carrier-borne airplanes, the E-2 is equipped with a tail hook for recovery, and the nose gear can attach to a shuttle of the aircraft carrier’s catapults for launch. A distinguishing feature of the Hawkeye is its 24-foot (7.3 m) diameter rotating radar dome that is mounted above its fuselage and wings. This carries the E-2’s primary antennas for its long-range radar and IFF systems. No other carrier-borne aircraft possesses one of these, and among land-based aircraft, they are mostly seen atop the Boeing E-3 Sentry, a larger AWACS airplane operated by the U.S. Air Force and NATO air forces in large numbers. The total cost of E-2 Hawkeye is $232 million.
7. F-35 Lightning II ( $122 million )
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery variant.
The F-35 resembles a smaller, single-engine sibling of the twin-engine Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and drew elements from it. The exhaust duct design was inspired by the General Dynamics Model 200 design, proposed for a 1972 supersonic VTOL fighter requirement for the Sea Control Ship. Although several experimental designs have been developed since the 1960s, such as the unsuccessful Rockwell XFV-12, the F-35B is to be the first operational supersonic, STOVL stealth fighter.
The Pratt & Whitney F135 powers the F-35. An alternative engine, the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136, was being developed until it was cancelled by its manufacturers in December 2011 for lack of funding from the Pentagon. The F135 and F136 engines are not designed to super cruise. However, the F-35 can briefly fly at Mach 1.2 for 150 miles. The F135 is the second (radar) stealthy afterburning jet engine. Like the Pratt & Whitney F119 from which it was derived, the F135 has suffered afterburner pressure pulsations, or ‘screech’ at low altitude and high speed. The F-35 has a maximum speed of over Mach 1.6. With a maximum takeoff weight of 60,000 lb (27,000 kg), the Lightning II is considerably heavier than the lightweight fighters it replaces. Now the total of F-35 Lightning II is $122 million.
8. V-22 Osprey ( $118 million )
The V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.
The V-22 originated from the United States Department of Defense Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program started in 1981. The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters was awarded a development contract in 1983 for the tiltrotor aircraft. The Bell Boeing team jointly produce the aircraft. The V-22 first flew in 1989, and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tiltrotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development.
The V-22’s two Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines are connected by drive shafts to a common central gearbox so that one engine can power both proprotors if an engine failure occurs.
The Osprey is the world’s first production tiltrotor aircraft, with one three-bladed proprotor, turboprop engine, and transmission nacelle mounted on each wingtip. It is classified as a powered lift aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration. For takeoff and landing, it typically operates as a helicopter with the nacelles vertical and rotors horizontal. Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90° in as little as 12 seconds for horizontal flight, converting the V-22 to a more fuel-efficient, higher speed turboprop aircraft. STOL rolling-takeoff and landing capability is achieved by having the nacelles tilted forward up to 45°. Other orientations are possible. It has a ferry range of over 2,100 nmi. Its operational range is 1,100 nmi. Now the total cost of V-22 Osprey is $118 million.
9. EA-18G Growler ( $102 million )
The EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G replaced the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. The Growler’s electronic warfare capability is primarily provided by Northrop Grumman.
The Growler’s flight performance is similar to that of the F/A-18E/F. This attribute enables the Growler to perform escort jamming as well as the traditional standoff jamming mission . Growlers will be able to accompany F/A-18s during all phases of an attack mission. In order to give the Growler more stable flight for the electronic warfare mission, Boeing changed the leading edge fairings and wing fold hinge fairings, and added wing fences and aileron “tripper strips”.
The Growler has more than 90% in common with the standard Super Hornet, sharing airframe, Raytheon AN/APG-79 AESA radar and weapon systems such as the AN/AYK-22 stores management system. Most of the dedicated airborne electronic attack equipment is mounted in the space that used to house the internal 20 mm cannon and on the wingtips. Nine weapons stations remain free to provide for additional weapons or jamming pods. The added electronics include AN/ALQ-218 wideband receivers on the wingtips, and ALQ-99 high and low-band tactical jamming pods. The ALQ-218 combined with the ALQ-99 form a full spectrum electronic warfare suite that is able to provide detection and jamming against all known surface-to-air threats. now the total cost of EA-18G Growler is $102 million.
10. FA-18 Hornet ( $94 million )
The F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft . Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter’s YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps.
The F/A-18 is a twin engine, mid wing, multi-mission tactical aircraft. It is highly maneuverable, owing to its good thrust to weight ratio, digital fly-by-wire control system, and leading edge extensions (LEX). The LEX allow the Hornet to remain controllable at high angles of attack. The trapezoidal wing has a 20-degree sweepback on the leading edge and a straight trailing edge. The wing has full-span leading edge flaps and the trailing edge has single-slotted flaps and ailerons over the entire span.
Canted vertical stabilizers are another distinguishing design element, one among several other such elements that enable the Hornet’s excellent high angle of attack ability include oversized horizontal stabilators, oversized trailing edge flaps that operate as flaperons, large full-length leading edge slats, and flight control computer programming that multiplies the movement of each control surface at low speeds and moves the vertical rudders inboard instead of simply left and right. The Hornet’s normally high angle of attack performance envelope was put to rigorous testing and enhanced in the NASA F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV). NASA used the F-18 HARV to demonstrate flight handling characteristics at high angle-of-attack (alpha) of 65–70 degrees using thrust vectoring vanes. F/A-18 stabilators were also used as canards on NASA’s F-15S/MTD. Now the total cost of FA-18 Hornet is $94 million.