It has been estimated that more than a trillion and a half dollars a year are used in military spending worldwide (2.7% of world GDP). For accuracy in 2015, they were $ 1.652 billion. In order to have an idea of how much weapons cost, we have made a list of 7 war technologies that were never put in production, but whose projects costed millions, if not billions of euros. A round of weapons … and failures.
BOEING YAL-1 AIRBORNE TESTBED LASER It was a laser cannon mounted on the nose of a Boeing 747-400F. We talked about it in 2010, after a promising test. It should have been able to intercept and destroy missiles in flight, but the program was cut in 2011 because the laser was not powerful. Thus they threw away 16 years of development and $ 5 billion in investment. Today, the only existing exemplar can be seen in the “Boneyard”, the “cemetery” of the United States Air Force military aircraft.
OICW (OBJECTIVE INDIVIDUAL COMBAT WEAPON) Prototype of a rifle that can hit the target even if protected from a shelter. It could have shot a 200mm bullet, planned to explode at a distance and specific altitude. In fact, it would have to be the combination of an assault rifle and a small-scale ammunition grenade launcher. Not convincing was the design: the OICW is a cumbersome and heavy rifle. So nothing was done after spending $ 100 million from 1994 to 2005 when the project was set aside by DARPA.
A-12 AVENGER The design of this stealth bomber (invisible to the radar) was canceled in 1991 by secretary-defense Dick Cheney, as each plane would cost $ 165 million. To give you an idea, a specimen of the F35, considered the world’s most expensive airplane, costs 99 to 120 million dollars.
EXPEDITIONARY FIGHTING VEHICLE (EFV) The EFV was born as an amphibious assault vehicle developed for US Marines. Realizing it would have cost $ 15 billion, but the program was canceled in 2011 by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates after a total cost of $ 3 billion. Reason: The high costs and the awareness that such a vehicle in modern war scenarios could be … less useful than expected.
The B70 Valkyrie. The reference to the famous composers Valkyries did not do well to this supersonic American bomber considered “invulnerable” because of its ability to operate above 21,000 meters at a speed faster than Mach 3. The invention of air missiles that can intercept it (SAM) made it obsolete before being put in the field. The project involved US military engineers from the early 1950s to 1969, the darkest period of the Cold War, and then abandoned after only two prototypes: one exhibited in an aviation museum in Dayton (Ohio) another crashed after a collision with an F-104. The cost of the project? $ 1.5 billion of that time (ie more than $ 10 billion today).
FUTURE COMBAT SYSTEMS The war in Afghanistan before, and that in Iraq later, convinced the US Army to launch a modernization program that included faster brigades with smaller vehicles capable of being sent to war. The program was called Future Combat Systems, and it would have had a total cost of $ 340 billion if it had been implemented. That is not the case, and in 2009 the program was canceled by Barack Obama’s government. But the Department of Defense has spent more than $ 18 billion for its development.
RAH-66 COMANCHE An expensive “invisible” helicopter to the radars ever acquired by the Pentagon and canceled in 2004 for financial budget problems: built with radar-absorbing materials, had disappearance weapons inside special fuselage holders and the pilot cell was able to withstand even an attack with chemical weapons. From the early stages of the project, in 1991, until its cancellation in 2004, the army spent about $ 6.9 billion. It should be said that many of the technologies developed for the Comanche could have been used for the production of other aircraft and warships.