What Would a Fighter Jet Buy 60 Years After Eisenhower’s Speech? just posted on the NYT, and I’d like to offer some background information about how I came about the numbers and prices used in the piece.
Every effort was made to vet all figures cited through multiple sources wherever possible. Knowing that the dollar figures mentioned for ship and aircraft prices might be controversial, I contacted both US Air Force and US Navy public affairs at the Pentagon. They explained that their numbers are known as Average Procurement Unit Costs (APUC).
APUC is defined as the total cost to buy all aircraft over all years divided by the total number of aircraft purchased. It does not include Research, Development & Test and Evaluation funds, upgrade modifications costs or operations and sustainment costs.
Ship and Aircraft Costs
These are the numbers I was given, adjusted for inflation in 2012 dollars:
B-2 Spirit: $1,461,500,000.
B-1 Lancer: $179,630,000.
B-52 Stratofortress: $74,800,000.
A-10 Thunderbolt: $15,980,000.
F-22 Raptor: $214,000,000.
F-35 Lightning II: $109,200,000.
F/A-18E Super Hornet: $78,200,000.
F-15E Strike Eagle: $72,400,000
F-16 Falcon: $34,100,000.
DDG-51 Flight I: $1,366,000,000.
DDG-51 Flight II: $1,596,000,000.
DDG-51 Flight III (proposed): $ 3,000,000,000-$4,000,000,000. Note: these numbers came from open-source online searches, and not from any official US Government source. This platform has not been formally requested by the US Navy, but is being considered.
Civilian Commodities Costs
I submitted requests for information to Department of Transportation, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Dept. of Education, and others to ascertain the prices of civilian commodities mentioned in the original 1953 speech. All of them helpfully referred me to national trade organizations for the data. Which leads me to some well-deserved thank you’s:
Valoise Armstrong, Eisenhower Presidential Library.
Bob Ivie, Professor of American Studies & Communication and Culture, Indiana University.
Doug Hecox, Federal Highway Administration.
Carly Moore, American Hospital Administration.
Ed Gulick, US Air Force Public Affairs.
LTJG Caroline Hutchinson, US Navy Public Affairs.
Emily Straub, Carter Center.
Terry Miller, Executive Director, Tin Can Sailors Association.
Gretchen Hesbacher, National Institute of Building Sciences.
Michelle Wardlaw, National Association of Realtors.
Dan Linke, Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University.
Scot Christenson, US Naval Insitute.
Dr. Norman Friedman, US Naval Institute.
Tim Duggan, RCS Market Intelligence.
Robert Kehoe, RCS Market Intelligence.
Travis Sharp, Center for a New American Security.
Linda Embry, National School Boards Association.
Melissa George Kessler, National Association of Wheat Growers.
Jim Newton, LA Times.
Robert Schlesinger, US News and World Report.