As we all know, the US Armed Forces have a pretty massive budget available to them, and a lot of the time it ends up getting wasted. Developing new weapons, planes, tanks and vehicles require such huge amounts of money…
There have been so many redundant military projects in the past 30 years that will never see the light of day. More than billions have been spent on developing army technology, whether it’s guns, lasers, high-tech tanks or stealth ships.
Below is a list of the projects that the US Army have wasted the most money on since the Cold War.
1. Cost: $2 billion, XM2001 Crusader
The Crusader had been designed so that it would be the army’s go to self-propelled weapon, built to be faster, lighter and a lot stronger than any artillery weapon currently in rotation. However, it was seen to be unsuitable after the Cold War as it wasn’t precise or mobile enough and was scrapped in 2002, after costing $2 billion.
2. Cost: $19 billion, Future Combat System
The Future Combat System started development in 1999 and was intended to be a dominant force in 21st century combat as an unmanned combat vehicle. After the tragic events of September 11th, however, a redesign was put into place. Their budget was later drained due to the Iraq War and cancelled in 2009. $19 billion was spent on the project.
3. Cost: $3.3 billion, Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, devised in 1980, weighed 38 tonnes and was intended for beach landings by Marine squads. However, after guided anti-ship missiles became more prevalent, the project was scrapped, but not until 2011. $3.3 billion had been wasted already.
4. Cost: $1.5 trillion, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
The Joint Strike Fighter was designed to be an all-round plane, being able to land anywhere, be fast and stealthy. However, it was plagued with technical issues. It has cost $1.5 trillion since it was first developed in 1996.
5. Cost: $10 billion, Airbus A400M Atlas
The Airbus A400M Atlas was the plane to end all planes. Intended to be the replacement for all the old planes used by Europe’s air forces. It faced huge delays and technical problems, so much that England, Germany and France thought it would be best to buy or lease American cargo planes instead. “The A400M is a complete, absolute wanking disaster, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. I have never seen such a waste of public funds in the defense field in the past 40 years,” said Britain’s Minister of Defense Procurement. It was eventually used in 2013, but after one of the planes crashed, it was never used again, costing a total of $10 billion.
6. Cost: More than $250 million for each plane, Rockwell B-1 Lancer
The Rockwell B-1 Lancer plane was first designed in 1970 to replace the B-52. After four prototypes were produced it was abandoned in 1977, but later brought back by President Reagan. Even though it was full of problems, 100 were built but were never used until 1998. Each plane cost more than $250 million.
7. Cost: $17 billion, Joint Tactical Radio System
The Joint Tactical Radio System was first developed in 1997 with the intention of uniting all military radio technology together. Requiring $6 billion to just develop it, then later getting cancelled. However, after other radio systems had failed, it was decided that the JTRS would be revived, but later getting cancelled one more time in 2012. The project totaled a cost of $17 billion.
8. Cost: $3 billion for each ship, Zumwalt Class Destroyer
The Zumwalt Class Destroyer is regarded as the most expensive warship ever to be made. It was designed to replace the current US destroyers with the capability to fire stealth guided missiles. The project however, was flooded with overrun costs and only 3 ships were developed instead of the initial 32, with each ship costing more than $3 billion.
9. Cost: $5 billion, Army Combat Uniform
The Army Combat Uniform was unveiled in 2004 and after having spent $5 billion on it, was intended to have the most usable camouflage for any environment. It wasn’t popular among soldiers however, and seen to be ineffective, so they stopped using it. The army was then forced to come up with another design and buy uniforms for the soldiers to use from private contractors. In 2014, new uniforms were approved after having wasted $5 billion.
10. Cost: $6 billion, M247 Sergeant York
The M247 Sergeant York was designed to use a turret controlled by a radar to deploy two 40mm cannons, it was originally intended to rival its Soviet counterpart. The design process was filled with disagreements over how best to build it and when it was finally built it was still heavily flawed. When it was unveiled, the control radar misidentified the review stand to be a target and forced observers to run for cover. Only 50 tanks were produced before it was cancelled, costing $6 billion in total.
11. Cost: $5 billion, Airborne Laser
The Airborne Laser was first developed in 1996, intended to become an important piece of the missile defense system used by the Air Force. It was later cancelled in 2011 however, because of “significant affordability and technology problems.” By then it had already cost them more than $5 billion.
12. Cost: $7 billion, Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche
The Comanche was designed to be a jack of all trades chopper to replace the Cobra, Huey and Kiowa choppers that were being used by the army. Instead of being fast and stealthy it ended up being the complete opposite, with only two prototypes being built. The project was cancelled in 2004 after costing around $7 billion.
13. Cost: $1 billion, Expeditionary Combat Support System
The Expeditionary Combat Support System was meant to be an integrated network to replace the 200 separate ones being used by the Air Force. It was full of problems with the way it was managed and was deemed to be a disaster. In 2012, it was reported that the project would require double the budget to have the capability to achieve only a quarter of its intended purpose, which led to it being cancelled, after costing $1 billion.
14. Cost: $7 billion, The withdrawal from Afghanistan
When the US arm finally came to withdraw from Afghanistan, it was required to leave behind a ridiculous amount of equipment, with the costs of shipping it back deemed too expensive and a law preventing donations to the Afghani army. 2,000 MRAP vehicles were left behind with each one being worth $1 million. A total of $7 billion of equipment was destroyed.
15. Cost: $20 billion, Project Nike
Code named Nike, the secret project was started to develop anti-aircraft missile batteries around the country. After the project replaced the missiles twice, the Soviet Union, the target for the missiles, had already stopped using bombers, making the project useless. Costing a huge total of $20 billion the project was ended in 1970.
16. Cost: nearly a quarter of Albania’s military budget, Albanian Bunkers
America isn’t the only country to waste a huge amount of money on military projects. Albania spent nearly a quarter of its military budget on a project that would never be used. 750,000 bunkers made of concrete were built as defensive measures and forced Albania to suffer financially.
17. Cost: $200 billion, Hitler’s Atlantic Wall
After conquering France, Hitler sent an order to build fortification surrounding the coast of the Atlantic to help protect them from the Allies landing on the beach. It required 1.2 million tons of steel to be built and 17 million cubic meters of concrete. However, in 1943, it was said to be completely pointless as it was able to be breached in under a day. It was calculated to cost the equivalent of around $200 billion.
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