One of our favourite activities is trying to work out the cost of defence equipment from open sources but it’s like plaiting fog, pretty futile.
All sorts of costs are often thrown around as a means to justify an argument, usually those that think buying off the shelf is automatically going to result in better and/or cheaper equipment.
For example, the recent issues of Super Tucano’s for the RAF with the widely quoted figure of £4-5 million each or the US Blackhawk helicopter being compared to a Merlin or Lynx.
This article is interesting.[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/01/29/taiwan.arms/index.html”]
The commonly quoted unit price for a UH60M Blackhawk is $14million, a figure generally seized upon by people who think we could buy them off the shelf for about £8million.
Taiwan is not an operator of the Blackhawk, much like the UK so perhaps the $3.1billion is a realistic figure that might include training equipment, logistics support and other costs outside of the basic equipment that any nation seeking to introduce a new type might be expected to face.
Making a simple calculation, $3.1billion divided by 60 is just under $52million each or £32million.
This just goes to show how difficult it is actually work out the costs of military equipment because there is much more to operating a helicopter than just buying it.