01 October 2014

The economics of war

War has always been an expensive business.  Here is an account of the RAF's operation yesterday:
“In the course of an armed reconnaissance mission from RAF Akrotiri, two Tornados were tasked to assist Kurdish troops in north-west Iraq who were under attack from Isil (Isis) terrorists”, the MoD said in a statement.
It said the RAF patrol identified an Isis heavy weapon position that was attacking Kurdish ground forces.
A Paveway IV guided bomb was used to attack the Isis position. The Tornado patrol subsequently identified an Isis armed pick-up truck in the same area and conducted an attack on the vehicle using a Brimstone missile.
According to this website, the cost of a Paveway bomb is £22,000, while that of a Brimstone missile is £100,000.  Is it value for money to spend £122,000 in order to destroy a heavy machjne gun and a pick-up truck?  And that is before you add in the cost of the flights at £35,000 per Tornado per hour.  To put it another way, every time a pair of Tornados fly a sortie of about six hours the taxpayer is spending £420,000 before taking account of any bombs and missiles.  A campaign lasting two or three years might become extremely expensive.

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