5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time - We Are The Mighty
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5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time

Making planes, tanks, and ships isn’t cheap. Now factor in the cost of personnel, housing benefits and operations and you have a defense budget that balloons into the billions.


Related: Defense budget spotlight: What do weapons really cost?

In 2011, the U.S. government spent about $718 billion on defense. That’s nearly half of all military spending on the planet. The other top 13 nations combined spent $695 billion.

While the yearly budget is spread out according to defense needs, some projects take the lion share. Case in point are weapon systems like the Virginia Class Submarine with a procurement cost of $76.6 billion and the V-22 Osprey at $95.2 billion. Although costly, they aren’t the most expensive military mega-projects of all time. Here’s the list:

1. Nazi Germany’s Atlantic Wall

5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time
TestTube News, YouTube

Final cost: unknown

Although the final cost was never determined, the French portion alone would have cost $200 billion when adjusted for inflation.

2. National Missile Defense

5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time
Photo: flickr/mightyohm

Cost: over $300 billion and still rising.

3. DDG-51 Guided Missile Destroyer

5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time
USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Patrick Reilly

Procurement cost: $87.3 billion

4. USS Gerald Ford Aircraft Carrier

5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl

Per unit cost: $13 billion

5. F-35 Strike Fighter

5 of the most expensive military mega-projects of all time
Image: Lockheed Martin

Current cost: $400 billion

Estimated total cost: $1.5 trillion

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