News: December 7, 2001 – World Policy Institute – Research Project


RECENT NEWS COVERAGE: December 7, 2001

The Weapons of “Enduring Freedom”
By Frida Berrigan


A-10/OA-10 Thunderbolt II
Also known as the “warthog” because of its ungainly and ugly appearance, this plane can carry 1,600 pounds of bombs and fire them at a rate of 3,900 per minute.[1] During the Gulf War against Iraq, the A-10 Warthog was armed with “armor piercing” depleted uranium weapons.[2]
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Unit Cost: $8.8 million

AC-130H/U Gunship
The AC-130 gunship’s primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and force protection. The plane’s combat history includes Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War, Somalia and the Balkans. U.S. Special Operations Forces are using the AC-130, with its fierce some heavy machine guns and cannons. Built with the airframe of the workhorse Hercules cargo plane, the gunship is armed with 25-millimeter Gatling guns and 40-millimeter and 105-millimeter cannons that computers can hold on a target while the plane banks and flies in a circle.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin/Boeing
Unit Cost: AC-130H, $132.4 million; AC-130U, $190 million (fiscal 2001 constant dollars)

B-1B Lancer
The B-1 bomber provides massive and rapid delivery of precision and non-precision weapons.
Contractor: Boeing (formerly Rockwell International)
Unit Cost: $200-plus million per aircraft

B-2 Spirit
The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. The B-2 Bomber has run a number of bombing missions in Afghanistan, but the plane’s complexity makes its constant use impossible. Because of the plane’s complex maintenance needs, for every 34-hour round-trip mission to Afghanistan, the stealth bomber spends 1,107 hours on the ground in recovery, making every hour of flight extraordinarily expensive at more than $13,000.[3] It cannot be stationed closer to the war theater because it needs an expensive climate-controlled hanger that protects its skin from rain, hail, and humidity.
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corp.
Unit cost: Approximately $1.3 billion

B-52 Stratofortress
This long-range, heavy bomber can fly at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional weapons. The B-52 missions in Afghanistan cost almost $9,000 an hour.[4] In early November 2001, this plane was used in “carpet bombing” missions across Afghanistan, where an entire load of ordnance was dropped at once.
Contractor: Boeing
Unit Cost: $74 million

F-14 Tomcat
This fighter plane has been performing daily strikes against Afghanistan.
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Aerospace Corporation
Unit Cost: $38 million

F-15 Eagle
All weather and extremely maneuverable, this tactical fighter is designed for aerial combat. Its bombing missions in Afghanistan cost about $4,500 an hour.[5]
Contractor: McDonnell Douglas Corp. (now part of Boeing)
Unit Cost: $38 million

F-15E Strike Eagle
A dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, this plane is designed to fight at low altitude, day or night, and in inclement weather.
Builder: McDonnell Douglas Corp. (now part of Boeing)
Unit cost: $31.1 million

F-16 Fighting Falcon
A compact, multi-role fighter, this aircraft is designed for air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. Since Operation Enduring Freedom began, the F-16 has been sold to Oman, which had waited 15 years for the green light on its order of 12 planes.[6] Israel also doubled its order of F-16s to 102 in October, a sale worth more than $2 billion to Lockheed Martin.[7]
Builder: Lockheed Martin Corp.
Unit cost: F-16A/B , $30.1 million; F-16C/D, $34.3 million (2000 dollars)

F/A-18 Hornet
The F/A-18 is a fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land.
Contractor: McDonnell Douglas Corp. (now part of Boeing)
Unit Cost: $29 million

F-117 Nighthawk
This “stealth” fighter carries a variety of weapons and is equipped with sophisticated navigational and attack systems. It is capable of striking against heavily defended targets.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Cost: $45 million [8]

AV-8B Harrier
The Harrier provides close air support for ground troops, carries out armed reconnaissance and conducts offensive and defensive aerial warfare. It has the ability to take off vertically like a helicopter.
Contractor: McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing)
Cost: $26 million [9]

UH-60 Black Hawk
In 1993, in Somalia a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down and the 18 U.S. soldiers aboard were killed. Despite this, the Black Hawk remains a workhorse of the Army helicopter fleet, used for multiple jobs such as taking commandos to their targets and giving officers an airborne command center. In Afghanistan in early October, a Black Hawk flown by Special Operations Forces on their way to a mission crashed in Pakistan.[10]
Contractor: Sikorsky
Unit Cost: $11 million

MH-53J/M Pave Low
This heavy-duty helicopter is capable of flying long distances. Special Operations Forces use it. Thus far, one Pave Low helicopter has crashed in bad weather in Afghanistan.[11]
Builder: Sikorsky
Unit Cost: $40 million

AH-64 Apache
This helicopter’s first mission was “Operation Just Cause,” the 1989 raid on Panama. During the initial attack, six helicopters broke down, their electronics systems too sensitive for the Central American humidity, according to a post-mission review by congressional investigators.[12] The Apache is capable of carrying 16 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, 76 Hydra anti- personnel rockets, and 1,200 rounds of armor-piercing ammo. The Boeing Company delivered 937 AH-64A Apaches- 821 to the U.S. Army and 116 to international customers, including Egypt, Greece, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates- between 1984 and 1997.[13]
Contractor: Boeing
Unit Cost: $14. 5 million

AH-1W Super Cobra Helicopter
An earlier version of this attack helicopter logged more than a million flight hours in Vietnam.[14] In Afghanistan, the helicopters helped the Marines establish a forward operating base.
Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron
Unit Cost: $10.7 million

OH-58D Kiowa Warrior
This Scout Helicopter performs reconnaissance, security, command and control and targeting.
Contractor: Bell Helicopter


C-130 Hercules
This enormous and powerful plane transports troops and equipment, and is able to land on dirt runways. More than 2,200 C-130s have been sold to 60 nations around the world.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Unit Cost: C-130E, $11.9 million; C-130H, $30.1 million; C-130J, $48.5 million (FY 1998 constant dollars)

C-17 Globemaster III
A newer, sleeker version of the C-130, this plane has been used in most of the food drops in Afghanistan. The Globemaster also transported troops, equipment and helicopters into neighboring Uzbekistan. The C-17 has been plagued with cost overruns and production problems, and in fact the original manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing) was put on probation by the Pentagon and forced to invest $450 million more in technical and managerial improvements on the program. The Project on Government Oversight ( documents different problems with the C-17, known as the “Moose” by Air Force pilots, in a brief called Fighting with Failure: The C-17, on the web at The beleaguered Boeing is now lobbying Congress for a multiyear contract for dozens of additional C-17s.[15]
Contractor: Boeing
Unit Cost: $230 million

E-3 Sentry (AWACS)
An airborne warning and control system (AWACS), this aircraft provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications.
Contractor: Boeing
Unit Cost: Approximately $300 million

Global Hawk
This Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been deployed to Afghanistan despite the fact that it had not completed its testing requirements. It has been applauded for its long-range surveillance, ability to stay aloft 35 hours and see the ground with infrared sensors and radar.
Contractor: Northrop Grumman
Unit Cost: $10 million

RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aircraft
This is an armed unmanned plane, operated by remote control from base command. While touted by the Generals as “a highly effective, relatively inexpensive and risk-free means of spying on enemies and pinpointing targets,” the Project on Government Oversight recently uncovered an unreleased report from the Department of Defense’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. According to the report, the Predator is plagued by “poor target location accuracy, ineffective communications, and limits imposed by relatively benign weather, including rain.” These limitations “negatively impact missions.” According to inside sources cited by POGO, “since 1995, an estimated 17 of the 50 Predator aircraft built for the U.S. Air Force have crashed during testing and another 5 are believed to have been shot down on military missions. At $20 million per Predator, hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost during testing alone.”[16] The missile armed Predator was tested successfully by the Air Force less than a year ago, and rushed into operation, using the battlefield of Afghanistan as a testing range. So far the Predator is said to have been used, mostly by the CIA, in a few dozen attacks on Taliban targets.[17]
Contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated
Unit Cost: $20 million.

U-2S Reconnaissance Aircraft
The U-2 provides continuous day and night, high-altitude, all-weather surveillance of an area in direct support of U.S. and allied ground and air forces.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Cost: Classified

Six of these specially outfitted Hercules cargo planes, collective known as Commando Solo, are both airborne radio/TV stations and radio signal interceptors. Commando Solo is used in Afghanistan to broad cast messages to the Afghani people. Most recently, the Commando Solo broadcast the message that the Afghani’s should “drive out the foreign terrorists,” and advertised the $25 million reward for Osama bin Laden. This plane also drops leaflets.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Unit Cost: $70 million

EA-6B Electronic Warfare Aircraft
Known as the “Prowler,” this electronic warfare plane jams enemy radar and electronic data links and communications.
Contractor: Northrop Grumman
Unit Cost: $52 million [18]

E-2C Hawkeye
Known as “The Hummer,” the E-2C is plane with a large rotating radar dome, designed for surveillance and strike control.
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Aerospace Corporation
Unit Cost: $51 million

S-3B Viking
A refueling aircraft, that is also armed for offensive action.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Unit Cost: $27 million


BGM-109 Tomahawk Missile
Long range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, launched from surface ships and submarines. About 50 Tomahawks were launched in the opening assault on Afghanistan October 7th, 2001.
Contractor: Raytheon
Unit Cost: approximately $1 million

AGM-114 Hellfire Missile
Short-range, laser-guided, air-to-surface missile. The Hellfire missile is used on the Army Apache and Marine Corps Super Cobra helicopters. The unmanned Predator drone is also armed with Hellfire missiles.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Unit Cost: $40,000. [19]

M-220 TOW Anti-Tank Missile
This Guided missile weapon system is known for its “fire and forget” capabilities. Current versions can penetrate more than 30 inches of armor and launch 3 missiles in 90 seconds.
Manufacturer: Raytheon
Unit Replacement Cost: $180,000 [20]

Javelin Anti-Tank Missile
Javelin is a portable antitank weapon. It is shoulder-fired and can also be installed on vehicles.
Contractor: Raytheon/Lockheed Martin JAVELIN Joint Venture.
Unit Cost: Approximately $100,000

JDAM (GBU-29,-30,-31,-32)
The Joint Direct Attack Munition- or JDAM- is a guidance kit that straps onto unguided free-fall bombs, making them guided “smart” weapons. They are used by both the Army and Navy, and since Sept. 11, more than 1,000 additional kits have been ordered.[21]
Contractor: Boeing
Unit Cost: $21,000 per strap-on guidance kit

GBU-28 Bunker-buster [22]
The Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28), often known as a “bunker buster,” was developed during the 1991 Gulf War for penetrating fortified Iraqi command centers deep underground. Carried by B-2 stealth bombers and F-15 fighters, the GBU-28 is a 5,000lb laser-guided, conventionally armed bomb fitted with a 4,400lb penetrating warhead. While only two were used in Iraq, it seems the weapons are being used with more frequency in Afghanistan.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Unit cost: $145,600 [23]

BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter” [24]
The BLU-82 combines a watery mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum with air, then ignites the mist for a huge explosion that incinerates everything within up to 600 yards. The shock wave can be felt miles away. According to the US Air Force, 11 of these were dropped on Iraq. So far, the Pentagon reports having used the weapons twice in Afghanistan.[25] After the bombs were first used in there, Peter Pace, vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff told a press conference “As you would expect, they make a heck of a bang when they go off. The intent is to kill people.” [26]
Unit Cost: $27,000 [27]

GBU-37 GPS Aided Munition
Among the largest of the guided bomb is the GBU-37. This massive weapons weighs roughly 5,000 pounds and is designed to penetrate buried bunkers, killing leaders and destroying command-and- control networks hidden underground. The GBU-37 can be launched by the B-2 stealth bomber and is guided by GPS satellites to its target. [28]
Unit cost: $231,250. [29]

CBU-87 Cluster Bomb
The United States has dropped about 600 cluster bombs since the war in Afghanistan began.[30] According to Kevin Kavanaugh, from the Federation of American Scientists, “Cluster bomb units are 1,000-pound deadly munitions that break into 202 bomblets, and each bomblet fractures into 300 fragments of steel. It covers a football field; it can turn an apple orchard into applesauce — or people into hamburger. It’s used against ‘soft targets,’ meaning troops and [other] people, though it can go through light armor to a certain point… Unexploded munitions are also a concern, the bomblets are yellow, with a little white umbrella, and they’re very attractive to children.”[31]
Manufacturer: Alliant Techsystems
Unit Cost: about $14,000 [32]

CBU-89 Cluster Bomb
CBU-89 Gator
The U.S. CBU-89/B is the latest cluster bomb in the family of scatterable mines.[33] The dispenser holds 72 anti-armor mines and 22 anti-personnel mines. These mines arm immediately upon impact. The GATOR has two integrated kill mechanisms, a magnetic influence fuze to sense armor, and deployed trip wires that activate when personnel walk on or disturb it. [34]
Manufacturer: Alliant Techsystems
Unit Cost: about $40,000 [35]


AGM-65 Maverick
This tactical, air-to-surface guided missile is designed for close air support, interdiction and defense suppression mission.
Contractors: Raytheon
Unit Cost: $17,000 to $110,000

AGM-88 HARM Missile
This high-speed antiradiation missile (HARM) is an air-to-surface tactical missile designed to seek and destroy enemy radar-equipped air defense systems.
Contractor: Texas Instruments
Unit Cost: $200,000 [36]

AGM-86C Cruise Missile
The AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles and AGM-86C conventional air-launched cruise missiles are deployed on B-52 bombers.
Contractor: Boeing
Unit Cost: $1 million [37]

SR-71 Blackbird
Developed for the USAF as reconnaissance aircraft more than 30 years ago, SR-71s are still the world’s fastest and highest-flying production aircraft. The aircraft can fly more than 2200 mph (Mach 3+ or more than three times the speed of sound) and at altitudes over 85,000 feet.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin

1 Boston Globe, May 20, 1999.
2 Bill Mesler. “The Pentagon’s Radioactive Bullet.” The Nation, October 21, 1996.
3 James Dao, “The Costs of Enduring Freedom,” New York Times, November 18, 2001.
4 Dao, November 18, 2001.
5 Dao, November 18, 2001.
6 Jon Hilsenrath, “Terror’s Toll on the Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2001.
7 Michael Puttre, “Israel inks deal for more F-16Is,” Journal of Electronic Defense, October 2001.
8 “Backgrounder: United States Attack Planes: Wings Of War,” Atlanta Constitution, October 14, 2001.
9 “Backgrounder: United States Attack Planes: Wings Of War,” Atlanta Constitution, October 14, 2001
10 Calvin Woodward, “Study: Monthly price tag of war up to $1 billion,” Associated Press November 12, 2001.
11 Woodward, November 12, 2001.
12Michael Stroh, “Vaunted attack copter faces tough challenge,” Denver Post, October 18, 2001.
13 Stroh, Denver Post, October 18, 2001.
14 Federation of American Scientists, Weapons Factsheets, AH-1W Super Cobra.
15 Brody Mullins, “The Wind Beneath Boeings Wings,” National Journal, November 17, 2001.
16 Project on Government Oversight,” Media Dazzled by Pentagon Propaganda While Pentagon’s Chief Tester Declares that Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ‘Not Operationally Effective or Suitable,’ October 30, 2001.
17 Mike Toner, Atlanta Journal, November 30, 2001.
18 Federation of American Scientists, Weapons Factsheets, EA-6B Prowler.
19 Captain Adam W. Lange, “Hellfire: Getting the Most from a Lethal Missile System,” ARMOR, January-February 1998.
20 Global Security. Org Factsheet
21 Mike Toner, ” ‘Smart’ weapons,” Atlanta Journal, November 21, 2001.
22 USA Today, How a Bunker Buster Works,
23 Global Security. Org Factsheet
25 Laura Flanders, “U.S. is Dropping World’s Biggest Non-Nuclear Bomb in Afghanistan,” Working for Change, November 8, 2001
26 Mura Reynolds and Paul Richter, “Opposition Reports Gains as U.S. Intensifies Strikes,” Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2001.
27 “U.S. uses huge bomb against Taliban forces,” Associated Press, November 5, 2001.
28 John Lumpkin, “Pentagon dropping full range of weaponry in Afghanistan,” Houston Chronicle, October 12, 2001.
29Global Security. Org Factsheet
30 Paul Watson, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2001.
31 “What is a Cluster Bomb?” Institute for Public Accuracy, May 17, 1999.
32 Federation of American Scientists, Weapons Factsheets, CBU-87.
33 Ticking Time Bombs: NATO’ s Use of Cluster Munitions in Yugoslavia, Human Rights Watch, June 1999.
34 Maxwell Airforce Base, Factsheet on Cluster Bombs.
35 Federation of American Scientists, Weapons Factsheets, CBU-89.
36 Airforce Factsheet on HARM Missile.
37 Airforce Factsheet on AGM Missile.


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