Expendable Missiles vs. Reusable Platform Costs and Historical Data
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA
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The purpose of this report is to evaluate the economic wisdom of the United States adopting policies that rely primarily on expendable weapons, such as cruise missiles, to conduct air-to-ground strike missions. We examine the historical use of air-to-ground attack by the U.S. military during and since the Vietnam War and examine when exclusive use of expendable methods would be cost-prohibitive compared to using reusable weapon platforms. This analysis focuses solely on cost and does not explore the range of capabilities of the different weapon systems. Thus, conclusions do not address strategies involving a mix of reusable penetrating aircraft and expendable munitions.
- Air- and Space-Launched Guided Missiles