Devin Dwyer and Luis Martinez report for ABC News in “Cost of Libya Intervention $600 Million for First Week, Pentagon Says,” that:
One week after an international military coalition intervened in Libya, the cost to U.S. taxpayers has reached at least $600 million, according figures provided by the Pentagon.
U.S. ships and submarines in the Mediterranean have launched at least 191 Tomahawk cruise missiles from their arsenals, costing $268.8 million, the Pentagon said.
U.S. warplanes have dropped 455 precision guided bombs, costing tens of thousands of dollars each.
A downed Air Force F-15E fighter jet will cost more than $60 million to replace.
And operation of ships and aircraft, guzzling ever-more-expensive fuel to maintain their positions off the Libyan coast and in the skies above, could reach millions of dollars a week, experts say.
“Each sortie, even if it drops no munitions, is very pricey,” said Winslow Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information. “These airplanes cost us tens of thousands of dollars to operate per hour, and the fancier you get in terms of planes, the costs get truly astounding.”
The three B-2 stealth bombers that flew from Missouri to Libya and back on an early bombing mission each cost an estimated $10,000 per hour to fly, a defense official said.
That means the planes, each on a 25-hour round-trip flight, ran up a bill of $750,000, and the 45 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) they dropped added at least $1.3 million more.
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Service member salaries, fuel costs and equipment maintenance are all part of annual military operating budgets. And hundreds of munitions, including the $1.4 million cruise missiles, are acquired each year and routinely used in action and training, officials say.
But experts say the administration may have to submit an emergency supplemental budget request for Libya later this year, assuming U.S. involvement in the international military operation does not end swiftly.
The cost of operating the no-fly zone over Libya alone could cost the U.S. an estimated $30 million to $100 million a week, a study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments found.
While many Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have questioned President Obama’s constitutional authority to engage in Libya without their consent, some are voicing concern about the effect on the skyrocketing federal deficit. . . .