The media barely mentioned a major attack that took place on September 14th at Camp Bastion, a large military base in Afghanistan, in which insurgents dressed in US Army uniforms killed two Marines, injured a dozen other ISAF troops, destroyed six Marine Harrier jump jets,  heavily damaged two others, and destroyed or damaged numerous buildings, aircraft hangers and refueling stations.

But where it was reported,  the media cited the cost of the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harriers at the purchase price of about $25 -$30 million each — estimating the total cost of the attack around $150 -$200 million.

This vastly understates the true cost.  In standard accounting, losses are valued by using the replacement cost.  The AV-8B Harrier aircraft have been in use throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan and first Gulf wars, and the Pentagon will be replacing these losses with the next generation aircraft.

The  likely replacement will be the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II — which has been plagued by cost overruns during development.  Recent estimates are that each F-35 jet will cost at least $200 million — closer to $300 million if full R&D and equipment costs are taken into account.  So the true cost of replacing the Marine jets lost in the attack on Camp Bastion will be somewhere between $1.2  and $2 billion, plus the cost of  repairing the buildings.

 

 

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