The One Where Da-da Dons His Education Hat and Pushes Over the Vending Machine of War

Freedom may not be free, but it could be a lot more cost-effective.
(Psst, real freedom really is free. Shhh.)

Someone forwarded Da-da an email about how amazing the gatling gun is on an A-10 Warthog. Sure, the thing fires 4200 30 mm rounds/minute. The 30 mm rounds are huge. And each round costs $65. Yay. But that one round is worth one dinner out for Da-da's whole family at a decent restaurant WITH a bit of alcohol. Or a week's groceries for basics. For each round. However, let's look at this expenditure a different way.

4200 rounds/minute x $65 = $273,000/minute. That's just to fire the gun for one sortie, a "sortie" being one combat flight mission for one plane and pilot.

The 30 mm round is that big one.

Now look at the A-10's underwing ordnance at the top of the post. Let's call that an average load. Killing your brother aside, each of those four Hellfire missiles cost $58,000 each, or $232,000/sortie. And those Rockeye "Smart Bombs" (one of Da-da's favorite oxymorons)? Four of those x $30,000 = $120,000/sortie. The two medium-range air-to-air missiles are fairly cheap: only $22,000/each -- a bargain -- at $44,000/sortie. Gassed up, the plane carries say about 3200 lbs of av-gas (probably more), which is 21,760 gallons, cost of fuel is... $3.30?! It's cheaper than automobile fuel? It's 105 octane! Ridiculous. Anyway, that's at least $70,000/sortie in fuel.

One sortie for one plane costs approx. $739,000 just in boomage and delivery, not including combat loaders. Now add in the cost of the pilot, oil burned, maintenance, insurance, AAA, in-flight snack...

One sortie for one plane -- off the ground -- is at least $1M each flight. It's probably a lot more off a carrier, not that you could operate an A-10 off a carrier.

That's about as much as it would cost to send both of Da-da's boys, Bronko AND Nagurski, through 4 years of college and 2-3 years of grad school + room + board + books. And yes, that's to really good schools, obviously.

More Fun Stats

Just one flight to blow up some stuff that no one really wants to blow up (except for defense contractors and a general, or two, and 50 paid-off politicians and 10,000 energy execs) is as much as putting two kids ALL the way through bachelors and doctoral programs.

One flight lasts about 6 hours, while one four-year college + doctoral education is about six years -- a much better mpg, IMHO.

Note that there were 33,000 air sorties in Afghanistan in 2010, alone, so let's use that as an annual average. That's about $33B for just one year for one "war." It's probably double that when you factor in the fact that the government is controlling this. (Recall when Rumsfeld announced that the Pentagon "misplaced" $2.3 Trillion dollars? That was on 9/10/01, the day before 9/11. Neat, huh?)

Now, if we assume that half the $500,000 will send one kid all the way through 4 years of very good college (including luxuries like rent and food and books), that gives us about 100,000 full-ride college scholarships to top-flight schools. Probably double that. Or about 400,000 full-ride scholarships to decent colleges. FULL RIDE.

And that's just for the air war. In one country. For one year.

Every Hellfire missile fired is one semester of very good college.

Feeling pretty good about all this, yet?

The future Dr. Bronko in a Harry Potter hat? PRICELESS.

Oh, yeah... and Common Core's got to go -- esp. its original architect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The A-10 does not use AV-gas for its fuel. It's a jet and uses jet fuel such as JP8 or JetA, that would have a fuel density of approximately 6.8 a gallon. My source is myself a Crew Chief (aircraft mechanic) in the USAF.

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