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 191Tomahawk 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