US World War II aircraft cost

Micdrow

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Found this document tonight. Found it very interesting. Its the cost of American WWII aircraft from 1939 to 1945. Amazing on how the value of these aircraft have went up.

Enjoy Micdrow :lol:
 

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davparlr

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It is also interesting to see that the B-32 is labeled as a "heavy bomber" like the B-17 and b-24, whereas the B-29 was labeled "very heavy bomber". The B-32 was certainly closer to the B-29 in size than the B-17/24.

It is also interesting to note that the P-51 was the cheapest first line fighter being half the cost of the P-38 and also much lower than the P-47.
 

Micdrow

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I wish I had a list of how much they were sold at the end of the war. I hear that alot of aircraft of all types went real cheap for scrap metal. While others were just burned, smashed, blown up or dumped into the sea even though they were full functional just so they wouldnt have to be brought back to the states.

Micdrow
 

ccheese

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There was an article in Warbirds International about a dentist in Alabama
that bought a P-38 after the war for $12,500.00 with two spare engines !

If he still has it it's probably worth 1.5 mil.

I wonder how much money is tied up in "Glacier Girl" ?

Charles
 

Rob Conway

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Jul 2, 2011
I too thought that the information was very informative. I'm trying to take a look at: Table 77 Aircraft Weight of all Factory Accepted Military Airplanes By Type of Airplane Jan 1940 to Aug 1945 (which can be found in the: Army Air Force Statistical Digest World War II). Any ideas on how to approach this? It seems that only certain Table(s) are advailable when I view the Digest, (less than a third) - and I have no ideas where else to view this information. Does this Air Technical Service Command (Monograph?) carry this particular table - as it does for the cost of individual aircraft (which is also one of the tables -Table 82 - carried in the AAF Statistical Digest)? If anyone has any ideas on how to retrieve this information, then please contact me at [email protected] Thanks alot.
 

drgondog

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The Price of the P-51 (A through D) from NAA w/o GFE (Engines, Guns, Comm, etc) was $35-37K as stated on the IARC. Have no idea where the historical data for "cost to Gov't' arises as the Contracts them selves need to be examined. I have heard but not substantiated, that RR discontinued $6K royalty on Merlin engines - which was largely account for reduction from 1943 to 1945 the fully burdened complete airframe Unit Costs as shown.

Another conclusion is that each of the airframe companies were able to amortize development costs and they are accounted for as imbedded in the unit costs.
 

pbehn

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The Price of the P-51 (A through D) from NAA w/o GFE (Engines, Guns, Comm, etc) was $35-37K as stated on the IARC. Have no idea where the historical data for "cost to Gov't' arises as the Contracts them selves need to be examined. I have heard but not substantiated, that RR discontinued $6K royalty on Merlin engines - which was largely account for reduction from 1943 to 1945 the fully burdened complete airframe Unit Costs as shown.

Another conclusion is that each of the airframe companies were able to amortize development costs and they are accounted for as imbedded in the unit costs.
Another factor is how much of the production costs were paid or guaranteed by the buyer. I believe most of the cost of the additional factory for the P 51 was paid by the US government. This is how it has to be with private companies, if Germany and Japan suddenly surrender there is almost no market
 

swampyankee

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Even into the 1980s, it was common (I won't say exclusive) for the government to pay for production facilities. The Lycoming plant in Stratford, Connecticut, where the T-53, T-55, and AGT-1500 were developed was -- and I believe remains -- US government property, as does some of the production machinery (which was moved to Arizona, when Allied Signal bought Textron). The quite expensive automated welding system for recuperators was entirely paid for by the government. The feds also paid for the tooling unique to the AGT-1500. I believe that the DoD has to be reimbursed for the use of their tooling when engines are made for civilian production.
 

Shortround6

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Another factor is how much of the production costs were paid or guaranteed by the buyer. I believe most of the cost of the additional factory for the P 51 was paid by the US government. This is how it has to be with private companies, if Germany and Japan suddenly surrender there is almost no market

Not only is there no market but many contracts were canceled outright. Some production of certain types continued on at very reduced rates, others just stopped with partially completed aircraft and quantities of parts in the supply pipeline (I have no idea how that was handled, thousands if not 10s of thousands of subcontractors).
 

daveT

Senior Airman
The cost per aircraft I'm sure was a major factor in deciding which aircraft were retained for use many years after the war.
It may explain why the P-51 was chosen over the P-47
same for why the C-47 continued in service, but not the more expensive C-46
 

Shortround6

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American "prices" might be considered artificially low as, in some cases, they are not taking into account the cost of the building or the tooling.

In some cases the contract price of the aircraft covered the materials that were not GFE and the labor plus a small (like 3%) profit for management of the operation.
 

IdahoRenegade

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I've always been curious about the cost of the P-47 at $86k, vs a P-38 at $97. Obviously the '38 had 2 complete turbocharged, intercooled engines, vs the 'Bolt's 1. Not to mention an airframe design that is dramatically more complex, with essentially 3 fuselages (if you count both booms and center nacelle) and 4 wing segments, vs 2. (yes, this is oversimplifying things, but the idea is there). Tricycle landing gear vs taildragger. Even though it was one of the most expensive fighters of its time, it seems like a bargain given the complexity vs other fighters, especially the Jug. I'm not sure why the '47 is nearly 90% of the cost of the '38. Was the R-2800 a lot more expensive than a V-1710?

The other question is about the often discussed cost of the turbochargers. At the most basic level, turbos are very simple devices, 2 impellers connected on a common shaft, a bearing system and housings. Vs a centrifugal supercharger with a 2-speed gearbox, drive mechanism, clutches, etc. It seems as if the most costly aspect of the turbo would be the materials suitable for the exhaust turbine and fabrication of that same turbine (compresses impeller I would thing would be similar to that on the SC). The turbo system does add some cost with the wastegate and controller but it still seems like it would be simpler than the SC gearbox. Thoughts?
 

tomo pauk

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Once in mass production, the cost of the R-2800 was around 20000 $, while the V-1710 was at 12000 $. Plus, some things just cost by the pounds (of weight). The cost of radios and armament was not smaller in the P-47, nor were other pilot-related items. So when we got to a finished A/C, the difference was in single % points.
 

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