The United States lost more than $1.2 billion in jet fighters, bombers, transports and helicopters in the Persian Gulf war and the months before it, but the coming cuts in the military may rule out any race to buy replacements.
And, military authorities said in interviews with United Press International, if a decision is made to buy replacements, in all likelihood each service will seek to get the most recent upgrade rather than a direct replacement for a lost plane or helicopter.The huge costs of the most modern of the weaponry - the F-15E Eagle fighter-bombers, F/A-18 attack jets and a huge C-5A transport that crashed in Germany on its way to the gulf - all helped drive up the lost equipment price tag for the war.
And even before the war started Jan. 17, the price tag was well over $300 million because of training accidents and the C-5A crash.
Some 1,800 fixed-wing U.S. aircraft were in the region at the outbreak of the war as well as about 1,700 helicopters. Before and during the war, a total of 76 aircraft were shot down, crashed or suffered major damage. A handful of others had lesser damage in the period before the war. Some 32 planes and helicopters were lost to combat.
The Air Force took the biggest financial hit of the war, losing no less than $411 million in planes during combat and about $265 million before the war, including the C-5A, which was carried on the books at a $140 million.
The Air Force is going to be shrinking from 36 fighter wings to just 26, a net loss of about 720 aircraft by 1995. So the service has a large buffer to absorb the combat loss.
The Navy's wartime losses were at least $316 million, the largest single expense being the loss of five A-6 Intruders at about $20 million a copy.