Operation Odyssey Dawn Price Tag Hits $600,000,000

Just about one week in, the price tag for America’s war kinetic military action time-limited, scope-limited military action, is quickly approaching $1 billion:

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.

Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, US Politics, World Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ben Wolf says:

    You may not be aware of this Doug as you’re just an anti-American libertarian, but it turns out that it doesn’t matter as the budget is simply a form of rock, paper, scissors called Empire, Domestic Spending, Tax Cut.

    It tuurns out that Empire beats the others in this game. In fact if either Domestic Spending or Tax Cut are used, the resulting deficits are completely nullified by someone also choosing Empire. So we can do all three and everybody wins as Empire also has absolutely zero cost if you look at it patriotically.

  2. tom p says:


    We’ll just cut heating aid for the poor, (because the poor have too much money you know) and education funds (our kids are getting a lousy education, it’s just good money after bad) and Social Security (the aged are just a drain on society anyway)

    BUT we will never raise taxes, least of all on the rich, after all… That’s where the money is.

  3. Fog says:

    “BUT we will never raise taxes, least of all on the rich, after all… That’s where the money is.”

    Enrich the donors, scorn the rest.
    A very effective technique…

  4. rodney dill says:

    That’s OK, I’m sure the proceeds we get from selling Libyan oil, after we win, will pay for it.

  5. Aquastar says:

    It’s very exiting to find your http://www.outsidethebeltway.com blog. Aw, this is a really qualitative post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I prolong alot and never seem to get something done.