” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers a limited military strike to deter Syria from using chemical weapons would likely cost tens of millions of dollars, but if past experience is a guide, the number could be substantially higher than that.
It is not uncommon for U.S. forces to open an assault by launching scores of Tomahawk missiles costing over $1 million apiece and dropping bombs from radar-evading B-2 planes that fly 18 hours each way from their base at a cost of $60,000 an hour.
“I was surprised when I heard him (Hagel) say tens of millions of dollars. That’s low-balling it,” said Todd Harrison, a defense budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a thousand-mile (1,600-km) range, can loiter on station and change their targets in flight, are expected to be the main weapon if President Barack Obama orders a limited strike to punish Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons.
The missiles cost $1.2 million to $1.5 million apiece.
The U.S. Navy fired 221 Tomahawks in operations against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, nearly half of them – 110 – in an opening salvo against 22 Libyan military targets, including air defenses, communications and command structures.”