Photo Image Source
Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn’t an easy task. In the fog of war – or withdrawal – Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine.
Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites.
#1. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of U.S. provided military gear in Afghanistan (August 2017): reposted report (dead link: report).
U.S. taxpayers paid for these audits and the U.S.-provided equipment and should be able to follow the money.
After publication, the GAO spokesman responded to our request for comment, “the State Department requested we temporarily remove and review reports on Afghanistan to protect recipients of US assistance that may be identified through our reports and thus subject to retribution.” However, these reports only have numbers and no recipient information.
Furthermore, unless noted, when estimating “acquisition value,” our source is the Department Logistics Agency (DLA) and their comprehensive databases of military equipment.
Vehicles and airplanes
Between 2003 and 2016, the U.S. purchased and provided 75,898 vehicles and 208 aircraft, to the Afghan army and security forces, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Here is a breakdown of estimated vehicle costs:
- Armored personnel carriers such as the M113A2 cost$170,000 each and recent purchases of the M577A2 post carrier cost $333,333 each.
- Mine resistant vehicles ranges from $412,000 to $767,000. The total cost could range between $382 million to $711 million.
- Recovery vehicles such as the ‘truck, wrecker’ cost between for the base model $168,960 and $880,674 for super strength versions.
- Medium range tactical vehicles include 5-ton cargo and general transport trucks were priced at $67,139. However, the family of MTV heavy vehicles had prices ranging from $235,500 to $724,820 each. Cargo trucks to transport airplanes cost $800,865.
- Humvees – ambulance type (range from $37,943 to $142,918 with most at $96,466); cargo type, priced at$104,682. Utility Humvees were typically priced at $91,429. However, the 12,000 lb. troop transport version cost up to $329,000.
- Light tactical vehicles: Fast attack combat vehicles($69,400); and passenger motor vehicles ($65,500). All terrain 4-wheel vehicles go up to $42,273 in the military databases.
This month, the Taliban seized Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft. As late as last month, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense posted photos on social media of seven newly arrived helicopters from the U.S., Reuters reported.
Black Hawk helicopters can cost up to $21 million. In 2013, the U.S. placed an order for 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft for $427 million – that’s $21.3 million for each plane. Other specialized helicopters can cost up to $37 million each.
The Afghan air force contracted for C-208 light attack airplanes in March 2018: seven planes for $84.6 million, or $12.1 million each. The airplanes are very sophisticated and carry HELLFIRE missiles, anti-tank missiles and other weaponry.
The PC-12 intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance airplanes use the latest in technology. Having these planes fall into Taliban control is disconcerting. Civilian models sell new for approximately $5 million each and the military planes could sell for many times that price.
Basic fixed-wing airplanes range in price from $3.1 million to $22 million in the DLA database.
Of course, helicopter prices also range widely depending on the technology, purpose, and equipment. For example, according to the DLA, general purpose helicopters range in price from $92,000 to $922,000. Observation helicopters can cost $92,000 and utility helicopters up to $922,000.”