Quote of the Day
Vision is the bottleneck of talent. Most talent is wasted because people do not clearly know what they want. It’s not a lack of effort, but a lack of direction. There are many capable people in the world, but relatively few that focus on what matters
A reader of this blog mentioned in a comment that cost might be a big reason for the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) switchover to the P-51 from P-38s and P-47s. I thought I would put together a quick report on the relative cost of the three main USAAC fighters. The cost of these fighters by year was available in the Army Air Forces Statistical Digest (Hyperwar Site). The approach to Extracting, Transforming, and Loading (ETL) the data are the same as I used to determine the on-hand numbers of aircraft (link). For those who are interested in the details, my workbook is available here.
Since the cost of these fighters reduced each year, I compared the cost of the P-47 and P-38 to the P-51 costs by year. Table 1 shows my results. Note that no costs were listed for the P-38 in 1945.
|Type and Model||1942||1943||1944||1945|
The P-38 unit cost was approximately twice the unit cost of the P-51. This makes intuitive sense because a P-38 looks a bit like two single-engine aircraft glued together. Note that the P-47, a single-engine aircraft, also was a very expensive aircraft relative to the P-51.
So cost could have been a serious issue when it comes to large deployments. Ultimately, cost should reflect the resources required to build something. For the same resources, you can build many more P-51s than either the P-38 or P-47. Since quantity has a quality all its own, the transition to the P-51 made sense. Also, it was arguably the better fighter.
I leave you with a photo of the p-38 (Figure 2). It sure was a beautiful aircraft.