| Preface |
This document contains information about real world military unit costs for units we use in-game. I wrote this as a result of Benny's requirement that real world unit cost data be recorded in spreadsheet format. This doesn't contain information for every unit in the game. This is just a starter to see if we should move forward with this.
I wrote this in hopes that it might improve the balance of unit-types in the game by replicating real world cost constraints, and create more realistic battles with a balance of unit types.
Overall, I'm happy with the results. I was surprised by some of the numbers, but with a little modification to some of the weapons, I don't think any unit will be overpowered for their price.
At the bottom of this document is a table containing the final results of the study. If you have questions about a particular unit, or aren't sure that it is priced fairly, read more about it in the sections below. Some units will need to be modified for their real world prices to make sense. If you still have questions, just ask. I may already have the answer, and forgot to write it here.
You'll sometimes hear me refer to "Altis distance". By "Altis distance" I mean distances after we scale them down for indirect weapons in order to simulate Altis being much larger, and to bring the strategical positioning of these weapons into play.
In the table of results, prices are in game credits, which was determined simply by dividing their real world price by 1000. In the discussion sections, the price of units are referred to in their full real world USD. All prices are adjusted for inflation for the year 2013, except Stinger missiles which are apparently simply 38k.
Inflation Calculator: http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl
The total cost of a new marine is around 58k . A science and engineering officer graduating from West Point could cost $442k.
The cost to maintain a soldier is trivial. Even in scaled down game time it's only about $3k per hour ($3 of game money per hour) , so we won't worry about any maintenance costs.
FIM-92 Stingers appear to cost 38k depending on who you ask. I had trouble finding a cost for the launcher tube alone, which is probably because it's trivial. You can't really add more than $20k for training unless it's more gruelling than basic. So, an AA missile soldier with three missiles shouldn't cost more than $172k.
HEMMTs are said to start at $135k , but I haven't found a date for that price. Cheap? That's still expensive for a truck.
IFVs / APCs
There are a lot of IFVs and APCs in service and they have a wide range of prices from as little as 100k up to $5 million.
Recent purchases of the vehicle by the U.S. value it at only $119,890 , a drastic reduction since purchases by Canada over 15 years ago .
The M2A3 IBAS costs $403,605 .
AAV7A1 / LVTP7A1
A fully tracked amphibious landing vehicle. The average unit cost in 2013 would be $2.25 million .
M1126 Stryker ICV
An eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicles. The unit cost is $5 million in 2013 .
In the table, I have the Marshall taking after the AAV, and the Panther taking after the Stryker, but the prices can easily be tweaked to better match the vehicles capabilities.
The M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS are the only two U.S. artillery systems capable of extreme ranges in Altis distance. The HIMARS can fire six MFOM types up to 60 km (with the M30), or one MGM-140 ATACMS reaching 300 km. The M270 MLRS cannot fire the MGM-140 ATACMS.
The HIMARS launcher only costs $3.3 million , and the M270 MLRS only $2.3 million , which seems cheap. The missiles are the greatest expense. The long-range MGM-140 ATACMS costs about $1.16 million . I didn't see a price for the M30s, but we could derive it from other MFOMs.
Regular artillery doesn't compare with MLRS technology when it comes to range. The M982 Excalibur is an extended range guided artillery shell that can travel 40-57 km. After scaling that down into Altis distance, artillery should have a maximum range of only a few kilometers. They will have to hide only a couple hills behind the main battle to simulate realistic positions in larger-scale theatres. Mortars may have to be reduced to two kilometers. The actual ranges should make regular artillery vulnerable to flank attacks, but not vulnerable to trivial breaks in the front line. They also shouldn't be vulnerable air-to-ground missiles from behind enemy lines.
The M777 Howitzer, which can fire the M982, has sold for between $700k and $1900k recently, with the average price being $1,237k in today's money . The M982 costs $54,684 (after one year of inflation) .
In the world of AA, launchers are very cheap costing only a few million. It's the missiles and particularly the radar that cost so much.
AN/TWQ-1 Avenger and MIM-72 Chaparral
The AN/TWQ-1 Avenger and MIM-72 Chaparral are short-range AA vehicles. The Avenger uses FIM-92 Stinger missiles which have an effective range of 4.8 km, although another source listed the Avenger's range up to 8 km [forgot to cite]. I haven't found an accurate price for Chaparral, but the Avenger costs between 3.1 million and 6.5 million  with an average cost of 4.07 million.
9K35 Strela-10 (SA-13 "Gopher")
Has a maximum range of target destruction of 5 km . A current and reliable price could not be found.
9K37 Buk (SA-17)
Kill probability (by one missile) – 0.9 – 0.95,
Target engagement zone:
altitude – 15 м – 25 km
range – 3 km – 42 km
altitude – 2,0 km – 16 km
range – 3 km – 20 km
sea targets – up to 25 km
land targets – up to 15 km. 
A current and reliable price could not be found.
9K22 Tunguska - 2K22M1 Variant (SA-19 "Grison")
This is likely what the Cheetah and Tigris were modelled after. A unique and highly competitive weapon system, it has a range of 10 km (18 if upgraded), and a detection range of 18 km (before upgrade) . The price was $16 million , but I couldn't find a date for that price.
A descendant of the Tunguska, the Pantsir system offers even greater performance than its predecessor , though it doesn't resemble the Cheetah or Tigris at all. It has a missile range of 20 km. The cost is $14.12 million .
The Patriot's PAC-2 missiles have a maximum range of 160 km. By contrast, AGM-88 HARMs (anti-SAM) can only reach 106 km, and the AGM-154 GPS/IR guided missiles can only reach 130 km. It's also capable of shooting down incoming missiles. Perhaps we could represent that in-game by disallowing MLRS's from targeting areas near missile defense systems.
Each PAC-2 missile costs somewhere between $1-3 million. The HEMTT (which carries the missiles) only costs $150k, and the AN/MSQ-104 control station costs about $6 million. However, the radar is clearly the largest expense of a SAM system, costing around $48 million  for the Patriot. That makes $10-22 million for the missile system without the radar, and $58-70 with. Obviously, we'll need cheaper AA systems in the game than the Patriot, even if they are shorter range.
S-300's have an even longer range of 195 km , feature anti-stealth, but are much more expensive at $115 million, and are probably overkill for our little battles. I didn't even bother creating a section for the S-400 (aka SA-21) with more than twice that range. Its range is considered a threat even to airports in its neighboring countries.
The most important factor for the in-game AA vehicles is their relationship with enemy aircraft. Even though the Cheetah and Tigris resemble the Tunguska the most, their ranges are much smaller when compared to gunships.
Gunships in-game have a range of 6 km in the right conditions. The Tigris and Cheetah can only track targets at 1.5 km, with an absolute maximum target destruction range of 2 km. For the purpose of this exercise, I will assume the gunship's air-to-ground missiles are meant to simulate AGM-114 Hellfires which have a range of 8 km . The only two vehicles studied here with ranges below that level are the Avenger and Strela. The Avenger costs 4.07 million.
If the gunships missiles are actually meant to simulate AGM-122 Sidearms (long-range radar seeking missiles), the Tunguska or Pantsir could be used as a reference point instead. However, Sidearms can only target radar emitters, and should be useless against other vehicles. They are also susceptible to certain countermeasures, such as powering down the radar, or adding noise with multiple emitters.
If the Cheetah and Tigris's range is left unmodified, they probably shouldn't cost more than $4100. However, if it's possible, it might be worth considering reducing the gunship Hellfire missile range to 2 km, add AGM-122 Sidearms which can only target Cheetah/Tigris's, and increasing the Cheetah/Tigris ranges to match the AGM-122s. That way aircraft and AA will both have to work to destroy eachother. Alternatively, it could be required that radars be set up to increase the range of Cheetah/Tigris's.
Main Battle Tanks
The cost of an M1A2 is $8.75 million (after 2013 inflation) , and 5.85-6.27 million for an M1A1 . T-90A's cost at least $4.15 million, T-90Ms $3.5 million per unit, and T-95s were estimated at $5.2 million before they were cancelled . I haven't checked the date for the T-90/95 prices in order to adjust them for inflation.
The AH-64D Apache attack helicopter, which seems a fair fit to the gunship we have in the game, cost $20.33 million after adjusting for inflation .
While the F-16 is capable of ground attack, the A-10 is much better suited for any CAS role and costs only $18.46 million (adjusted for inflation).
Disregarding fifth generation fighters because they are still in the LRIP stage (expensive and limited), the fourth generation air-to-air fighter of choice is the F-16. The F-18 is much more expensive but no more maneuverable. The F-14 and F-15 were designed before the LWF concept was adopted, and focused more on BVR attack, which proved impractical in Vietnam .
I found varying costs for the latest F-16C fighters, but I finally settled on $26.76 million after adjusting for inflation , which I believe is the most reliable source. That cost should not include fuel and ordnance.
The F-16's weight and production cost was kept low, but it never bothered with BVR ordnance. For long-range missiles the next best fourth generation fighter is the F-18, but the cost is $56.74 million after inflation for the cheaper model . Sparrow missiles yielded less than a 10% kill per shot in the Vietnam war , and may not be worth the added cost to players.
If an F-15 is used as the model for an AA jet, the jets maneuverability will have to be tweaked down to account for its disadvantage to the F-16 in close-in combat. The F-15 costs $43090 after inflation .
| Results |
UNIT COST NOTES
AA Soldier 175
HEMMT Transport 150
Artillery 1250 Some shells cost $55, but may range based on type
MLRS 3300 SR missiles <$1000, LR missiles $1200 each
M1A2 Tank 8750
Jet (CAS) 18500
SR AA Fighter 27000
LR AA Fighter 1 43000 Fighter is much less manueverable than the SR fighter
LR AA Fighter 2 57000 Fighter is somewhat less manueverable than the SR fighter
* The Stryker is known for being expensive. There is plenty of room to tweak the price of IFVs to better match their capabilities.
| References |
31. Department of Defense Amended Budget Fiscal Year 2002, page A-6. http://comptroller.defense.gov/defbudget/Docs/fy2002_p1.pdf