Nearly $500 Million Pentagon Plane Project Netted $32,000 in Scrap Metal

Watchdog Asks Air Force to Explain Massive Waste

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has documented a long, long list of failed programs wasting billions of dollars over the course of the 13 year war. The bad news keeps coming.

Today, SIGAR is asking the Air Force for a good explanation of a program on plane acquisition for the Afghan Air Force. They bought the planes and refurbished them at a cost of $468 million before deciding they couldn’t get spare parts for the planes to keep them useful.

What happened to the $468 million worth of planes then? They quickly became $32,000 worth of scrap metal. SIGAR’s inquiry in particular seeks to find out why they didn’t bother to at least resell the planes to recover some of the cost.

After that, the Pentagon decided to buy a whole new set of planes from Lockheed Martin that it decided would do the job just as well. There are growing doubts that the Afghan military will be able to maintain even these newer planes, however, so the losses just keep mounting.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of